If you find yourself in the position of having to empty a house for someone you care about, chances are they are no longer alive. Whether they have passed away or moved into a new home, they will not return to their home, thus it is your responsibility to sort through their belongings and prepare the house for resale.
Nobody can deny that losing a loved one is the worst thing that can happen to a person, yet house clearances are an essential part of that terrible process, and many people have described them as cathartic and helpful in the morning and moving on process. This post will perhaps go some way toward making the emotional chore of house clearance a little easier.
There is often a sense that emptying a house is a time-sensitive task that must be completed immediately after the event. However, with the current state of the housing market, any house will most likely take a long time to sell, and as long as you are perceived to be trying to sell it, there may be no legal consequences to leaving it for a few weeks before moving in. Allow yourself time to miss the individual before getting caught up in the paperwork and logistics of the aftermath.
Make an effort not to be a hoarder. It’s tempting to believe that everything in your loved one’s home was placed there for a reason and that you have no right to get rid of anything. This isn’t the case at all. All of the things you have around the house are probably just good for being thrown away, so there seems to be little point in thinking about giving them away.
The things that have an emotional resonance with you are the most difficult to get rid of, and when you’re in the house, it can feel like everything is essential and related to your memories of that person. So here’s a tip: close your eyes and visualize the property at a location other than the one you’re cleansing. Things like furniture will come to mind right away, but the majority of other things will most likely vanish from conscious recollection. Things that don’t matter, things that are engraved in your memory, are likely to be the things that matter most and that you will miss. You might be astonished to learn what they are.
As part of the grieving process, try not to isolate yourself and ‘deal with the house.’ Other people’s belongings are valuable to those who are left behind, so make sure you include them in the early stages of DE cluttering. Take-the-things-you-want-to-keep is most likely the first stage. Being selfish at this point and refusing to allow others access to your person’s belongings will come back to haunt you, and you don’t want to be that guy.
Finally, try not to let the task’s strain get to you. In the end, they are just things, and no matter how much value you place on them – or yourself for sorting and clearing them – what matters is who owns them. This is just junk that can be sold or replaced with no repercussions.
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