What to do With Belongings When Someone You Love Dies

The most insignificant objects take on new meaning after someone you love dies. An old hair comb or toothbrush now triggers memories that are too valuable to toss. These items are everywhere and seem embedded with the very cells of the one who's now gone. What to do? How and when you move or dispose of belongings is up to you, but here are some ideas:

Repurpose. Toss your own comb and keep his. Run the toothbrush through the dishwasher and save it to clean your wedding ring. Clean out the toiletry bag and keep it to hold small items of hers you may or may want to keep. A garment can be made into a pillow or stuffed animal that you can hug. If it's special to you, get creative with ways to repurpose.

Pass on. Make a list of people who were close to your loved one and see what makes sense to give to each. His golfing buddy might want to use the clubs, a nephew might need a good sport coat, a fellow hobbyist would appreciate her collection. Knowing it's being used by someone who will remember your person each time they touch it is heartwarming.

Take your time. Some things will be easy to toss. If it doesn't trigger any great meaning when you touch it, let it go. Other things you'll hang on to for dear life and they'll be no question you'll keep. The things in the middle are trickier. If it takes your breath away to imagine emptying a closet, close the door for now. Later, try pulling out just two pieces to pass on. I found doing this in small bits was the easiest way to proceed. When Bill died, I eventually reached the point where I selected two items of clothing to keep and that made removing the rest easier. 

Go gently through belongings a little at a time as you're ready. Know that, in time, it gets easier.

Source: http://trevythomas.com