Dealing with possessions after death of loved one

Marie5656

I'm awake. Best I can hope for.
Joined
Oct 17, 2016
Location
Rochester, NY
I have been giving this a lot of thought, since Jim posted his thread about his wife's belongings. I do not want to further hijack his thread with my musings, so I will start another.
I mentioned there that when my uncle died in 1980 (he was 84) it had been about 10 years since my aunt had died. He still had all her clothes in the closets, personal items in the bathroom and the like. Her purse will still sitting on the chair where she left it, and her wallet (with cash inside) was on the dresser. Even the calendar from the year she died was still on the wall, open to the month she died, He was my dad's brother. A couple of months latter my mom passed from cancer. The week after her funeral my dad called us in and said "We are going to start packing up her things. Now" So take anything you want to keep. By the end of the month all of her clothes were gone. I think a lot had to do was he was the one having to clear my uncle's house (my dad was 15+years younger than his brother).
When Rick died, I spent the first week or so starting to get my head around what I planned to do with his things. Over the next few weeks I did pack up a lot and haul it out. Including some, but not all of his clothes. I just recently gave my cousin (also a big guy like Rick) his winter coat and a couple sweaters. To be honest, I do want to pack up his stuff, but with the work I am doing outside, and the fact the weather is nice, I can see me waiting until winter to do the bulk of the rest.
How about you? I do feel now that we cannot put a timeline on this kind of thing. We will know when it is the right time. And since I am not selling the house, or moving out, I have no timeline in that respect.
When a friend's mom died, they started almost right away packing things up, and sorting, as they needed to get the house ready for sale. And there was work to be done on the house before they could sell. But they had it cleared in about 2 months of steady work. I spent many a week end helping.
 

C'est Moi

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 31, 2017
Location
Houston Y'all
I agree that we can't put a timeline on such things. Some people need to hold on to worldly reminders and some would prefer to move things out ASAP. Each has to deal with it in their own way and time.
 

Uptosnuff

Active member
Joined
Nov 5, 2017
Location
Omaha
I think ideally there wouldn't be a timeline on this but like you said about your friend's mom, sometimes as when a house has to be sold, you dont' get a choice. I know if something happened to my spouse, there would be a timeline to go through his things. I live on an acreage and there's no way I could manage this place on my own. I would definitely have to sell pretty quickly.
 

jujube

Well-known member
My late husband loved his fishing-themed tshirts and ties. There were more than a 100 hanging in the closet. I hung onto his clothes for probably a year and then gave them away to charity shops. Shortly afterward, I had a vivid dream in which he appeared at the door, came in and was pretty pissed off that all his clothes were gone. It took days to stop being bothered by that dream.
 

Aunt Bea

Well-known member
Joined
Aug 29, 2016
Location
Near Mount Pilot
When it comes to tasks like this I slowly sift and sort until it becomes too painful then I take a break for a few hours or days.

For me, it is always a balancing act to dispose of everyday items while keeping a few treasured mementos.

Tasks like this also stiffen my resolve to sift and sort through my own possessions.
 

HazyDavey

Do not place near heat or open flame.
Joined
Jun 9, 2016
Location
Northern California
When my son passed away we had to go in and clear everything out of the house he was renting. A lot of his belongings and medical supplies (wheel chair, hospital bed..) went to good will organizations like the Salvation Army. Our Daughter has some of his things at her house now, and we do also. Simple things like his old doormat, which I look at every time I go into our house. His old crayon drawings are still on the hallway closet and there's some other small reminders of him sprinkled throughout our house. We had some wonderful people help us get through it all. But it was still a very hard thing to do at the time.
 

Knight

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 2, 2016
I fully expect to die before my wife does. Because of that I've put together a list of what to do. Items that have sentimental value to my wife will be set aside. Everything else my sons will pack up and donate to charity. It wasn't easy sitting down as a family to discuss the what if's of what is definitely going to happen. What if's include both of us going at the same time or my wife going 1st. Our sons have copies of our wills, copies of all our assets so they know what to expect. Nice to have peace of mind knowing there will be a smooth transition once the inevitable does happen.
 

SeaBreeze

Endlessly Groovin'
Joined
Mar 19, 2012
Location
USA
I never had to do it for a spouse or child, and my condolences to all here who have lost such a dear loved one. When my husband's parents passed, living in our home, I sorted the clothes into throw away or donate, then filled bags and boxes and donated them to charity. It was sad to have to do it, but not as much as I imagine if it was my husband or baby.

