In the Attik
by Katie Mamo
Although we are thought to live in a disposable society these days, our thought process and habits of using things up or taking them to the local dump does not account for the memories and emotions which we have invested into our belongings… or those of the people close to us.
Clearing a house after a loved one has passed away is often an emotional and stressful time and as a result, many people can rush into decisions about how to dispose of a property and its contents that they later regret – especially if some of the items are of high value. Of course, not everyone has a mansion filled with antiques to dispose of and not everyone is as lucky as Del-boy and Rodney when they finally do become millionaires after finding the famous ‘Lesser Watch’ but more and more people are looking to hand over the arduous task to us professionals when it comes to clearing out ‘granny’s house.’
The fact is that people feel you must find a home for everything, but the truth is it’s just not practical to keep it all. A recent survey showed that ample storage space is one of our top priorities when buying a home, so is our ‘throw away’ society changing into one of hoarders?
A recent client of ours called us in tears after attempting to clear the property of her deceased parents with the help of friends and family, but she soon realised that it’s not as easy as just sorting stuff into appropriate piles. Reason being, that one of the hardest parts is choosing what you should keep and what should go to waste or charity as nothing can prepare you for the emotions that surround you while sorting through items people leave behind when they pass away. It’s funny how memories can be stored in anything from a chipped mug to a sewing box and it’s got nothing to do with how much they cost or how much they would fetch at auction. A trip to the local jewellery store to value a relative’s engagement ring can seem like a walk in the park compared to a trip down memory lane.
One thing that we recommend to all our clients before clearing and marketing the property of a loved one that has passed away or gone into care is ‘pace yourself.’ Some things shouldn’t be rushed, and this is certainly one of the things in life that shouldn’t be done in a hurry. When entering a deceased loved one’s property, it can be like entering a time capsule – everything preserved and just how they left it and who knew you could be reduced to tears by an old jumper or your granddad’s broken tape measure. So… pace yourself, take your time, and cherish the memories you stumble upon, and more importantly, don’t be afraid to ask for help.