Dos and Don’ts of Dividing a Loved One’s Possessions
The weeks and months following a loved one’s death can be difficult to face. Even after the funeral ends, there are lots of important decisions to make, and one of these is how to divide a loved one’s possessions. At Moloney Family Funeral Homes, we have many families in Hauppauge, Bohemia, and Central Islip asking us for advice on when and how to undertake this monumental task. Letting go of a loved one’s things can incite intense emotions. To help our neighbors navigate this huge undertaking, here are some dos and don’ts of dividing a loved one’s possessions:
Do have a system.
It’s easy to get overwhelmed when sorting through a loved one’s belongings. To keep yourself sane while you work, try to have a system in place when you start. Perhaps you begin the process by sorting items in the attic space and work your way from room to room. Consider grouping similar items together and putting things into piles with labels like, “donate, keep, and toss.” This will help you keep track of things as you go.
Do consider family members and friends.
After someone dies, family members and those who were close to them may have a desire to keep certain possessions. Before getting rid of an item that may hold sentimental value for someone else, set it aside and ask family and friends whether they’d like to hold onto it. Even though you’re the one going through your loved one’s things, many other people felt close to them in life and may wish to have a memento.
Don’t rush the decision-making process.
It’s tempting to want to keep everything your loved one owned, but this isn’t always practical. (Also, who has the space?) Perhaps you’re loath to let something go, like your loved one’s favorite sweater or their beloved book collection. Give yourself ample time to make decisions about what to save and what to sell, donate, or recycle.
Don’t forget to take care of yourself.
It’s easy to neglect self-care when you’ve got a task like sorting through your loved one’s things on your plate. Be sure to take frequent breaks and give yourself time to grieve if you need it. Remember that you don’t have to do this alone. Call a close friend or trusted family member for help.