Frazer Blog

Death Cleaning: Tips for Tidying and Decluttering Your Home

by | Jan 23, 2019 | For Families

A couple organizing their house

It’s sad to say but one day we are all going to die, which means we are all going to leave our things behind. This includes clothing, old receipts, sentimental belongings, photographs — the list goes on.

While your loved one is mourning your death, they are going to have a lot on their mind. Sorting through your piles of belongings should be the least of their concerns. That’s why “death cleaning” is becoming an emerging trend.

Basically, death cleaning can be defined as “the process of cleaning house before you die, rather than leaving it up to your loved ones to do after you’re gone.” It’s a time for you to decide what is truly necessary to keep and what is just taking up space.

We’re sharing some tips to help you get started on this process!

This is the first part of a two-part blog about death cleaning. Check out part two here.

Take a Deep Breath

Tidying expert Marie Kondo suggests that when organizing and going through belongings becomes too overwhelming, it’s important to step back and take a deep breath. This whole death cleaning thing may seem overwhelming but imagine if your loved ones had to do it while they’re grieving. Not that this should be done out of guilt, rather, it should be the perfect excuse to get your home in order.

Start Small

You’re not going to get this all done in one day unless you’re already a minimalist. Choose one area to focus on each organizing session. For instance, Marie Kondo suggests that you start with your clothing. Go through each item and decide if you’re actually going to wear it again. Your children will appreciate not having to sift through a stack of old sweaters!

Get Your Valuables and Documents in Order

If you have items you plan to pass onto family members, make sure they’re noted. Write down where the item is and who it will go to. This is also something to keep in mind when writing your will. This takes a great burden off of your loved ones. No one has to decide who gets your precious jewelry or fine china. They can just focus on being there for each other.

Even better, if you’re no longer using these items, give them to your loved ones before you pass. Then, you get to see them being enjoyed!

Also, another way to really help your family out is to have your important documents properly filed. Make sure it is easy for your family to locate your account information, contacts, and important paperwork.

Let Go

You don’t need to keep every single birthday card you’ve ever received. When going through items like these ask yourself: Will I really ever take the time to look at these? It’s likely that the only time you will is when you’re deciding if you should get rid of it — that means it’s time to toss it. Only keep things that truly mean a lot to you.

Slim Down

Is your pajama drawer overflowing? Do you have more dishtowels than any person would ever need? It’s time to donate these items you have multiples of to people who will actually use them. Less stuff means less clutter and less stress for everyone involved.

Have you tried death cleaning? Share your experience by commenting below!

1 Comment

  1. Zoe Campos

    Thank you for telling me to focus on one area before I start cleaning the house of my grandmother’s belongings. She hasn’t died yet, but the doctor told us that it is only going to be a matter of time before she passes on. I was tasked to clean her room and look for any photo of her that we could hand over to the funeral services to be featured during her burial.


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