moving through the heartache of dealing with a loved ones stuff 300x300The pain of losing a loved one is all consuming, it cuts right to the soul and breaks your heart.  The aftermath of losing a loved one is often hard for anyone to verbalize. Everyone deals with death differently.  From my experience you cannot predict how someone will react and get through it. There are no specific timelines, no specific route to getting through it and I can tell you that you NEVER get over it.  You can just learn to accept it and learn how to live your new normal without your loved ones physical presence.

When a loved one passes, they leave behind not only heartache but also ‘stuff’.  Their presence is felt in all the things that they used, all the clothes that they wore, all their precious mementos they collected.  Those left behind are then tasked with having to decided what to do with all the stuff left behind. I work regularly with people who have to go through their loved one’s possessions, it is a heartbreaking task but a necessary one to move forward. 

Although the task is not simple here are 8 tips to help you move through the heartache of releasing a loved one's stuff after they pass:


Wait if possible - Give yourself some time before you tackle this if possible.  Allow yourself the time to grieve the loved one and feel a little stronger before you take on this task, unless time is limited to settle the space.

Grieve as you go - As you go through the process you may feel like you are giving away a piece of your loved one with every possession you let go. This is normal and part of the whole grieving process. What is important during this time is to allow for the grieving to happen - cry, yell, whatever you need to do to let the emotions out.  Feel the feeling and then move on.

Honour their memory - Choose how you are going to honor the memory of your loved one with the stuff you do keep.  Keep only things that bring you joy when thinking of them. The reality is we cannot keep everything from everyone, so choose wisely what you will keep and ensure you honor their memory by honoring the possessions you keep.  Storing boxes and boxes of their stuff in an attic or basement does not honour their memory, choose to pay it forward and allow others to be blessed by the stuff, giving your loved one’s possession new life.

Take Pictures – If there are things that have great memories but you know you cannot keep, take a picture of the item to keep in a memory file.  Whenever you are missing your loved one, you can look at the pictures and remember the joy without having all the stuff take up space.

Share their stuff with others that loved them – Allow family and close friends to choose something if they want.  Once you have decided what you must keep, allow others that loved them to choose something that brings them joy and reminds them of your loved one.  Keeping the love alive and their memories cherished.

Release the rest to the Universe – it is not your job to distribute each and every item individually.  It is not your job to know where everything is going.  Send possessions off to Goodwill and allow the universe to get those possessions in the hands of those that most need them.  You do not have to do all the work! Send them with love and let them go.


Get Help – If this task is just to big and too much for you to tackle on your own then ask for help.  A trusted friend, family member or a professional.  Getting help can make the process quicker and easier than doing it alone.  Be honest about what you can handle on your own and ask for help when you decide you are not able to do it by yourself.  There is no shame in needing help during a difficult time. This help will need to be firm but loving to keep you moving.

BE PATIENT WITH YOURSELF – there is no easy way to do this task.  Be patient and kind to yourself, take breaks when you need them and don’t forget to breathe as you go. 

You cannot keep everything of a loved ones.  That is the hard truth, but you can keep the memories.  Your memories of your loved ones are yours to keep.  No one can take those from you.  Remember the joy, remember the fun, remember the love.    

If you feel you cannot do this alone, I would be honoured to help you through this process.  Come join our Support Group or contact us for one on one care. With gentle guidance and support we can move you forward through this difficult task. 

Honouring you and your loved ones,

Kim xox

www.ClutterSupportGroup.com