Grief Series: What Do I Do With My Loved One's Things?

Published: May 1, 2022

Wondering how to handle someone’s possessions after they have died is a concern for many. The important thing to remember about this is that there is no timeline. While there are some reasons for quickly going through possessions – such as needing to vacate a residence – for many people there is no hurry in performing this task. And there is no right or wrong timeframe to complete it. Some find going through closets and drawers to be therapeutic while others see it as too painful. Give yourself permission to go through possessions when you feel ready and not be pushed into doing so when you are not.

Some things to consider when performing this task:

  • Know that you can box things up and choose to actually go through them at another time when you feel more ready for that task.
  • Allow time for your emotions to settle before making decisions on giving away possessions.
  • Decide which special items you would like to keep for yourself and which items you know your loved one or you would like to go to specific people. Some people would like to make that decision themselves and others prefer to have family/friends choose items they would appreciate.
  • Clothes can be given to people you know or donated to a homeless shelter or thrift store. Some people take the clothes to a quilter and have quilts made out of them. They find comfort in wrapping up in that quilt made from their loved one’s clothing.
  • Discuss with close family members/friends about the possibility of having an auction or estate sale if there are many possessions left.
  • Social media pages can remain active or you can notify them of the death and they can be frozen or inactivated. People may continue to utilize the page as a means of expressing their condolences or memories. There are many organizations that make books out of social media postings and messages if you would like to preserve that information.

Losing someone close can be difficult to handle alone. Do you need help? Call (800) 801-4182 or (402) 354-8000 to schedule a confidential appointment.

More Resources

Written by Amy Monzingo, MS, LMHP, LMHC, Best Care EAP counselor, the 12-part Grief Series deals with all kinds off issues individuals go through on their grief journey. Whatever the cause of your grief, there are healthy ways to cope with the pain that, in time, can ease your sadness and help you come to terms with your loss and eventually move on with your life. 

About the Author

Amy Monzingo has been in the counseling field since 1997. She joined Best Care EAP in 1999. 

Education: BS in Human Development, MS in Community Counseling; Licensed Mental Health Practitioner.

See more articles from Amy Monzingo
Photo of Amy Monzingo