Dealing with our loved ones “things” after death

Dealing With a Loved One’s Belongings After Their Death

Personal Box     After the loss of a loved one, there is one task that is typically the most emotional of all – dealing with the belongings of the deceased. For many people, sorting and organizing their loved one’s personal property can seem like an insurmountable task when the death is still fresh in their minds.  Thus, the first few weeks after the loved one’s passing are probably far too soon to begin this process.  Remember, disposing of a loved one’s possessions quickly will not make the pain go away any quicker.  With that in mind, you should take your time and embark on this important step in the grieving process when you are emotionally ready.


     In general, you will want to separate your loved one’s belongings into two main categories: items for family and friends and those for sale or charity.  The first category should include the clothing and personal items that you want to keep.  These can be things that you desire for yourself, or things you will want to pass along to other family members or close friends.  For the second category of items, if your loved owned numerous antiques or other valuables, then you might consider disposing of those items through an estate sale.  Otherwise, you may want to have a garage or yard sale, or even possibly sell the items in an online auction.  Regardles of how you decide to categorize and dispose of the deceased’s possessions, remember to stay organized.  Becoming organized about the job will make you feel more in charge and less overwhelmed as you sort through your loved one’s belongings.


     Finally, it is important to realize that touching, smelling, or even simply seeing your loved one’s possessions will bring back a flood of feelings.  Thus, unless you absolutely must sort through the possessions by yourself, it is a good idea to have a close friend or family member with you.  It can be a very comforting experience to reminisce with that person about a particular piece of clothing the deceased loved to wear or a silly or unique item your loved one collected. 


     Sorting through the remaining belongings may be painful, but it can also bring back positive memories.  Be sure to take a moment with each item, thinking back over all the memories it evokes.  In doing so, it will certainly help you as you move through the grieving process.



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