The Art of Leaving: Do’s and Don’ts of Saying Goodbye When Moving

Nobody likes saying goodbye. Whether you find them just plain awkward or too much of an emotional-grab- your-Kleenex experience, goodbyes can become a dreaded (or avoided) part of moving. Even with these flaws, goodbyes are a necessary and, arguably, important part of what
it means to transition.

Whether you are leaving your post-college urbanscape, the house your kids grew up in, or are
simply packing up to head off to college, here are the big Do’s and Don’ts before you split:

Don’t Ghost Let’s just lay the groundwork here. Goodbyes generally aren’t as fun as hellos, but it doesn’t
mean that they aren’t equally as important. Sure, it’s okay to slip out of a crowded birthday party
or Fourth of July office party without the proper goodbye, but it is not okay when you are moving
cities. Excited, nervous, or bummed about leaving your former place? No matter the case, make
a list of the people or places that have been important to you and don’t slip out the door (jump in your car to drive across country) without a farewell.

Don’t Get Lost in a To-Do List Moving can be stressful, to say the least. Your to-do list can end up looking longer than the line at Shake Shack on a summer afternoon. It doesn’t matter which category you fall into --
procrastinator, Type A, task-oriented, or normal human being-- when it comes to moving, it’s easy to get swallowed up in the details and forget how important it is to get a final goodbye. Friends become manual labor to load up a moving truck. Your neighborhood coffee shop becomes a means to caffeine. Your children or former roommate become distractions to setting up your new utilities. Don’t get lost in your to-do list and let your old home, friends, and neighborhood be associated with stress. One way to cut down your to-do list by is letting MyUtilities research and setup all of your new home’s utilities ahead of time.

Don’t Over-Goodbye Have you ever said goodbye to a friend in a restaurant, only to realize you are walking to the
same parking garage to say goodbye again? The over-goodbye can be an equally un-graceful
exit strategy as ghosting. For those of us who error on the more sentimental side, saying
goodbye can become a self-indulgent means to self-importance. A good goodbye is thoughtful,
well-timed, and deliberate. It is a means of mutual gratitude and a marker of what has been.
Goodbyes don’t need to be glamorous, instagramable parties -- they simply need to be sincere.

With the Don’ts down, here are the things you should do as you begin to say goodbye when
moving places:

Do Feel All the Feels Vacating a house or apartment can bring all of the feels along with it. We compile memories in
places (did you know that being physically in a place can actually trigger more memories than
when you are physically removed?). Taking time to reflect is a healthy component to saying goodbye. Set times on your calendar leading up to your move to reflect on your time in a place. Have a time at least one month in advance and in the final hours set in your empty living room. Invite a friend, roommate, or family member to coffee and work your way through a time in the place, highlighting favorite memories, seasons of loss, and ways you’ve grown.

Do Be Grateful Packing boxes can put even the most reasonable human being a bit on edge. Deliberately being
grateful can help shape your mindset about saying goodbye. Compile a list of people to say
thank you to: favorite bartenders, baristas, the neighbor who caught your dog when she
escaped, your kiddo’s old babysitter, your pharmacist, and, of course, your friends. Then, this is the tricky part, be deliberate about saying thank you. It can be as simple as an exceptional tip for your final iced coffee and sincere thanks for your barista or quick hand-written card slipped in your neighbor’s mailbox. You can up the gratitude game with your friends by planning a last meal together (depending on your personality preference, you can do this one on one over time or all at one, big finale all together!) where you pass off a word of encouragement to each
person. Of course, this isn’t the last time you’ll see them, but a healthy recognition of the
friendship’s significance is a win for everyone.

Do Make a Plan Goodbyes don’t mean you are setting off of the Oregon Trail and won’t be able to write until you
hit St. Louis. Make a plan for your next steps of connecting: plan a return visit in a few months,
invite your friends to call, or send out new address announcements in the mail to sign up for the annual Christmas card exchange. In your moving truck instagram post, say goodbye and invite
others to come visit you in your new home (only if you really want them to!). Especially when
exchanging the hardest goodbyes, be clear about how you are planning on staying connected.
Use social media and technology like FaceTime to your advantage. Goodbyes really are
sometimes just a “see you later!”

Leaving really is an art. Saying goodbye well isn’t for the faint of heart, but it is a crucial part to allowing yourself and your family transition well into a new home.

Photo by Phil Coffman on Unsplash