We all accumulate a lifetime of possessions, some may be valuable assets, some may be of little value, but have significant emotional attachment and a lot of things, ranging from clothes, bric-a-brac and associated paraphernalia will just be there, because most of us never get round to that significant clear out that we always plan to do “one day”.
Significant assets will (usually) be covered and will however, it’s the other things that can cause the dilemmas. If clearing and discarding your own possessions is difficult for you, think how it would be for a grieving partner who doesn’t know what exactly was important and whether that special “thing” should be given to a friend or charity and what (if any) of the rest is just junk.
Initially, those grieving may not feel ready to sort out possessions and the default setting can be just to keep everything. Eventually, they may need to clear a room or an entire house and be left with difficult questions. Why on earth did he or she keep this? Was it important? Should I give all his or her clothes to charity or would he or she prefer that friends keep those mementos , clothes, tools, sports equipment, or whatever.
Over recent years having that dramatic clear out has become more popular. The art of Japanese style de-cluttering has given rise to several books and one author given her name to “Kondo” style clear outs. The mantra, (“if it doesn’t bring you joy, throw it away” leads to some radical if still difficult decisions.
Once again, if those decisions are difficult for you, just think how difficult they could be for a grieving partner. It’s important to talk to your partner about this. What, if anything is important to keep, which photos memos, trinkets should be kept. What exactly should go to friends and family, should everything go to charity or just some things.
Even the clear instruction, “I’m not bothered about my things, do what you like with them”, gives clarity and from your widows/survivors perspective, clarity is much appreciated.