What should we do with Mom’s stuff?

When a parent dies, it can be overwhelming for the family. In addition to experiencing the grief that comes with a loved one’s passing, people who have lost a parent often feel intimidated by how much there is to do! In addition to dealing with legalities and paperwork, adult children may suddenly find themselves cleaning out the belongings of a lifetime. While many of the things that belonged to their parents may have actual or sentimental value, the sheer volume of it can seem like too much for people already mourning a loss.  

If you can talk to your parents ahead of time, you may be able to help them make some plans that will make it easier at their passing. While it’s not always easy to bring up end of life topics, it’s important to address them. You need to know your parents’ wishes about their final arrangements, and they need to find ways to organize to enable you to handle their affairs when the time comes.  

One concept that’s rising in popularity right now is Swedish Death Cleaning, or döstädning. It might sound grim, but it’s actually a very practical, sensible way to approach the end of life. Simply stated, it encourages older people to go through their things, decluttering, organizing, and giving things away. Starting with things that are used the least, adherents of the döstädning method sell what they can, give special things as gifts to loved ones, and donate other things. In this way, they simplify their own lives while relieving their children from the burden of their things.  

It’s not just the work of going through things that’s a problem. There is also the financial aspect to consider. Hiring someone to help downsize an estate can be pricey. Then, too, there’s the organization factor. In addition to going through things when a parent is sick, debilitated, or has died, there are many items of business to handle. Rather than trying to manage all of this at the end, it’s better to be proactive. Collect paperwork and create a list to help your parents manage business matters, making sure you know where all of the important documents and phone numbers are located.  

When you’re talking to your parents about downsizing and organizing, it might be a good time to talk about preplanning for the funeral. People who preplan are able to let their loved ones know exactly how they want their final arrangements handled, and have more control over things like music, reading, and other specifics. Additionally, just as organizing a house can relieve adult children of the burden of sorting through all those things, preplanning a funeral can save them from painful questions during an already difficult time  

At Skylawn Funeral Home and Memorial Park, we understand that losing a loved one is difficult, and that’s why we’re committed to treating our clients like family. Our experienced professionals can help you preplan for a service that truly honors the life that was lived. For a free preplanning guide, call (650) 227-3142.

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