Interiors Therapy & Feng Shui Clutter Selling Houses/ Moving Home

Inheriting a family home

Nov 18, 2020

I think we underestimate the emotional implications of inheriting a family home and everything in it.

From an external perspective, having a house land in your lap looks great, and if it’s an area you want to live in, double whammy!

The thing is, along with the home there is a legacy of stuff, memories, thought triggers and the heavy expectations of other members of the family.

If you’re inheriting a stately home, especially one with a history-laden past, that’s one thing. 

However, if it’s a suburban villa or 3 bed semi, there is a limit to how much you can reasonably be expected to live with.

It’s much easier when a couple moves in because one of them sees things without the haze of sentimental attachment. 

A single, or divorced person doesn’t have the benefit of a detached perspective, and falls into line with the wishes of those closest to them.

What felt precious and mattered greatly to parents or grandparents probably has very little bearing on life now, and yet many feel obliged to become curators of a family museum or shrine to generations past.  

I believe there’s a clear line between what counts as genuine family history or a ‘family heirloom’, and what is in fact, a chipped teacup which happened to belong to an aunt.  

And yet, boxes of utilitarian tableware, ordnance survey maps, tape cassettes, ugly vases, hobby materials and much more are stored gathering dust just because they belonged to someone who is now deceased. To let them go feels like ‘throwing away’ a loved one.

It can take years for someone in this situation to ask for help. Clients have ‘lived around’ the possessions of the previous generations for years, even decades.

They mentally re-classify themselves as curators in their own home because to do otherwise would create sibling meltdown and family angst.

Often what brings the situation to a head is a decision to sell the house and move on. Suddenly parental possessions need to be re-homed.

Having ‘the discussion’ with previously intransigent siblings usually results in them saying they don’t want the stuff anyway. They were happy for it to be stored for them, but there’s no room in their own homes!  

They choose one or two bits and then walk away, leaving the client to deal with the rest.

I cannot tell you how many times I’ve supported men and women to liberate themselves from the weight of parental furniture, trinkets, kitchenware, tools and goodness knows what else. 

It’s tearful, emotionally draining and you can see the heaviness releasing. A truly uplifting experience as a home becomes their own.

Sadly most stuff has little value even to a charity store, but still we aim to recycle everything. Thank goodness for the vintage craze and Facebook marketplace!

If you are in this position and you’d like to live your own life, breathe your own air and surround yourself with things you truly want, use and love. Call me!