There is no such thing as dealing with an easy death. Even when you feel that you have not wasted your time and that the memories you share are enough, confronting their items can bring up that old sadness again. Some parts have strict deadlines: the funeral, following the will, and other loose-ends like their house lease can’t be moved to a time when you are ready. If you might struggle to accomplish these tasks bring along a friend for support. 

For items like clothes, books, tools, furniture, and cars, you can tackle these items according to your own pace. Here are steps to sorting out your loved one’s things when they have moved on: 

Understand that their memory is not limited to their physical items. 

The first thing you need to do is mentally prepare yourself. Even when you feel like you are ready, you need to reassure yourself that no one will fault you for not keeping everything. Be assured that the legacy the deceased has left behind does not have to be material. Shared photographs, memories, and other sentimental items are enough. 

Sort out sentimental keepsakes from utilitarian items.

First, identify what you want to keep. There might be sentimental items like their favourite book or artwork that you could save. If you find too many memories attached to everything, give yourself a limit before sorting. You can take photographs of items you wanted to keep but couldn’t if you find it too painful. 

Donate or sell items like clothes and books.

For their everyday items like clothes, books, and kitchen utensils you can donate or sell them. They have served your loved ones well but can do more now in some else’s home. You can set up a garage sale for people in the neighbourhood or drop them off at thrift stores for people who need them. 

If you want those items to contribute to their legacy, you can donate the belongings or the money received from the sale of objects to a charity organisation. Make it a point to select advocacy that mirrors what your loved one believed in. For example, if they died from lung cancer, the donation can be used to help those who are struggling with the illness. 

Look for second-hand stores or junkyards for larger pieces like furniture and cars. 

Larger pieces like furniture and cars are hard to keep because of limited space. You may want to let these items move on first because of storage fees and the like. If the car is dated and broken, you can go to to sell it. You may opt to donate the money as you did with the clothes and books. For furniture items, consider giving to organisations that help people who suffer from a natural disaster or to incoming refugees who are rebuilding their homes. You can also try to sell them at consignment stores or yard sales if you think people are interested.

Pace yourself. You can take an hour every day or a couple of weekends in a month to go over everything. When in doubt, ask for help. An outside opinion can provide you with another perspective about how your loved one would have wanted to deal with these items.