How to organise your loved one's possessions

After a funeral, going through your loved ones belongings and trying to decide what do with the items presents a significant challenge and is by far one of the hardest parts of the journey through bereavement.

There are cupboards, drawers and wardrobes to tackle, as well as the garage, the loft and the pile of papers that may have accumulated since the death occurred.

How to Organise your loved ones possessions

It may be the dark winter evenings that you choose to spend indoors sorting, or perhaps the arrival of spring or the long days of summer, it is whatever time feels right for you to start tackling some of these tasks.

For many, it is so overwhelming that it is easier to just leave everything as is, for others it is the sad realisation that their loved one is not returning and that with the exception of specific items that may have been itemised in the will, their possessions are now yours.  There is no right or wrong time to do this, but once probate or letters of administration have been granted, it is a personal decision of what works best for you.  Some people do find that it helps to take time, to hold things, to recall and savour memories and decide which items to keep and which need to be donated to charity shops or discarded.

Some people are forced by circumstances to carry out these tasks quickly whilst for others; an immediate reaction to bereavement can be to quickly clean out everything.  The thought behind this approach is that you will feel better if you do not see the personal belongings.  The real truth is that most will not feel better; in fact as time passes, some may regret clearing out and giving away the items so quickly.

The best way to get started is to tackle one corner, one drawer or one file at a time.  Create four piles; the save pile, the donation pile, the rubbish pile and the “not sure what I want to do with” pile.  Once you start, you will find that you will develop both satisfaction in accomplishing the task and fond memories reminiscing. If it is overwhelming, take a few items to a different room and go through them at your leisure.

Consider family members and friends who may enjoy a special item and think about what items could be included in a memorial box or become a family heirloom. It may be worth considering having special items of clothing made into a teddy bear or a quilt for yourself or a family member. Rosedale uses a local company, Heart Torn Keepsakes to facilitate this, so please ask if you would like more information.

Take your time, do not let yourself be overwhelmed and cherish the memories.  If you’re not ready to go through the belongings, don’t.  Wait until you are ready.

You may wish to create a memory box of possessions that you wish to keep, that you can open when you wish to remember.  This could include photographs, certificates, medals, cards and letters, newspaper cuttings, the death announcement, the Order of Service from the funeral, a handkerchief, glasses or other personal items.

The staff at Rosedale Funeral Home recognise the value that memory boxes can have and we have a beautiful selection available for both adults and children.  They are given completely free of charge and without obligation, no matter how long ago the person died or which funeral director you used.  If you would like a memory box, just give us a ring or send us an email and we will arrange this for you.