Your spouse recently died. Well, it’s actually been over a year.

You look around your house and it’s as if they were still alive. You haven’t gotten rid of clothing, personal grooming items, things relating to their hobbies, or anything that was once theirs.

Your adult kids and other family members keep nudging you to clean stuff out.

You know you need to let go and move on but how do you begin?

If you’re not needing to relocate and plan to stay in your current home, it’s hard to motivate yourself to sift through these items. It stirs up a lot of memories and emotions.

One thing to keep in mind is your relationship was with your spouse, not with all their stuff. Getting rid of stuff will not mean you’re getting rid of that relationship. You still have your memories.

Once you’ve reframed the way you think about it, find a family member or friend to help you begin. Use these three simple steps as you sift through personal belongings.

1- Identify an area – whether it’s a closet or room (start small then gradually tackle larger areas).

2- Ask your family member or friend to video you talking about each item or take a picture with each item. In this way, you’ll remember the item.

3- Then decide if you will throw away or donate the item.

It’s three simple steps but expends a lot of emotional energy and time. If you’re not in a rush to move, then block off time every day or week to tackle a small area. Ask different family members or friends to help you each day so you’re not relying on one person’s time.

As time goes on, you’ll find yourself more willing to let go of their stuff. You’ll also start thinking of ways to reuse the space – giving you a new perspective on how to move forward after your spouse’s death.

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Niv Persaud, CFP®, CDFA™, RICP®, CRPC®, is the Founder of Transition Planning & Guidance, LLC. Life is more than money. It’s about living the lifestyle you want and can afford. For that reason, Niv consults with clients on money, life, and work. Her approach capitalizes on techniques she learned throughout her career, including as a management consultant, executive recruiter, and financial advisor. Her services include developing spending plans, comprehensive financial plans, divorce financial reviews, retirement plans. Niv actively gives back to her community through her volunteer efforts. She believes in living life to the fullest by cherishing friendships, enjoying the beauty of nature and laughing often — even at herself. Her favorite quote is by Erma Bombeck, “When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left and could say ‘I used everything you gave me.’”