What to do With a Deceased Loved One's Belongings

What to do With a Deceased Loved One's Belongings

When a loved one dies it can be unbearable task to sort through the deceased’s belongings. It is important to remember that not all belongings hold memories and some are merely possessions. Sorting items into piles to keep, discard and donate can help to make this task a bit more bearable.

Going through bereavement is one of the hardest times in anyone’s life and can have a huge emotional strain. Perhaps one of the most difficult parts of the process is deciding what to do with your loved ones' belongings; it can feel impossible to know what to keep, donate or throw away without their input. While it might be a struggle to let go of items, sorting through your loved ones' belongings is an important part of the grieving process that will eventually help you to move on. Our blog provides some advice and suggestions about what to do with a deceased loved one's belongings that can help you through the process.

Things to Remember Before Starting

  • You might find that feelings of guilt begin to arise during the clearing process, but it's important to remember that sorting through belongings isn't the same as erasing your loved one's presence in your life. 
  • Remember that most belongings are only possessions. Although some items might be precious to you, many of their possessions won’t hold the same value and will be easier to get rid of.
  • The longer you hold onto their possessions and avoid sorting through them, the more difficult it becomes to come to terms with your loss and move forward. 

Take Your Time

It will never be easy to go through your loved one's belongings and it is bound to bring up emotions and memories. For this reason, you should allocate a good amount of time to the task at hand and over-estimate on how long you think it will take you. There is never going to be a perfect time to go through their belongings but if you clear your schedule and dedicate the time, you won’t feel like you are rushing through it. It might be best to do this with family members, so you're not tackling it on your own.

Sort the Belongings into Categories

A good way to work through the belongings is to sort the items into categories of keep, discard and donate. There will no doubt be some belongings that hold sentimental value and you will want to keep, so set these to one side. It is a good idea to try and limit the things you are keeping to one box and try to pick items that you can either use or display; this way they'll become part of your everyday life, rather than being stashed away in the loft. The rest of the items that you decide don’t have sentimental value should then be sorted into piles to discard or donate if they could still be useful to someone else.

Still Can’t Part With Items?

If you still can’t part with some of your loved one's possession then there are some tips that might make things easier. A simple way to keep hold of memories and the belongings that mean something to you is to take pictures of their items as a reminder. This can be put into a photo album as a reminder of all of their belongings. If there are bulky items or anything that you simply don’t have the room to keep, then you might want to consider self storage. This gives you some more time to think about what you can and can’t keep or decide what you are going to do with their belongings.

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