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Brett and I recently moved out of state and said goodbye to our tiny two bedroom apartment in Pocatello, Idaho. Although we love our new home (a house with a yard!), I don’t want to forget the good times we had in our old one. The first six years of our marriage were spent in that home, and it’s where we brought Maisie into our lives. It was a gathering place for friends and family and where we built relationships with our neighbors. It was a good home, and I miss it.
So of course I had to weave memories of that home into my personal history. If you’re planning a move of your own, here are eight ways to carry memories of your old home with you wherever you go.
You’ve taken lots of pictures of loved ones in your home, but have you remembered to take pictures of your home? My family moved a lot when I was a kid, and I’m grateful that my mom was good about taking pictures of each home, inside and out. I love looking back at those photos and remembering the good things that happened, especially things that happened when there wasn’t a camera out to catch the moment.
If you’re selling your house, be sure to take pictures before you start painting walls and staging it for showings so that it still looks like your home, not the magazine centerfold your real estate agent is undoubtedly encouraging you to create.
Create a Video Tour
When we moved to Georgia, my mom borrowed one of those big video cameras that you had to carry on your shoulder (and which recorded on full-sized VHS tapes) and filmed a tour of our new house for our grandparents. When I digitized all of our family photos and videos last year, that video was in the collection. It was tremendous fun to watch and remember a house we haven’t lived in for over 20 years. I got a good giggle from the home decor trends that seemed so normal at the time but look totally dated now, and loved seeing pets in the video who have long since crossed the rainbow bridge.
These days, it’s way easier to film a video tour with your camera. Just remember to film horizontally to capture your home’s best angles.
Photo Book Theme
One of the best things about photo books is that you can organize them however it makes the most sense for you. I like to do annual yearbooks now, but as I create photo books for all those family photos I digitized, I’m grouping photos by where we lived when the photo was taken. This might not work if you’ve lived in your home for 20 years, but for families like ours who move a lot, organizing books by location can be an easy way to break up a large collection of photos into more manageable chunks.
Make Some Art
I’m a huge fan of decorating with things that actually mean something to you instead of trendy knick knacks that only catch your eye when they need dusting. How lovely would it be to have a beautiful drawing, painting, or sculpture of your old home hanging on your wall in your new place. My Aunt Beth made this beautiful needlepoint of my grandparents’ house in upstate New York. Looking at it always brings back so many wonderful memories of climbing the apple trees, swimming in the pool, riding Grandpa’s kit car, and playing card games with Grandma.
House portraits don’t have to be fancy to be meaningful. You can make a simple version that still makes an impact by framing a line drawing traced from a photograph.
But again, if you don’t feel up to the task of creating your own house art, you can commission an artist on Etsy to make one for you.
Draw a Map
One of my favorite things to do in my journal is to create maps of the places I write about. I’ve drawn maps of my favorite walking trails, my neighborhood, and even my yard. I also love to draw floor plans of my house. You can make your map or floor plan as detailed as you’d like: stick to just the basics or include lots of silly details like where you saw a cat or interesting yard art in your neighborhood.
Frame a Map
If you don’t want to create your own map, you can make lots of fun decor from existing maps of your hometown or other significant locations. I have a big topographical map of Philmont Scout Ranch hanging on the wall of my office with all of the hikes I’ve taken and backcountry camps I’ve visted traced in colored marker. You can also use a map of your hometown to create a mat when framing a photo of your old house, or frame just the map itself with the location of your old home marked in the center.
Make a Christmas Tree Ornament with Your Key
Before you turn over the keys to your landlord or bank, use it to make a cute Christmas tree ornaments. I tried to track down the person who originally shared this idea on Pinterest, but alas, their identity is lost to the depths of the internet. However, it was pretty easy to figure out how to replicate it myself for this little tutorial.
If you don’t consider yourself crafty, you can also find a variety of fun options on Etsy. They won’t look like your actual key, but you can get them stamped with your address or your custom text.
Journal About Your Home
Writing out a few details about your home can also be a simple and effective way to preserve your memories of a treasured place. Here are a few prompts to get you started:
- When did you move into your home?
- Did you rent or buy your home? How much did it cost?
- What made you choose that house or apartment over others you looked at?
- How much do you know about your home’s history?
- Who were your neighbors?
- What do you love most about your home?
- What did you dislike about your home? How would you change it?
- What is your favorite room in your home?
- How did your home make you feel?
- Did you make any changes to your home? (Remodels, updates, etc.)
- Did you have a yard or a garden? How did you use your outside space?
- What favorite memories happened in your home?
- Who lived in your home with you?
- Did you have pets? What seemed to be their favorite parts of your home?
- Why did you move?
- What will you miss most about your old home? What are you most looking forward to about your new home?
I would love to hear your favorite memories about your home! Share your stories in the comments below.