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  • Writer's pictureHilary Jay

Oh the Places You’ll Go

“When one door closes another door opens; but we often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door that we do not see the ones which open for us.” Alexander Graham Bell


Winter is the perfect time to take stock of open and closed doors. In the past seven years I’ve closed five old doors and opened as many new ones. That’s five new homes in less than a decade. Ridiculous, I know. But, life has a way of delivering precisely what you need even if you don’t particularly want it. I’ve moved because of divorce, lousy landlords, an apartment fire, a new job, and better housing opportunities. I’ve downsized and decluttered, packed and unpacked, and designed blank canvases with old and new furnishings all along the way. These transitions have been some of the scariest moments of my life, in limbo between two places, neither here nor there.

They’ve also been rejuvenating times, ripe for the considering the physical and emotional contents of those bags and boxes, and whether carrying them forward is the best way to forge ahead. The prime time for personal transformation happens when you’re moving into your first home or your third for that matter, getting married or divorced, having a child or emptying the nest, taking a job in another city or coming back to one you left. Being ready for re-invention is the key to success.


Here are some things I’ve learned in the process:

  1. Don’t go it alone. Having a sounding board, an extra set of eyes, or another perspective from someone not emotionally attached is invaluable, even essential. That can be a friend, family member or professional. (I invented the notion of a transition concierge because I now recognize the importance of having a guide who’s well versed in the nuances of change, a person who helps steer you through the shifting physical and emotional terrain.

  2. Be brave. Decide what you truly love and pack only those things for the move. The things that remind you of who you used to be may not be who you want to become. Don’t let stuff hold you to the past.

  3. Create a fail safe. If you just aren’t ready to let go of your mother’s wrought iron bed frame, Aunt Clara’s antique toy collection, or the artwork that hung in your childhood room, get temporary storage. Note: the operative word here is temporary! Set a time limit for how long you’ll pay for the extra room. Stored stuff can become emotional baggage, and a draining monthly expense to boot.

  4. Conjure your new nest. Make a floor plan. Measure the things you’re moving in, and tape off space on the floor in the new place. Watch how light plays across your empty rooms. Tear out magazine pictures for a vision board or create an online version. Dream of color palettes that delight you.

  5. Ignite the senses. A new fragrance, fresh music playlist, and novel taste treats add a layer of delight and originality to a new start.


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