One of the most painful aspects of moving on after a death is sorting through the deceased’s belongings. Whether it involves finding paperwork relating to their estate, or just to clear out a space, the experience can trigger a range of emotions.
The internet is full of advice on how to declutter our homes, office and workspaces, but to organise following a death carries a lot more weight. Certain items will bring memories flooding back, and can even help with grief.
If you’re about to embark on this sometimes quite daunting task, or thinking of offering a friend a hand, here are the best tips we have put together from our experience helping people through this most painful of jobs.
Don’t rush in
Not everyone has lots of time to deal with issues in this situation but try not to let emotion rush you, and always take as much time as you can. Certain items can be easy to deal with, and it makes sense to tick those off first. There may even be some treasured belongings that can bring back positive memories and help you through the worst parts of the process. If you can put off making final decisions on what stays and what goes, do so; it’s harder to bring items thrown away back than to later decide you don’t want an old teddy or trophy around.
How much do you want to keep and what will you do with it?
You can prepare yourself by asking two simple questions; How much do you want to keep and put into storage? And, what will you do with the things you keep?
Take clothes; they will undoubtedly carry many memories, but can they still be worn? Do you want to see anyone else wearing that old coat or jumper?
And books; will you read them, or will they be for display? How about keeping just a few that you know were important?
Trinkets are also valuable reminders of a life, and it’s tempting to keep as many of these as possible. But ask yourself, do they really have sentimental meaning or is it just because the deceased owned them?
Furniture is another matter. Can you realistically use it in your life? Or, are you better off taking pictures of it for memories and gifting it to someone who will use it?
It’s natural to feel guilty
We shouldn’t feel guilty for getting rid of items we really have no use for. Initially, the temptation is there to hold on to as much as possible, but unless you’re planning to keep it in storage and pay to have it in your life, a purge will be necessary. It’s not easy, but it is important to consider.
As we said above, it’s fine to do things in waves. But there will come a time when tough decisions will have to be made. Get yourself emotionally ready to tackle it head-on.
Pictures can help
Some people have found taking pictures of items they have later disposed of helps them hold onto a memory without dealing with a loss of space in their life. We’ve even seen people dress up in clothes of the deceased for a photo session. If it’s pots and pans, use them for a big family dinner before gifting them away – and make sure to take as many pictures as possible.
Do what’s right for you
The process of post-death clearing can be mentally and physically exhausting. As we’ve said all through this guide; take your time. Only you will know what you want to keep to help you get through the difficult days to come. Remember to look after yourself in this whole process, and good luck.
Metro Storage is here to help
If there are belongings that you can’t bear to part with, we have the space available to help. Our all-inclusive prices keep things simple and give you the peace of mind that your belongings are there when you want them and taken care of.
You can take a storage room for just four weeks or for as long as you need, and the good news is you can upgrade or downsize in size when you are ready.
Our experienced team is here to help and available – simply call us on the freephone number above, or fill in a form and we can come back to you at a time best suited to your needs.