Of course in some cases, where seniors have limited physical ability to get out, load stuff into their cars and drive to a donation center, it has to be much more difficult. :(
 

Uptosnuff

Active member
Joined
Nov 5, 2017
Location
Omaha
I fully expect to die before my wife does. Because of that I've put together a list of what to do. Items that have sentimental value to my wife will be set aside. Everything else my sons will pack up and donate to charity. It wasn't easy sitting down as a family to discuss the what if's of what is definitely going to happen. What if's include both of us going at the same time or my wife going 1st. Our sons have copies of our wills, copies of all our assets so they know what to expect. Nice to have peace of mind knowing there will be a smooth transition once the inevitable does happen.
Very sensible of all of you. That can be a difficult conversation to have and to carry out.

With us, my husband, my daughter and I, we have sort of talked around it, but not really sat down and made plans. Since there is a very real possibility of my daughter passing before we do, we really need to bite the bullet and do it. The hard part is trying to plan for all the different eventualities we might face. Easier said than done . . . . .
 

Bonnie

Well-known member
Joined
Jun 10, 2013
Location
Texas
I guess we all react differently in that situation. I could not keep my husband's belongings around me after his death ... just didn't feel right ... and we had over 55 yrs. together, from high school.
Within two months everything was pretty much gone ... sold, donated or given away. Some things, like his garage/ shed and even his SUV took a while longer. Everything of personal value went to our son and daughters immediately.

Today .. I only have pictures, and my memories. I'm very content in that.
 

Ruth n Jersey

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 14, 2015
Location
Northern New Jersey
I packed up my Moms things about a week after the funeral. I had no problem with her clothing it wasn't sentimental to her or me. She was living in our home when she passed so all her belongings that meant something to her were already mingled in with my things. Thank goodness for that. I really would have had a problem dealing with that. Now when I look at her things I feel sadness but also comfort when I handle them. I don't think there is a time limit on getting rid of things but pause long enough over every item to make sure you won't be sorry down the line for getting rid of it.
 

Leann

Active member
Joined
Oct 15, 2018
This is timely for me as I am trying to get myself emotionally strong enough to go through the boxes and boxes of stuff I have in the basement that were my parents and one of my brothers. Much of their things were donated after they passed but then there were some things that I just couldn't part with at the time so I put them in boxes that are securely sealed. But it's long past the time when I should go through them and once again donate more things.
 

hypochondriac

Well-known member
Joined
Jun 27, 2019
Location
Australia
i might have to face this one day. i was overseas when both parents died. my older brother and sister in law shouldered all the responsibility of sorting through possessions. I am very grateful for this.
 

Marie5656

I'm awake. Best I can hope for.
Joined
Oct 17, 2016
Location
Rochester, NY
Original Poster
Was talking with a friend about Rick's tools. He and Rick have been friends for over 30 years. He has offered to be my go-to fix it guy if I need help around the house. He suggested keeping the bulk of the tools here, so he, or anyone I have help me will have a variety to choose some. He also said he would come out and let me know what tools I probably won't need and can donate.
 

Ken N Tx

Older than Dirt !
Joined
Nov 12, 2014
Location
Texas
Was talking with a friend about Rick's tools. He and Rick have been friends for over 30 years. He has offered to be my go-to fix it guy if I need help around the house. He suggested keeping the bulk of the tools here, so he, or anyone I have help me will have a variety to choose some. He also said he would come out and let me know what tools I probably won't need and can donate.
72233
 

Ronni

Well-known member
Joined
Aug 22, 2018
Location
Nashville TN
My Mum was already living with me when she passed away, and over the prior few years we pared down her belongings bit by bit so that by the time she died there just wasn't that much to deal with. I got to it pretty quickly and it was hard, but not gut wrenching. My Dad and my brother were both across the country when they passed away, my Dad with his wife after my Mum died, and my brother with his son and family, so I didn't have to deal with any of their stuff.

I've worked with clients whose parents have passed away, or one has and the other gone into senior living or assisted care after their spouse died, leaving behind huge homes jammed with possessions. What a nightmare! I won't ever do that to my children. I've pared down over the past few years, giving to my kids the stuff I want them to have or that they wanted, getting rid of so much stuff that none of the kids wanted, and mindful of not accumulating too many more possessions that are going to have to be dealt with when I pass. Not that I live sparsely because I surely don't! But I've learned to live with less, learned to need less, and with a few exceptions which my daughter knows about because we've had that conversation, what I have around me now is easily disposable with no sentimentality attached to it, so that there are a minimum of problems and issues left behind for them to deal with.
 

Ken N Tx

Older than Dirt !
Joined
Nov 12, 2014
Location
Texas
We moved my then 94 MIL from IL to Tx going on 5 years ago (she will be 99 in Nov)..Everything she wanted, we moved down here in a Uhaul (stuff she could not live without) and moved it into a 10X10 storage bin. She has not seen any of that stuff going on 5 years now!!

My wife said we are not going to touch her stuff...
 

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