TIPS FOR LETTING GO
TIPS FOR LETTING GO
Giving Yourself Peace of Mind and Closure
When Handling an Estate
There’s nothing simple or easy about letting go, especially when you are handling the
estate of a loved one. People have a tendency to keep too much from the estate,
often finding comfort in the “things” and the memories attached to them.
Being able to let go helps with closure and peace of mind, minimizes family strife,
and reduces future worries when your children have to carry the burden of making
decisions for these items.
When we keep too much, several things can happen:
The bottom line is “What do YOU want?”
It’s perfectly appropriate to let go of possessions especially if you don’t absolutely
cherish them. Sometimes, you just need someone to say it’s okay to let go. What
was special to mom or dad may not be special to you or your children.
Shift your thought process to determine if anyone in the family wants these items. If
not, have an ASEL estate sale professional sell them to someone who will cherish
them like mom and dad did; then split the proceeds from the sale with your loved
Remember that those items will make new memories for new people. It is important
to be honest with yourself that those items are not special enough for you to keep.
They could be very special to the new buyer. If you feel this way, it’s time to let go.
Tips to assist you in this process:
- Don’t keep items just because. Be thoughtful and minimalist in your
approach. Ask yourself: Do you really need it and have a purpose for it?
- The more stuff you keep, the more it becomes a monkey on your back or your
children’s backs. This is one monkey that has a tendency to get bigger. The
stuff doesn’t go away; one day, your heirs will need to tend to the same exact
- Record a video of the estate as it was when your loved one lived there.
Distribute it to siblings before starting to move, distribute, clear out, and sell
- Still photographs are a great idea, especially of individual items that have
meaning to you, but you have no space for them and just want the memory.
Photos take up far less space than the actual items.
- If you find old vintage and antique photos, scan them and distribute them to
family and heirs. You can also create a memory book or photo album of
vintage photos. Go online to a photo memory vendor (like Shutterfly or
Snapfish) and create a memory book. Memory books and video take up much
less space. They will also be more treasured than scattered photos or slides.
- Give to those less fortunate. Maybe your loved one had a favorite charity.
Donate to those less fortunate, whether it is canned goods, clothing, linens,
kitchenware, books, etc. If you decide to have an estate sale, discuss this
with the estate sale professional.
- Be honest and realistic. You cannot fit your mom and dad’s home inside of
yours. Have healthy boundaries and realize that space is a relevant factor.
- If you bring in one item, one or two items will have to leave in order to make
- Ask yourself some pointed questions:
- Will I use this item?
- Why am I keeping it?
- Do I love it so much I can’t live without it?
- Is there someone who could use it more?
- Am I keeping it because I don’t want someone else to have it?
- Be selective and limit yourself to only a couple boxes of items. If you see this
process getting out of hand, catch yourself and put things back.
- Escort “Guilt” to the door. You don’t need to carry that.
- If the estate needs to pay off debt, take as little as possible, so the remainder
can be sold by a professional and proceeds be applied to paying down that
- Select carefully for a future generation. Very few actually keep what is
selected for them.
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