One of the more difficult tasks when a loved one dies is cleaning out their closet. Here is a list of ideas that helped me make it through this task on more than one occasion. 

– Use old suitcases if you have any that you can be rid off and/or labeled boxes. Make four piles to start; Give Away, Donate, Keep, Discard. Start with a section of items hanging up or where you feel better about starting. 

– Specialty goods like golf wear is pricy and a friend who plays might be happy to have the extra options. Mark clothing to be given away with the recipients name and bag separately. 

– Donations can go directly into the suitcase and then straight to the thrift store. Ensure garments have been laundered and are folded neatly.

This is a picture of a closet.

– Keep Items to Keep to a minimum but be gentle. I kept quite a few items of my Mom’s and realized they weren’t for me later on when I was ready to part with them.

– Discard items that have stains or bad rips as well as used intimate garments. 

– Once you finish a section of the closet or a drawer take a break. You’ve earned time to process and relax.

– Other sections to be dealt with are sweaters, summer gear, winter coats and boots, shoes, socks, underwater, sleepwear, t-shirts, scarves, purses and accessories, and decorative jewelry. You can also tackle cosmetics and other toiletries if you’re on a roll.

– When it comes to more delicate and sensitive pieces like graduation or wedding dresses take your time. Hang on to them as long as need be. One day you’ll be struck by what to do with them or perhaps you’ll find the perfect person to pass them down to.

– Let yourself get a little crazy as you sort. A friend of mine said it helped her to point out the items she didn’t like and give them a good scrunch and chuck and carefully fold the items she was attached to. I found having some music to sing along to quietly helped. I also found having help and company helped (not too much help though. One – three total at most. The object is to keep it simple and avoid the gong show potential). I don’t think my Dad or I could have done it alone.

– Most important to remember is to do what you can as you can. This is no easy task for anyone so give yourself a break. Just make sure you keep trucking away at it, don’t allow a break to bring all production to a screeching halt.

K

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