I Didn’t Expect to Feel So Sad When I Moved Out Of My Bachelorette Pad

published 3 days ago
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Earlier this year, ahead of listing my home, I started the process of boxing up my belongings and “depersonalizing” my space to make it as broadly appealing as possible to sellers. In the middle of my living room, surrounded by boxes, much to my surprise, I crumpled to the floor and started crying. 

I’ve written about real estate for nearly a decade — the emotional taxes people put on their homes, how to gather the best advice from real estate experts, and why we fantasize about living where you vacation. But the one thing I never saw coming as I prepared to sell my own home was the wave of grief that hit me. But it’s apparently a common emotion, according to both Reddit threads and therapists.

“Our homes hold sentimental value and become our safe space where we can truly be vulnerable and real,” says licensed psychotherapist Topsie VandenBosch. “Your home is one of your built-in support systems. You’re able to come as you are and not feel the need to perform for anyone.”

Credit: Courtesy of Brittany Anas

My home and I have been through it. I bought my Denver-metro area bachelorette pad in 2011 after bartending at nights and on the weekends to save up for the down payment. Over all of these years, it’s been so many things to me. It was my cocoon where I mourned my dad’s passing (I hung a photo of him in the kitchen so that I never felt like I was eating alone), it was where I started and grew my freelance writing career in my home office; it was where my Boston Terrier mapped out every sunspot in the house, catching rays that filtered in each morning. 

When I got engaged over the holidays, my partner and I decided we’d both sell our homes and buy a new place together. I’m excited for this next chapter. But I’m aware that I’ve put down deep roots in my starter home, and I’m grieving saying goodbye. VandenBosch explains that selling your home or moving can sometimes even lead to situational depression, as it can trigger a sense of instability. 

Credit: Courtesy of Brittany Anas

As I’m moving, I’ve come up with some comforting ways to help me grieve my first home. As I pack up spaces, I’ve been practicing gratitude, thanking my kitchen for hosting so many meals with family and friends and expressing gratitude to my office for being a place that inspires creativity and productivity.

In addition to providing stability and security, your home can also symbolize the person you’ve grown to be while living in it, explains Becca Reed, a licensed perinatal mental health and trauma therapist. Her advice? “Give yourself permission to feel whatever comes up,” she says. “It may be sadness, nostalgia, or even excitement for the new journey ahead.” 

Credit: Courtesy of Brittany Anas

She suggests reflecting on the memories and personal growth that occurred in that space. Creating a photo album or a farewell ritual can help celebrate this chapter of your life and help the move on to the next. Bring familiar decor, furniture, or sentimental items to a new place, too, she says. “These things provide a comforting bridge to help ground your nervous system,” Reed says.

I certainly resonate with the range of emotions that come with selling a home and buying a new one, from nostalgia to gratitude to grief and excitement all packaged together. Before I packed away my bar cart, I hosted some friends at my house for a happy hour to toast goodbye to my place. It felt good to celebrate the space with the people closest to me, who have also spent nights laughing and sipping cocktails here. 

And now, as I set out on the next chapter of my life, I even have plans to commission an artist to draw or paint a photo of my cute brick row home with a cherry red door. It will always have a place in my heart, and now, my former condo will have a place in my new home.