My husband lost his mother last week.
Losing a parent or a loved one is the most stressful thing that can happen in our lives, but for many it doesn’t end there. Although my mother in law had little possessions as she was in a nursing home, for some having to deal with what is left behind is the hardest job of all.
A letter to Unclutterer.com from a lady who recently lost her husband caught my eye addressing this very topic:
The most important thing you need to remember during this process is that you are not trying to forget your husband.
Uncluttering your home does not mean you are banishing him or turning your back on his memory. Uncluttering is a way for you to bring the best of him with you into the future.
As you start this process, seek out the treasured items first. Find the handful of his things that you value most and that best honor your memories of him. You will instantly recognize these special items when you see them, and they will remind you of his life and the life you happily shared together. Store these items temporarily in a secure location.
All the remaining stuff in your home that reminds you of him can be given away to charity, given to friends and family, sold, or distributed in whatever way you wish to unclutter them from your space. This could be a one-time process taking just a matter of weeks, or it might be an on-going process taking years. You need to move at a pace that is right for you. Don’t feel pressured to part with things if you’re not ready — you can spend however long in the reconstruction period as you need to.
Once the clutter is gone, find a way to honor the treasured items you decided to keep. Frame and/or display these things so you can enjoy them. Let these wonderful objects continue to bring you happiness. Since you’ll only have kept the most valuable pieces (and I don’t mean financially valuable, I mean the pieces that make your heart sing), they will remind you of the good times you shared.
Finally, if you find this process difficult to go alone, I really believe that hiring a professional organizer can be a good idea.