How to handle emotions of estate sale planning

Posted at 12:41 PM, May 09, 2016

Inheriting an estate can be an emotional journey, especially if you had a close relationship with the person whose estate you are settling or if you’re planning an estate sale due to divorce or foreclosure.

Here are some helpful ways to stay strong and make wise decisions as you navigate this process of preparing for an estate sale.

Seek advice
Here’s a bit of good news: you don’t have to bear this responsibility alone. As you begin the (sometimes tedious) process of selling the contents of an estate, surround yourself with a support system. Family members, trusted friends, and experts (such as an attorney or an estate sale professional) can offer valuable advice with regard to specific decisions, and you may feel more confident when you’ve considered input from others. And remember that this is an undeniably emotional experience; you may also want to talk with a member of the clergy or a counselor as you work through the steps of preparing for the estate sale.

Prepare for memories
Moments of grief can come upon you unexpectedly, sometimes precipitated by the sight of an item that triggers special memories. Sorting through a stack of sweaters might seem like a simple and unemotional task, but it can be difficult if you come across a sweater that you associate with a memorable occasion. The same can be true of books, knick-knacks, quilts, and dozens of other items both large and small. Be prepared to come across items that may cause a moment of pain, but strive to balance this with happy memories whenever possible. While this isn’t always easy, focusing on positive feelings can be an important step in staying strong throughout the process.

Take your time
It isn’t always possible, but try not to rush yourself through the planning stages for the estate sale. You want to make wise decisions on what to sell, what to keep, and what to donate, and you want to avoid regrets later on. While preparing for an estate sale does offer some measure of closure, the process can also foster feelings of finality, and giving yourself the time and space to consider your options can reduce the emotional burden.

Hire help
An estate sale service can relieve a lot of the emotional pressure that comes from the estate sale process. By not having to focus on details and minutiae that aren’t in your area of expertise (pricing, staging, and scheduling, for instance), you’ll be free to positively channel your energy into the process of emotional healing. It also eases the burden of decision making, which can be immensely helpful in some situations.