Packing up your childhood home is a difficult and emotional task. Mountains of memorabilia are stacked near piles of forgotten trash that should have been sorted and tossed years ago. Embedded among the piles of things that need to be sorted and moved is the knowledge that a tangible connection to your childhood self is going away. This feeling is no less visceral when the sale of the home is due to a short sale.
"I went through a lot of waves of emotion cleaning out my childhood room," said Katrina, who wishes to use a pseudonym to protect the privacy of her family. Recently, she had the demanding task of having to move out of her childhood home, which was in the process of going through a short sale. "It was hard to read journals that I wrote and to see how insecure or young I was, however, it was great to see how much stronger I am now. It was hard to know what to toss and what to keep."
Despite being consumed by the job of sorting through her life, she acknowledges that the short sale wasn't as big of a problem for her as it was for her parents. "Even though I don't think it made a big difference for me, it certainly made a difference for my parents, since they weren't able to use the house as their retirement as they once hoped."
Katrina's childhood home, she told POPSUGAR, was an idyllic place to grow up. An expansive house of nearly 5,000 square feet, there was plenty of space for her and her siblings to stretch and play. Her parents had done everything for their family, even at the detriment of their own finances.
"They spent the majority of their money providing for their kids as we grew up and didn't save as much as they could have," she exclaimed. "I am grateful that I was able to grow up with no worries, but I hope that freedom that I got to enjoy didn't cause them to become too worried now."
Even though the short sale put pressure on the moving process, since all the children have grown up and moved out of the house years before, it was important for the parents to downsize. "Regardless of the short sale, they would have chosen to move to a smaller home," she said. However, even if the move came at a good time, the loss of extra income is still a burden. "It is possible without the short sale they could have moved into a space that was larger than the one they are getting, and it could have been less pressure for them."
Still, even with the added bitterness of a short sale, packing up one's childhood room can feel cathartic. For Katrina, packing up her room was about more than an unfortunate financial situation. "I had 20 years of my life in that home from books, notes, journals, and photos. It took me back to memories of laughter and jokes to sadness and breakups."
When the final box was sorted, what was important was that the task was complete, and it didn't matter why the home needed to be sold. For everyone, packing up old things can help bring forward a new perspective. "Overall, once it was done, I felt a huge weight off of me. It was a good clean slate to move from the past to the present, and it was wonderful to look back at photos of lost loved ones and see letters they wrote me for birthdays or graduation."
After all, regardless of the reason for moving, part of what makes the process so emotional is being reminded of things that were once lost and forgotten. "I found an old disposable camera and developed it once I returned back home," she said. "It turns out there were photos of my grandma on there who passed away quite some time ago. It was such a joy to see old memories I didn't remember I had." Memories, it seems, are more important than the loss of a house.