After someone dies, at some point we have to start thinking about how to deal with their possessions. Both the decision to act, and carrying it through, can be intensely emotional. In this blog post, Adrian, one of our Bereavement Volunteers, offers some advice.
Dealing with belongings after a death
Dealing with the clothes and personal possessions of someone who has died is a really difficult process to start and people normally find it an emotional time. Some have guilty feelings about what they are doing.
Start in your own time
Firstly, don’t let anyone tell you when to start. It’s your choice and only you can know when it’s the right time. It helps if you start with disposing of items that you have little emotional attachment to. Clothing and personal items (eg a set of golf clubs) are always welcomed at charity shops. By giving you are helping others, particularly if the charity is one the person had a connection to.
Take a 'step by step' approach
One client shared with us that he dealt with much of his wife’s clothes by putting them in storage bags in the loft. He not only gained the space, but he was able to take items to a charity shop when he was feeling emotionally stronger. 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.
In summary, the reality is you’ll probably keep a number of pieces of clothing and artefacts – and why shouldn’t you? They can be an important part of remembering your loved one.
Try not to feel guilty about making changes
Dealing with pictures
As with possessions, there is no need to rush the process, and only you can know when you are ready. When that time comes, it is possible to adapt your home to the life you live now while keeping space to remember and honour those who are no longer with us.
- Don't feel pressured into making changes before you feel ready.
- When that time comes you might want to ask a trusted friend or relative to help you get started.
- There is no need to get rid of everything, and there are lots of ways to keep a few items to remember someone with. Read some more ideas on how to remember someone.
- Take things slowly and you can always stop if you find it's not the right time after all
- Cruse can help if you need to talk things through.