How Selling Our Home Has Been Good For My Soul


for_saleWe’re in the process of selling our home and finding another one in a new city. Before starting this process, I thought my girlfriend was exaggerating when she said, “I maintain that selling a home with young children is one of the hardest things I’ve ever done.” Now, I’m thinking she was right about the process being difficult, but I think think it has been good for my soul in several ways:

1. Let go of materialism

Before listing the home, we went through every nook and cranny of our home. I was determined to touch every item once and make the decision, “Am I keeping this item here, relocating it (to another room/storage), trashing it, or donating it?”

After purging our home of the extra stuff, I noticed several benefits:
The kids made less of a mess because they had fewer toys, and they were more engaged with the remaining toys they had.
Everyone seemed less overwhelmed.
Maintaining the home became a cinch with clean surfaces and minimal tidying.

We purchased a nearby storage unit until we’re ready to move into our next home. I’ll be anxious to see how much of the stuff we decide we actually need and will bother to unpack. I’m envisioning entire boxes being donated, and the thought of purging even more thrills me! Living among too much stuff really is a burden.

As we look at homes to purchase in a new city, we need to weigh our financial situation as we consider what are wants and what are needs. How many bedrooms do we really need? As we move into our next home, what choices will we make to fill the space? What is a home for, anyway? Praying about these questions is helpful in releasing us from the temptation to keep up with the Joneses. My definition of a “dream home” keeps changing as we pray about these questions.

2. Humility

Part of the selling process is learning to hear constructive feedback on your home. This means having friends, family members, and your realtor offer their thoughts on what changes you need to make to your home before listing. I love that one of my dear friends was brave enough to tell me that our very tired throw pillows needed to either disappear or be replaced. She was definitely right! Being on the receiving end of the constructive feedback reminded me that I need to continually be asking my friends and family members to offer their constructive feedback in other areas of my life if I want to grow in sanctity. If I was blind to my tired throw pillows, I wonder what other areas in my life I’m blind to.

3. Preparedness & Overcoming Sloth

“But about that day and hour no one knows, neither the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but only the father.” (Matthew 24:36)

We never knew when we would get “the call.” The ever-present possibility that we would receive a request for a showing ensured that I was always prepared and avoided sloth. This meant creating habits of tidiness and managing my time better. Becoming a better steward with my time helped me to realize that it’s so much easier to maintain a home when we’re constantly working at it, little by little. Also, even though I was doing more, I seemed to have more chunks of free time to play with the kids, work on my Bible study, blog, etc.

4. Remembering That We Are a Pilgrim People

“The world’s thy ship and not thy home.” St. Thérèse de Lisieux

As we approach moving day, the reality of leaving behind my dear friends and some family members is starting to sink in. While we are only moving an hour away, I know that the busy-ness of life will prevent me from seeing my loved ones here as much as we do now. As a stay-at-home mom, I worked very hard to create and maintain strong friendships with my girlfriends to share playdates, participate in book club & Bible study, have girls nights, swap babysitting, or go out to dinner. The thought of having to leave that loving support that has become such a regular part of my life makes me sad.

At the same time, it forces me to realize that become overly attached to people is not a good thing. While I love and adore my family and friends, I need to make sure that I’m not making gods out of them. Having to move away (even if it’s just an hour!), is an exercise in letting go of personal attachments. I know that my godly relationships with my family and dear friends will only be strengthened by our moving.

When we move to this new city, we will have the opportunity to create new friendships, strengthen old ones, and reconnect with family members we have been apart from. Among all of the changes, I think we are most excited to enter into parish life in a new community. Philip is chomping at the bit to join the parish Knights, I want to join (or start!) a young mothers group & Bible study, and the kids are excited to make new friends at school. It is fun to think about how our “domestic church” will grow and change in the years to come–in a house we have yet to find, friends we have yet to meet, and a church that will become our center of gravity.

5. Trust

My prayer throughout this whole process has been, “Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, I place my trust in You.” When I get stressed out about any aspect of the selling/buying/moving (which is more than I like to admit), Philip or another friend or family remember reminds me, “God will take care of you.” There will be several more hoops to jump through and many unknowns remain. This Type A planner definitely struggles with that, but I’m learning to hand this stuff over to the Big Guy because prayer is usually the only thing I can add to the situation.

Have you recently moved? What advice do you have for another family facing a move? What lessons did you learn during the process?

Copyright 2014 Catherine Boucher


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  1. Catherine, what I timely article for me to read! We are in the process of selling our house right now! It’s not the first time we have sold a house, but we weren’t expecting to ever move again, so it has been challenging for many reasons … I appreciate how you discovered the good lessons you are learning along the way. It keeps things focused, because selling a house (especially with children) IS one of the hardest things to do. I also have realized how much I am learning about detachment in the process … A year or so ago, I went on an Ignatian retreat, and our retreat master talked about detachment. He even said something about how most likely God won’t ask you to give up your house, but He might. I think that little statement was a seed planted in my heart. I keep trusting that He is taking care of things for us; we just have to trust Him, be faithful to the work, and follow Him, even when what He is doing doesn’t always make sense. 😉 I know in the end, it will make perfect sense! I hope all continues to go well for you and your family during your moving process! God bless!

  2. We sold a house in 2012 and bought a new one. Then we did it again in 2013. We are crazy people!! And we never moved cities, this was all in the same city. Yep, crazy, right here. We are hopefully in the house we will be in for the long haul. The first time we sold a house we had twins that were babies. They were about 4 months old when we listed the house and around 7 months old when we sold it and moved. Definitely hard. They weren’t very mobile at the time, but we had two high chairs in a small kitchen, two infant seats in a small living room, and a few toys out. We ended up with a routine whenever we got “the call” as well. One thing I learned was to really look at the piles of things I collected that I always intended to read. I have always had piles of magazines, our diocesan paper, and other things and they created a lot of clutter. When we were trying to sell that first house we cleared out a drawer in a piece of furniture in our family room and that became the spot where I could keep all that stuff. Even though I had a spot I did take the time to rethink all those things and I did get rid of a lot. I still try to not keep a lot around. Even if I haven’t read something, if I have collected several issues of a magazine, I’ll eventually throw away the oldest ones and keep only the most current. It has forced me to think about what I really have time to read and to not keep it around if I’m not going to read it. My husband gets a newsletter from an organization he is in and I used to read it as well. I stopped and told him he could toss them once he’s done and I cancelled one of my magazine subscriptions. It’s still not perfect (I’m in need of a purge right now actually), but I continue to work on it. I am also thinking of re-organizing my kids’ toys and hiding some away. I may do an occasional rotation of toys so they always seem fresh. I agree with you that they often do better with fewer toys. We’ll see, we still need to get better organized in the toy category anyway.

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