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Being Proactive When Decluttering Your Late Parents’ Home

At some point in our lives, we all experience death. Losing a parent is a devastating certainty for many, and while everyone deals with that in their own unique way, it is common that grief and clutter frequently go hand in hand. 

There are always personal belongings to consider, and what if you’re the one in charge of figuring out what to do with it all?

Here are some things to remember as you go through the painful process, which will hopefully enable you to be proactive when decluttering your late parents’ home. 

Try Not to Hoard

Don’t let the stuff you keep overtake your space. It is not uncommon for adults to over-fill their own homes with Mom’s stuff after she sadly passed on, and this can quite easily become a hoarding issue quickly. 

Grief might affect how you would usually clear out your belongings, and you may find it difficult to let go of some things. This doesn’t mean that you should dedicate your own home as homage to your deceased parent. Storing stacks of old books, records, or clothing isn’t an appropriate memorial, so store what you have reasonably within the constraints of your limited space. 

Consider a self storage facility and give yourself some more time to grieve and process your emotions before you have to make decisions.

Be Decisive If You Can

Almost every item within your parent’s home is sure to bring you memories, but concentrate on the things that offer you joy and be willing to let go of the rest.

Ask yourself a set of 3 simple questions:

  • Do I like it?
  • Will I enjoy using it or looking at it?
  • How would I feel if someone else could appreciate it more than me?

If you truly believe that you would be happier knowing that someone else in the world would appreciate something more than you, it’s not something you need to keep. 

Do it Guilt-Free

We usually become engrossed in getting rid of nothing due to a strong sense of obligation. Just because your Dad loved his mug collection and it brought him joy, it doesn’t mean you’re obliged to share his happiness.

Likewise, if your children don’t want the armchair your Mom used to sit in and read stories to them, don’t be offended and accept their answer.

It’s important not to feel guilty about your decisions and remember; your parents wouldn’t want you to have something if you really didn’t want it.

Ask Questions

Not everyone will be forthcoming about what they would like from their parents’ belongings. 

It may be too soon for your children to face or think about, your brother may be wary of coming across as greedy, and your niece might be concerned about hurting your feelings, given that you’re the one rifling through decades of memories so soon after death. 

Taking pictures and sharing them over text or email with a direct question will aid you in getting the answers you need while sorting everything out. The additional pleasure is that you might hear some wonderful stories about an item that you can later treasure.

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