Five Key Questions to Ask Before You Begin Emptying the House

Whether you are downsizing your own home or you are in charge of the process for someone else, answering a few key questions before you begin dispensing with objects can help the process go more smoothly.

1. Has everyone in the family been consulted, and informed that the process of emptying the house is about to begin?

2. Is there a family plan for how to go about this process? Has everyone agreed to it?

3. Is there a date set for when the process will begin? Is it clear to everyone who will be involved?

4. Has there been a discussion about how to handle any disagreements or disputes that may arise in the process?

5. Have we dealt with any disagreements about any of the above as well as we can? If we are not all in agreement, is there at least agreement that the process should begin?

Depending on the situation, you may have to proceed without having ideal answers to all of these questions. But if you’ve done your best to inform everyone of what’s happening, and have attempted to gain cooperation among all involved parties, you will have done all you can to promote family harmony in what can be a difficult time. You should give yourself credit for that–and so should everyone else!

Janet Hulstrand is a writer/editor,  writing coach travel blogger, and coauthor of Moving On: A Practical Guide to Downsizing the Family Home

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