I was recently working with a couple who found themselves in a position where they need to move. As it often is when one is in their “forever home” the decision was not easy. The reason it was so hard to move was not because of the house itself (although it is a lovely house) but because of decades worth of memories.
I understand. I am the same way. I cried when we got rid of my van because we owned it when we brought our youngest two sons home from the hospital. It is hard to let go of things that remind us of many years of good memories. This morning, I was putting clothes away in my closet and I saw my slippers. I immediately thought of my friends. I bought these slippers in January 2020 while shopping with some friends from church. Six women in a van spending the day shopping in Canton. It was so much fun! And to this day I have great memories of that day. Every time I wear those slippers (which is all year long because I hate being cold!) I think of the five sweet women I spent the day with. But here is the problem. When you wear slippers all day every day, they will wear out quickly. And when your dog gets a hold of them, they wear out even sooner.
I kept wearing them but they stopped doing the job they were designed to do. I would walk in the garage to get something from my outside fridge and my feet would get cold from the holes in the bottom of the slippers. But I just couldn’t get myself to throw them away because every time I wore them, it made me think of those sweet women and that fun day. It was all about the memories. The slippers were no longer useful yet they had become associated with good times. With good memories.
In the last 16 years, I have worked with many clients who wanted me to help them sell their home but had a difficult time “pulling the trigger” due to memories. Every time I was sympathetic and understanding because I am the same way. But this morning was the first time that I had an analogy, a real life example, that became an “ah ha” moment for me to let go of some things that I need to let go of. The memory outlasts the slipper.
You see, way after the “thing” is gone, whatever that “thing” is, you will have the memory. And that can be with you forever. You remember your kids excitedly running down the steps Christmas morning to open Christmas gifts and it makes you smile. But the great news is that while you can relive that memory every time that you walk up and down your steps (although you most likely don’t) you can also relive that same memory sitting in a restaurant 1,000 miles from home reminiscing with your kids on the beach. Or in your new home that fits your new situation.
I know that it is easy for me to tell you that memories are with you forever and if you need to sell, it is OK. So let me ask you this. If you are hanging onto a home that no longer meets your needs, does your house currently feel like a home or like a prison? If you can’t enjoy working in your yard like you used to so the grass is a little longer than you like and the weeds are a little more prevalent, does it feel like a house full of memories or a house full of memories getting choked out by weeds? If you can’t afford the house anymore, can’t take care of the house anymore, or any number of other things, your current memories of the home may not be as good as previous memories. That realization can make things easier to let go. That realization allowed me to throw my slippers away. In the kitchen trash. On top of food. Just to make sure that I was not tempted to pull them back out.
There is no right or wrong answer, only your answer and what is best for you. I just wanted to share my slipper story with you because it really resonated with me and my own keepsake/memory obsession. I am not at a time in my life where I need to consider selling my house but I am at a time in my life where I keep so many things to remember the past. Things that I can’t let go of that are taking up space in my house. I intend to follow my own advice and keep the memory fresh in my mind and share them with my boys rather than keep the memories in containers in the basement. You can look at your house the same way. Keep the memories in your mind and reminisce about them in a home where you can make many more happy memories in a more comfortable environment for where your needs are now.
Friends, life is hard, I get it. Decisions are tough, especially when making the decision on selling a home. Here is some raw truth. If you want someone to be tough on you and not sympathize at all (think drill sergeant) , don’t call me. Because I will most likely shed tears with you – I’ve been known to do that. But if you want someone who is sympathetic to your situation AND can help you with the tough decisions ahead, call me. I would be honored to help you in that journey. Have a blessed week!
Esta Ryder, Broker/Owner
Ryder Realty, LLC