How to Declutter After Personal Loss: 5 Tips

cluttered family atticDecluttering a home in the best of times is an arduous task. If you are decluttering after a traumatic loss, then it’s overwhelming and not something to do alone. Shock and grief can be debilitating. Loss comes in many forms and affects everyone differently. Some examples are divorce, the death of a loved one, illness, an empty nest, and changes in one’s financial situation. If you have suffered a loss and are also faced with decluttering a home, read on for some guidance.

1) Choose Objective Lead Person

Sorting through someone’s lifelong possessions in an emotionally charged time often requires a neutral third party to intervene to at least get things started. A clear plan will help keep you focused. Ask a trusted friend to help, or call a Professional Organizer with experience assisting people to pare down after a personal loss. An outsider will not only help with the placement and distribution of items but will give you perspective. Find someone who will ask questions and remain neutral so you will make progress towards the goal of decluttering.

2) Address Key Questions at Outset

As soon as possible, get a clear picture of looming deadlines (e.g., by what day must a home be vacated), who is going to sort through every single item, and who will receive what.

3) Be Prepared for Tears

Going through your loved one’s possessions is going to be an emotional time. It is normal to be flooded with memories. You may be overcome with sadness and tears at any moment but also laughter five minutes later. It’s also normal to feel you are making headway one day only to being overwhelmed the next day, unable to proceed.

4) Beware of Potential for Family Conflicts

Sometimes family members grieve differently from one another, or they don’t agree on how to distribute belongings. This is where a neutral third party can be helpful. What will be donated? What will be distributed within the family? Does it make sense to sell anything and whom do you call?

5) Use an Appropriate Timeline

Have your lead person in charge of the decluttering plan map out a calendar and to do list. Maximize the time allotted to the decluttering process. Within your deadlines, strive to carve out enough time to make the best decisions.

Whether your loss was anticipated or sudden, decluttering when distressed may be a non-starter. Call or contact Potomac Concierge today and our Professional Organizers will be your lifesaver. We will get you started, provide decluttering guidance, and recommend charities for donations and ways to sell more valuable items. We will be a resource for some of the steps, or we’ll handle everything from start to finish.

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