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Sorting through loved one's belongings

Discussion in 'Death' started by Ice_Fire, Jun 3, 2018.

  1. Ice_Fire

    Ice_Fire Keep your head up, Keep your heart strong Premium Member Donated

    As some of you may know, I lost my Nan about 6 months ago (christ!) and we had to clear her flat. My Dad was fairly ruthless, me less so. I kept a case of things and I'm now going through it. Thing is, there's stuff that I don't want but don't know what to do with either and it's not the stuff you'd expect. It's photographs of me from when I was little. From the time when I was being abused. Not only is that triggering as hell, I don't want to keep them. But I don't know the best way to dispose of them either, or whether I'd later regret getting rid of them. I probably wouldn't but I, I dunno, it feels weird throwing my younger self away? Does that sound stupid?

    The other problem is I literally don't have space for the more sentimental things of hers, stuff that I couldn't bring myself to get rid of at the time but know is pointless keeping now. Like her dressing gown for instance. I've kept it all in a suitcase but said suitcase is hanging about in the living room and frankly, it's in the way. It's just so difficult to know what to do with it all.

    If you've lost someone you're really close to, what did you keep? Did you hoard stuff or get rid of it? If you've kept it, do you actually look at it or is the comfort simply in the fact you know it's there? I really don't know how to feel about it. Naturally I'm very much a de-clutterer and don't like having lots of stuff that's not useful hanging about but even though it's stuff that's been left to me, I don't feel like it's mine. It's hers and I feel like I've no right to get rid...
    shimmerz, digger and Sietz like this.
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  3. Sietz

    Sietz I'm a VIP

    I saved some stuff, mostly emotional stuff. The rest I gave away. I'm very minimal in my stuff so the less stuff the better.
    It really depends on you.

    I'm sorry about your grandma!
    Slushie and Ice_Fire like this.
  4. digger

    digger I'll just have a P please, Bob Moderator Donated

    I'm in the middle of a big declutter at the moment and part of that has had me sorting through a box of bits and pieces from my Gran. I didn't have the same depth of relationship with her as you had with your Nan, but it was on one the more positive relationships.

    I found it interesting going through her things, or the things I've kept which remind me of her. (Especially as it's alongside sorting through things from other people and my younger selfs that are taking me to less positive places).

    I think I did need to keep a box of her things for a while (I've rarely actually looked in it to be honest) but I realised opening it up this week that I was fine now with letting most of it go (donated to charity shop). I've kept a couple of small more personal things (a couple of little pictures that I made for her that she kept and a lap blanket I made for her in her last few months - I'm not actually planning on keeping the blanket permanently, but extending and then donating to a refugee charity). The rest of it I didn't feel I needed any more, and that for me said it was a good time to let it go.

    I'd say listen to your self, if you're not feeling ready yet then keep it a bit longer and go back to it later.
    Could you maybe cut a square from it to keep. Or if you have other clothing too, make a small patchwork square, just with pieces of it - there are also people that will do this for you if sewing isn't your thing ;)
    Slushie, Ice_Fire and jaccat like this.
  5. Slushie

    Slushie Active Member

    I'm sorry for your loss. Its not stupid at all.. I have photos of myself from times I was abused too, but I scanned them in and saved them to a USB and they're in a separate folder from other photos. I hardly ever look at them. I disposed of the actual prints and negatives.

    My only advice (as someone who also detests clutter) would be to sort things into piles of: give to charity / throw out / keep / sell (I know, that's a tough one). In the end I only kept a bible, a ring, some cards and letters my relative had given me. I rarely look at them but it's nice having them, if that makes sense. I find the bible is particularly nice to have even though I'm not religious. I guess it makes me feel most close to her as she would read it every night and was important to her.
    Ice_Fire, digger and jaccat like this.
  6. jaccat

    jaccat I'm a VIP Donated

    I disposed of nearly all of my dad's everyday stuff, almost immediately, such as clothes and possessions. Possibly I was a bit too ruthless, giving away things that were almost iconic to him, but I don't regret what I did. I still have enough of his things to remember him by, in his gifts to me, his letters and his artwork.

    I've a box where I keep more complicated family stuff that I don't want to throw away but don't want to have to face every day. Even after all this time I'm still on the fence about what to do with most of it, but I figure one day I'll know. Until then I'm fine with keeping it where it is.

    I like the idea of scanning the photos onto a USB.
    Slushie, Ice_Fire and digger like this.
  7. Ice_Fire

    Ice_Fire Keep your head up, Keep your heart strong Premium Member Donated

    Thanks guys, it's helpful to see how others have approached the same situation. Part of me does feel ready to let go of some of it because there's still loads of stuff that I've kept because I genuinely like it. Ornaments and wall pictures that kind of thing.

    Out of her clothing I've kept her favourite fleece that she literally wore all the time. Nat actually commented on it at the funeral, that she always wore this one fleece! She loved fleeces, before the current one she had one ver similar and then, even when I was little I remember this very specific yellowy/caramel coloured fleece that she always wore but that's long gone. Other than that I've kept a t-shirt that we got on the Caribbean cruise. Today I got rid of the dressing gown (well, put it in a bin bag to be got rid of anyway) and the slippers she wore. The slippers were a bit manky to be honest, she had been wearing them when she died, took them to hospital with her. I've put the handbags I don't want in a bag to take to a charity shop.

    As for other stuff, there's loads of photos of her, the really old ones Dad and uncle M have kept most of, but the more recent ones and a few of the old ones I've kept. They're in little like DVD boxes but they are the boxes they came in. I've also got a blue blanket that has been in the household since forever and there's the patchwork blanket she made for me when I left home. There's also all her jewellery, which I've just not been able to touch yet. I would like to sell it really, most of it is real gold and too old-fashioned for me to want to wear. I'm a bit torn about her rings though. She divorced, had the rings in a plastic bag with a sale price on them when we went through her stuff but either changed her mind or didn't get round to actually selling them, I don't know. Yet in a way I'm struggling with how I feel about them, her engagement ring especially because the original one broke so she had it remade using some material from the first one and some from her mother's ring, so it became it's own thing if that makes sense? I know, I don't need to do anything about them yet, I just...I feel like I need to make a decision about it and just get it done. Like letting go would be healing in itself.

    Really like this idea!

    Also really like this idea!
    Slushie and digger like this.
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