Tidying up after a loss: How to tidy up and move on
Even if you’re not an avid Netflix fan, you may have recently heard of Marie Kondo. She is a “tidying expert” and declutters who developed a method of organizing known as the KonMari Method. Though she wrote a popular book called The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up years ago, she has gained recent popularity with her Netflix show Tidying Up with Marie Kondo.
In the episode called Sparking Joy After Loss, Marie helps a recently widowed woman named Margie. Margie has lost her husband nine months prior and still had all of her husband’s many belongings.
Through the KonMari Method, she was able to let go of many of her husband’s belongings, go through her own, rebuild her life, and of course, the results were magical.
Going through your deceased loved one’s possessions is never easy — especially if they hold special memories. However, in order to continue your own life, sometimes it’s necessary to let go of some of these items. More so if these items are pieces of jewelry and accessories.
It could be a friendship band or something your mom used to wear every day like an outdated pair of sunglasses or brooch. It somehow leaves an irreplaceable effect on us. One can only imagine the number of emotions attached to these gems.
We understand the value of these items and how difficult it is for us to let them go. Our emotions tell us to keep holding on them as a way of honoring our loved ones who have gone ahead.
We are highlighting some of Marie Kondo’s tips as well as some of our own to help you clean and organize your home after a loss of a loved one.
Start with your own belongings
Before Margie even began to touch her late husband’s clothing, it was important that she went through her own. She was to lay every article of clothing she owned on her bed and decide if each item “sparked joy” — made her feel happy. Getting this task out of the way would make it easier to go through her husband’s stuff.
I always recommend that clients wait to tidy up the belongings of a loved one until the end. The reason is that tidying up those items can be very difficult, so there is a high chance that it can stall the tidying up process.
– Marie Kondo Tidying up: Sparking joy after a loss
Sentimental items like pieces of jewelry and accessories are the most difficult category to tidy up. More so if it belongs to a loved one who has gone passed us. We often confuse ourselves whether to wear them or just simply set them aside. Just the mere thought of giving away or donating their belongings makes us cringe. Marie Kondo suggests that we wait until the end to tidy them up as it might stall the process because of the level of difficulty of letting them go
This is the best time to reflect
“By tidying up, you can sometimes ease the pain of the past or even start thinking about your future in a more positive way.”
- Marie Kondo Tidying up: Sparking joy after a loss
When the time finally comes that you are ready to get rid of their items, use it as a time to reflect on the future and past. Ask yourself: What is my ideal lifestyle? What do I want my home to look like?
Knowing how you want to go forward and what your ideal lifestyle is will help you sort things out and tidy up.
As you go through these pieces of jewelry and accessories, there may be some tears. Don’t worry. It is normal. Sentimental items are supposed to impact us this way but bear in mind that the good memories of your loved one don’t live in the items they have left behind. They live in your heart and mind.
Keep only what sparks joy
“Normally, when we work on sentimental items too quickly, we become stuck because our ability to determine what sparks joy has not been sufficiently honed yet.”
- Marie Kondo Tidying Up: Sparking joy after a loss
Just because it’s time to go through their stuff doesn’t mean you don’t deeply miss them. To make this process easier, keep a few of their items that mean the most to you. Margie kept a few shirts and cowboy boots her husband owned. These items represented who he was and how she remembered him.
Pieces of jewelry and accessories are totally different from clothing or books. They can be expensive sometimes, and they hold a lot of sentimental value. We know that it is difficult to just give them away or donate them as Marie Kondo suggests. We recommend that you keep them in a jewelry cabinet. Storing them in jewelry storage allows you to see them all the time. But the more we don’t see them, the more we forget that we have them. We recommend that you tidy them up in one spot where you can actually see them every day. Make sure to clean them first before storing them to avoid tarnish and making them last longer. We also recommend that you wear them for that vintage look. Group them by styles like yellow gold, silver, turquoise, and other precious gems together.
Also, keep only what sparks joy. Just because it is from your sister doesn’t mean you like all of those pieces.
Decide Where the Future Will Take You
“The question of what you want to own is actually the question of how you want to live your life.”
- Marie Kondo
As Margie cleaned and organized her home, she described it as a feeling of rebirth. She wanted to remember and honor her late husband, but at the same time seeing his overflowing drawers and clothes was a constant reminder of her loss.
Commit yourself to pack up those pieces of jewelry and accessories and learn to let go. Keep only what sparks joy and store them in a nice place like a jewelry cabinet where you can see them all at a glance. Bear in mind; you never wear what you don’t see.
We guarantee that your loved one would want you to continue to live your own life, unburdened by sentimental items of jewelry. This is finally the time for you to think about yourself, your wants, your needs, and the road that lies ahead.
Do you have any tips for letting go of a loved one’s belongings? Share them by commenting below!