When a loved one passes on, you might be faced with the duty of sorting out what they left behind. Whilst this process can be upsetting, it can unearth personal photographs, heirlooms and family treasures that will surprise you and leave you wondering what to do with them?

We all face those moments in life when we come to terms with a death in the family, an uncle or aunt, a mother or father. If you are next of kin or handling their will, it’s a very difficult time because as well as mourning the loss, you might need to manage their estate.

Checklist before The funeral

Practical considerations can feel like a burden when you are grieving so here’s an easy checklist for you to go through if you find yourself in this hard situation.

Register The Death

Get a medical certificate from your GP within 5 days. This is to register the death. If the death has been reported to a coroner, you cannot register the death until the coroner has given permission.

Decide Whether To Bury Or Cremate

When you register the death, you get a certificate for burial you can give to a funeral director, or an application for cremation. There will be local funeral directors and crematoriums that can help.

Inform Relevant Organisations

The government portal has a Tell Us Once service that means you can tell all the government’s services of the death, in one go. You also need to inform the utility companies and the banks they used.

Besides arranging the funeral and working out what to do with your loved one’s property, you might have little time to think about what you are going to do to manage all the things they have accumulated over a lifetime.

Storage For Safe Keeping

Storage rooms are helpful in these situations as they can provide temporary stopgaps for storing all those household belongings, big and small, whilst you take your time working out what you need to do with them. It’s doubly handy when you need to prepare a house for sale, as you can declutter, paint walls and renovate where necessary.

If your loved one was in a rented property or hospice then you won’t have the luxury of time to think and manage their left behind belongings, so a storage store is an easy solution. Such a huge and draining sorting process might not be easy in the immediate aftermath of a death. You just need to know that those items are safe, secure and accessible when you are ready to deal with them. Storage rooms can be hired by the week and that means you have time to breath.

‘Must Do’s’ In House Clearance

Plan a little. Make three piles and divide items into: Keep, Sell, Bin. You’ll need labelled boxes. Treat it a little like a house move but where you are really starting a fresh.

You can’t put everything in the Keep pile but if it’s got no sentimental value, think about its monetary value. Some things will be worth selling on and may even help to pay for the funeral arrangements.

If it is something that reminds you of your loved one or something that they dearly loved, then put it aside in the Keep pile. Medals, musical instruments, photographs, letters and jewellery are the kinds of things that can never be replaced and most people will want to keep them in the family. If you are not sure then keep it for now as once it’s gone, it’s gone.

It’s a good idea to get some support from someone who will be sensitive to your task, when you do a house clearance of a loved one. Whilst you should remember that a lot of the things in the house are just that, things, with storage solutions, you can always work out what you really want to keep in your own time, not under the pressure of the situation.

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Storing Family Heirlooms