Dealing With Your Loved One’s Things

When a loved one dies we are often left with complicated and overwhelming feelings. The person you loved is gone, yet all of their belongings remain. A part of you may say, “This is all just stuff, it isn’t really my loved one.” Yet it is the “stuff” that can help in our healing, our grief, and our movement forward. Here are some suggestions on how to repurpose some of their possessions:


Giving is a great way to heal. While it feels good to be on the receiving end, there’s a feeling of self-gratification when you are the one who is doing the giving. Close family members and friends who feel the impact of the loss may also find comfort in receiving something special. The gifts can strengthen the relationships between members of the family. It allows both the giver and the receiver to communicate feelings and further appreciate the item.

Home Décor:

Choose the most meaningful items – ones that you think of often and bring you the most joy.

Objects such as furniture, instruments, or artwork may trigger an emotional response. By placing these articles strategically in your own space you will be able to manage whichever feelings you bump into.

Memory books:

Memory books can be created to honor a loved one. You can use photographs, words or small items to honor a person’s memory. Memory books are usually positive celebrations of an individual and focus on capturing your loved one’s personality, adventures, and memories.

Memory Pillow/Quilt:

The idea of making throw pillows or quilts from a loved one’s favorite shirts, dresses, and coats can be very creative. You can transform the old plaid shirts and clothes into pillows and quilts that can bring you comfort.

Playlist of Favorite Songs:

Make a playlist of a loved one’s favorite songs and listen to it whenever you want to connect with them in your own way.


The task of going through a loved one’s belongings can be a daunting task. For some, tackling the possessions immediately after a death seems impossible; every item seems to elicit a memory. It may be helpful to keep in mind that the “stuff” may not have intrinsic value beyond the memory you associate with it. By donating the useable items (clothing, furniture, bedding, etc.) you will begin to sort out what has emotional significance. Consider donating to an organization near and dear to your loved one.

Donations can be made to organizations like Goodwill, Salvation Army, and Habitat for Humanity.


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