Every day, someone is going through the emotional process of planning an estate sale for their loved one. Heirlooms and belongings that were in your family for decades can vanish quickly and easily, likely to never be seen again. Like most, the person planning the estate sale is likely unprepared for the tidal wave of emotions that will hit once family items that were priceless are stuck with a price tag and bartered by someone wanting to pay much less than what it’s worth. Whether someone passed away or is downsizing to move to an assisted living facility, it is not always possible to keep things your loved one may have collected for decades, but it’s possible to plan ahead and prepare yourself for the emotions you’ll have to navigate when planning and managing an estate sale.
The time to start the process of decluttering is before your loved one becomes sick or reaches a certain age. The less the family has to deal with when loved ones become elderly, the better. Here are a few things to think about if this situation with your loved one is forthcoming:
- If you find yourself the family member in charge of managing your loved one’s estate, it can be easier to disperse many heirlooms through relatives who are interested. Consider having a family meeting to divide wanted possessions between immediate family members. This process will prevent hurt feelings in the aftermath and also prevent some of your family’s items being sold to complete strangers.
- Remove important papers from the home and decide who will store them for safe keeping. Make copies of documents you want to share. Shred and dispose of all paperwork that is no longer needed. While it sounds easy, making decisions about what to keep and what to toss can be taxing. Having support is always helpful.
- After you have given away keepsakes to interested family members and you have removed important paperwork, you may want to set aside small gifts for friends and family who may live far and couldn’t attend your gathering. Set aside a small gift or keepsake if someone like this comes to mind.
- At this point in the process, you could go in a few different directions depending on your specific situation. If there are still substantial or expensive material goods and collectibles left, consider hiring a professional to help ease the burden. If you don’t think the items warrant hiring professional help, selling or giving away to neighbors or people within your community through these avenues is a good option.
This process can be arduous and heart wrenching. It is important to take care of yourself during this time of transition. You might consider taking pictures of items that were particularly memorable to you as a child and make a scrapbook if there are items that invoke fond memories of your childhood. Professionals who help manage estate sales are equipped to handle the heightened emotions while also helping you maintain a positive and practical perspective. Try to practice ways to stay positive, including remembering the positive and happy memories you have with your loved one and a particular heirloom or item. Think about the memories it can create for someone else and their family.
The professionals at MIR Senior Care and Care Management help assist families and their loved ones in preparing for senior living. We provide family coaching and support as well as financial coordination, legal referrals and much more. One call to MIR can give your family peace of mind. Contact us today.