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5 Tips for going through a lost loved one’s possessions

sorting through loved ones possessions image

Dealing with loss is one of the most difficult things life throws at us, so needing to go through the possessions of your loved one is something a lot of people struggle with. Sometimes you’re on a time limit to look through their things, but you may not always feel ready.


A safe way to deal with it in a timely fashion would be to put it into storage until you’re emotionally ready to get it all back out again. You don’t need to rush yourself, try and do it slowly so you’re able to take it at your own pace. We’ve also put together five tips for handling their possessions and how to deal with the loss.


  • Don’t do it if you’re feeling upset

Obviously you’re going to be feeling upset for quite some time after the death of a loved one, but some days will be worse than others. If you’re feeling particularly down on the day you’d put aside to go through their things, don’t do it. Going through the items is going to get you upset again, but it’s better to start in a positive place. There’s also no need to go overboard with their possessions, don’t put everything in your home, just the things you really want.


  • Pace yourself

The process is overwhelming, and it’s not going to get any easier because you’re rushing it. It’s important to take breaks and remember these items will be a reminder of the person you’ve lost. Factor in time to laugh or cry, but remember it’s not going to be as straight forward as packing things up, it’s going to be an incredibly emotional day.


  • Ask for help

Don’t be afraid to ask your family or friends to help you, it’s challenging to attempt to do it alone, and you don’t have to do it by yourself. With people by your side, you may end up talking for hours about the person or even laughing at old memories. People will want all sorts of different things to remember that person by, so it’s a good way to figure out who wants what.


  • Don’t feel bad for throwing things away

Most homes will have been filled with clutter at one point or another, so a lot of their things can probably be thrown away. Don’t feel guilty about doing so, you don’t need to keep everything. CDs and DVDs from the early 00s when you don’t have anything to play them on is a big waste of space. But feel free to take pictures so you can remember them or laugh over the number of CDs and DVDs they owned – but don’t add unnecessary pressure onto yourself.


  • Listen to yourself

The only person who will truly understand what you’re going through is yourself. Make your own decisions on how you want to tackle it, whether you go it alone or have a group of people by your side. If you make the decision to leave it weeks or even months, that’s fine –– focus on getting yourself together before you make the decision to go through their things.



Feel free to hold off on doing any packing up for however long you need, make it a positive day, going through memories and having a few laughs rather than leaving yourself upset.

Ceri Wheeldon

Ceri is Founder and Editor of Fabafterfifty.co.uk She is a frequent speaker at events and in the media on topics related to women over 50 , including style and living agelessly. With 20+ years experience as a headhunter Ceri also now helps support those looking to extend their working lives.

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