One of the reasons that I got into real estate was to serve people better. My commitment to my community is important to me, whether it is through my volunteer work or as a Realtor®. I was counseling a client this morning and I realized how hard it can be to pick up over 20 years of life and move. It just isn’t that easy.

To that end, this week, I’m heading back on my Marie Kondo kick that I started at the beginning of the year…No, it’s not my desire to have clutter-free kitchen drawers (haven’t even gotten there, yet!). Rather, it’s to ease the burden of loss when one chooses to sell a home. The essence behind Marie Kondo’s method is about simplicity: be mindful of what we have, and be grateful for what we had.

Why is this important when selling your home? One thing that we rarely talk about when selling a home is the emotional toll that it takes on the seller. At the heart of it all, when we are talking about selling we are really talking about loss and grief. Both mindfulness and gratefulness are two key elements to working through grief when we reach the final stage of acceptance.

There are many reasons why an individual is selling a home: downsizing, they may be turned out because they’re behind on the mortgage, loss of a loved one, divorce, being relocated for work. All of these are examples of loss and, just like having a loved one pass, sellers need to work through the five stages of grief.

  • Denial
  • Anger
  • Depression
  • Bargaining
  • Acceptance

If you are a seller, you will likely go through many of these stages prior to contacting a realtor. However, this is not always the case. This is something that both you and your realtor should be aware of. Sellers make an emotional (as well as physical) investment into their property and are often rightly proud of what they’ve accomplished.

It can be demoralizing to have an outsider come through and tell you that everything that you’ve done will only net you so much. You may lash out angrily, or become so overwhelmed that you retreat into depression. This is perfectly normal and OK as long as you continue to work to move forward.

This is why the KonMarie method is so important. When it comes time to merchandize (i.e. staging) your home, it’s important to be mindful of what items within the home are emotionally impactful to you. Perhaps they can be used by a stager to enhance the home. Depersonalizing a home isn’t always the best way for a buyer to see themselves living in it. Sometimes it may be that – for some homes with specific buyers – they enjoy seeing how others lived in it and the associated memories of the home.

Streamlining a home so that it is clean and clutter free is important. If you do choose to move forward by throwing personally-charged items out, acknowledge how they make you feel and be grateful for what they represent. Holding on to the gratitude can be emotionally powerful and rewarding.

I’ve worked with several individuals over the past 18 months where there was significant amount of loss surrounding selling their home. In some cases it was divorce, in other cases it was loss of a spouse or child…It’s never easy; and that’s OK. The important thing is to recognize the loss that comes with selling a home and face it. Make your way towards acceptance so that you can enjoy your life in a new way.

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