More important than getting started at a prescribed "right time" is being in tune with yourself and how you're doing. This is a sentimental category and an emotional category. Even seemingly unimportant items like a toothbrush or handkerchief can be tough to get rid of. It's hard losing one's spouse. And our minds can make us anxious, thinking that keeping their physical items is the only way to remember the person. It's important to give yourself so much grace during the process. It may take a while and that's ok.
When you do feel ready, set yourself up for success. Get a good night's rest, drink plenty of water, eat a healthy meal. Make sure that you are in a good place mentally and physically as you begin the process. Enlisting the help of a friend, family member, or professional can also help give you the support and encouragement that you need. Start with a category that you feel will be easier for you; use that success to help motivate you to continue.
Some notes of caution. As you go through the grief process, it is important to find a balance between honoring and cherishing memories of your loved one and continuing to live your life. Leaving your home unchanged forever after your loved one has passed away can become a negative thing. It's important to continue to live and have your home change with you over time. It is natural for our homes to change over time as we move through different seasons of life, receive gifts, donate old items, and take up new hobbies. Our homes and physical items are meant to support us in our lives and bring us joy.
It is also important to move through this process within the context of community. We need the encouragement, support, and wisdom of others. Sometimes others are able to give us an outside perspective and gently help us along on our journey when we get stuck. At the same time, always be wise and thoughtful about what advice to take; while advice is usually well-meaning, it may not always be the right choice for you. Taking the advice to prayer is a good way to discern when it is right to follow through.
If you are currently going through or thinking about going through your spouse's or a loved ones belongings, my heart goes out to you. Know that you are not alone. And continue to give yourself grace along the journey. I pray that God's peace would surround and comfort you during this time.
It was such a pleasure working with Emily to put together the podcast. We had a lot of fun! We hope that you will enjoy it too.
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My name is Laura, and I love all things organizing!