What can be more traumatic than dealing with your parent’s death is dealing with the stuff they have left. You can never be ready for disposing of their lifelong possessions, but you will have to at some point. Here are a few stages that you can consider that can help you ease the process and guide you to declutter efficiently after your parent’s death.
When to start dealing with your parent’s possessions:
Grief is an important process to heal after the loss of loved ones; it should not be rushed. Dealing with stuff has no right or wrong time. Let time heal you before you start dealing with your parent’s possessions.
For those who do not have the luxury of time to start, then you may find yourself in the middle of a whole range of emotions. This is precisely the time when your emotions may take hold of you so you must approach the process with a clear plan to keep you focused.
Inform your siblings, make a plan:
If you have siblings, it is better to let them know before you start decluttering, so that you may arrange a plan and a time frame. But if you are an only child, it would be a lot better to take someone close to you. Ultimately, this will help you stay focused and not let emotion take control.
Make a List:
Make a list that will help you prioritize:
- Which part of the room/house you need to focus on
- Who can help you sort out your parent’s belongings
- What can you give away as a memento and who would be touched to have them
- Decide the days that you think will be best for decluttering
Materialistically, we recommend that you get the given below materials ready to make the process as streamlined as possible:
- Boxes, storage containers, bags
- Gloves and face masks (if there is any dusting required)
- Stickers for labeling
However, going through your parent’s possessions is going to be a very emotional time. You need to be ready for the following
- Be ready for a flood of memories
- Expect a few surprises
- Prepare for tears, sadness, and laughter
- You may feel stuck and not able to continue. Know that this not unusual and that you do not have to rush if you are not ready
- Don’t be hard on yourself, allow your tears to flow. The grief, regrets are all part of the process.
Furthermore, it is better to divide according to the basic strategy that is what you want to keep, donate, throw away, give away as a memento, and those items that you haven’t decided about yet. As a result, you will have a clear idea of what you plan to do, and the chances are that it might help in keeping your mind busy and less focused on your feelings.
Tackle the bigger mess first
What is the most challenging and frustrating area for you? Is it going through the mess of papers? A cluttered room or the storage room? Take baby steps to deal with the primary stress area. It is better that you start letting go of stuff that causes you the most stress and you will start feeling much better about the overall project.
There is a possibility that you may have to pay the bills as well so keep an eye on everything that is around you and try not to let emotions hinder the process.
Be easy on yourself:
You don’t have to resolve what to do with everything all at once. The fact is that it can be quite hard dealing with your parents’ lifetime possessions all at once. Know that everyone one, every the most organized one have difficulty controlling their emotions. There will be highs and lows. Some days you will feel better and some not as much. Be aware of your feelings and don’t beat yourself up. It is always better to deal with stuff on days when you feel comparatively better.
Although you can sell your parents’ belongings all by yourself, in case you don’t have that luxury of time, you can always hire someone to help you in the process. Sort out the personal belongings and then bring in professionals who have experience in decluttering. Experts will help you liquidate households swiftly and without taking much of your time.
There is nothing wrong with designating stuff to stay for the short term. Getting rid of everything all at once is not healthy either. Everything has a value it can be monetary and even emotional. While dealing with your parents’ stuff, you can be overwhelmed in many ways. You can either get too isolated ultimately throwing away everything or too attached and keeping things that might clutter your home without giving you any value. So the line you will be walking is going to be fragile, and you need to be in all your senses while going through your parents’ stuff.