Sorting through belongings after a death

Dealing with a person's belongings after a death can be really painful.

By Adrian, Cruse Volunteer · April 8, 2021

Dealing with someone’s belongings after they die can be hugely emotional and often very stressful. Our volunteers share their advice on starting out.

Tips on dealing with belongings after a death

  • Start in your own time

It’s okay to wait until you’re ready to organise someone’s belongings. It’s your choice and only you can know when it’s the right time.

  • Start small 

Start slowly by sorting through the things you have the least emotional attachment to and then move onto the harder stuff when you feel ready.

  • Take a ‘step by step’ approach

Using a ‘step by step’ approach makes it just that bit less painful. Maybe start with just half a wardrobe, or a few drawers. The main thing is that you have started and are moving forward.

  • Find a way to display treasured items

If something is worth keeping, it’s worth putting on display. Try out arranging special items in cabinets or on shelves. If you have lots of photos, try collating them in a book.

  • Don’t feel guilty about making changes

If you lived with the person who died, making changes to the house is a really big step. But don’t feel guilty if you need to reorganise their belongings to make more space or make your house more comfortable. The most important thing is that you have a relaxing space that’s easy to live in.

Talk to us

Talk to us. We’re here to support you while you’re grieving. Find out the ways we can help.