Letting go of your loved one's house

The sorting

It’s one of the most emotive aspects of letting go of a loved one’s home - sorting through their possessions ready for sale. Consider asking an outsider to help; someone removed from the situation will give you a fresh perspective on things and help keep up the momentum. They won’t be distracted by the sentimental significance of each item. 

Go prepared with boxes, labels, and wrapping, so you can sort out the things to keep, send to the tip and give to the charity shops. Have another box set aside for paperwork, so you can keep this all together and go through it at a later date. Label the boxes clearly, and put them in separate areas – so there’s no risk of confusion later on.

When sorting through the possessions of a loved one, remember the attachment is to the person and not to a physical thing. Do keep a few treasured objects by which to remember them, but consider giving yourself a limit on the number of things you’ll keep.  Try following the Marie Kondo principle of only keeping those things that give you joy.  If you’re having difficulty choosing, then try to break things down into categories first (books, ceramic, clothes), choose a few from each category and whittle them down again. Discard those things that aren’t immediately useful, particularly treasured or joyful to you.

If you’re going through the possessions with your siblings, be mindful of the fact that an argument over an object is likely to stay longer in your thoughts than the said object will give you joy or use.  If items do cause a dispute, put them aside to be considered later on, when the rest of the work has been done. 

Preparing the house for sale

When preparing the house for sale, think ‘less is more.' Declutter, tidy and clean, just as you would with any other house, this is much easier said than done when it’s the home of a relative, so if you can’t face doing it yourself, get the professionals in to help. Consider the condition of everything left in the house and get rid of anything that is worn and dishevelled looking, whether it is furniture, carpet or curtains. It’s better to leave the house as much as a blank canvas as possible; the more minimal the décor, the more open prospective buyers will be to the possibilities of the property.  Think sparkling, bright and light - consider popping a coat of fresh paint in a pale, neutral colour on the walls to freshen things up.

Are you going through probate?

If you’re considering a few estate agents to oversee the sale, then ensure you engage one who’ll look after all of the viewings – it’s likely to be far too emotive to do this yourself. If you can’t face the drawn out process of a sale, consider an alternative, if you want a quick house sale of a probate property, then help is available.

Letting go of a loved one’s home is never easy, but we hope these tips will help you approach this emotive task.

Tim Jackson