5 Tips to Deal With Sentimental Belongings of a Loved One


The loss of a loved one is the single most devastating experience anyone can have; checking through their personal effects comes in second.

This can be emotionally taxing because you will be going through the deceased person's belongings and likely associating many of them with fond memories.

Though trying, it is possible to get through it by mentally preparing yourself, seeking out grief support, and being gentle with yourself.

These are some helpful tips to help you deal with sentimental belongings of a loved one.

There's no need to jump into anything; take your time and figure out if and when you're ready to make a change.

Moving too quickly could leave you feeling overwhelmed and ill-prepared.

Always remember that things are simply things.

It's inevitable that some things will have to go.

Consider selling or donating items.

Donating their belongings may be an option if getting rid of them is proving difficult.

Below are more details on how to deal with sentimental belongings of a loved one.

Abigail Corless, LPCC

"He who has a why to live for can bear almost any how"- Friedrich Nietzsche

Susan Taylor, LPCC

I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel. - MA

Vanessa Curran, LPCC

"We can do hard things." -Glennon Doyle

Seth Boughton, SWC

There is always light. If only we are brave enough to see it. If only we are brave enough to be it.

Don't Rush Into Anything; Instead, Recognize When You're Ready to Make a Change

Wait until you're ready, but recognize when that time comes.

This is not something that can ever be done at a convenient time.

However, one cannot deny the existence of a certain inevitable.

While we agree there is no ideal time to tackle this task, it can eventually become more challenging the longer you put it off.

Put in the time and see if you can honestly answer the question, "Do I have the strength to do this?"

How will my health and happiness be affected by waiting?

Eventually, when the time comes to deal with sentimental belongings of a loved one, you will feel ready to take the leap.

Always Keep In Mind That Things Are Just Things

Always keep in mind that things are just things.

If you give in to the temptation to assign significance and worth to each of your possessions, you run the risk of becoming overly preoccupied with the material world.

Therefore, give yourself some time and remind yourself that the content is nothing more than that.

When you realize this, it will be easier for you to get rid of things that aren't particularly special and that you don't have to keep.

Another option is to think about making everything more accessible by curating a collection.

Keep special paper mementos in a binder or book for easy and enjoyable access whenever you want to reminisce.

If you save piles of papers or numerous pounds of clothing, you'll soon find that you can't manage the collection.

The goal is to create an atmosphere that is warm and inviting without going overboard with sentimental objects that can help bring back fond memories.

It's possible to limit yourself to just one box of keepsakes.

You can take your time browsing the selections without feeling overwhelmed by the quantity.

Take Pictures

One tip that can help you deal with sentimental belongings of a loved one is taking photographs of these items.

The ability of photographs to preserve memories is one of their most remarkable qualities.

Photographs have the ability to preserve both new and old memories, which means they can be passed down from one generation to another.

Taking pictures of the things that spark happy memories is a useful way to keep those memories close at hand.

This also offers the benefit of minimizing the amount of space that is required for their storage.

See to it that the photographs are either filed away in a folder or printed out and arranged in a compact photo album.

Grief & Loss Therapists in Colorado

Mackenzie Batson, LPCC

Mackenzie Batson, LPCC

Aurora, Colorado
(719) 345-2424
Heather Comensky, LPC

Heather Comensky, LPC

Aurora, Colorado
(720) 449-4121
Randal Thomas, SWC

Randal Thomas, SWC

Colorado Springs, Colorado
(719) 602-1342
Kelsey Maestas, LPCC

Kelsey Maestas, LPCC

Pueblo, Colorado
(719) 696-3439
Winnie Siwa, LPCC

Winnie Siwa, LPCC

(719) 345-2424
Sierra Brown, SWC

Sierra Brown, SWC

(719) 345-2424
Bethany Cantrell, LPC

Bethany Cantrell, LPC

Colorado Springs, Colorado
(719) 602-1342
Carrie Nelson, MS, LPCC

Carrie Nelson, MS, LPCC

(719) 345-2424
Sarah Munk, LPC

Sarah Munk, LPC

(719) 345-2424
Olivia Woodring, LPCC, NCC

Olivia Woodring, LPCC, NCC

(719) 345-2424

Get Support From Friends and Family

Do not take on the burden of going through a loved one's belongings on your own after their death.

The great thing about family and friends is that you can always rely on them.

After someone's passing, it's not always easy to figure out how to declutter their home.

It is perfectly normal to experience feelings such as sadness and grief, as well as a wide range of other feelings at various points throughout the process.

Don't make the mistake of thinking you can handle everything by yourself.

Talk about how you're feeling, and don't be afraid to ask for assistance when you need it.

As you work through the process of letting go of their belongings, try your best to exercise patience and kindness toward yourself.

Consider Selling and Donating Things

Letting go of things can be hard, even when we sell or donate them, especially things of sentimental value.

The worry that you'll need something you've sold or donated down the road is common.

But regrets are unproductive emotions, so guard yourself firmly against them.

Admit that you will experience moments of regret for letting go, but remind yourself that you will be fine without it.

It's possible to have too much stuff to sell or donate.

It can be challenging to figure out the most appropriate recipient for a large number of donations.

Also, it can be challenging to understand the best approach for selling a product.

You can find a plethora of information online that will help you through the process of making a donation of any kind.

If you would rather sell them, consider organizing a yard sale. 


Distancing emotionally from a deceased person's possessions can be difficult during a period of intense grief.

Some tips to help you deal with sentimental belongings of a loved one are; don't rush into anything; instead, recognize when you're ready to make a change, always keep in mind that things are just things, take pictures, take baby steps, and consider selling and donating things.


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July 14th, 2024

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