Hospice and organizing: Sorting Clothes. My personal experience

Preparing for death of a loved one is difficult, but for me, starting the process prior to dad’s death was key to staying empowered over my emotions of grief and being able to do the things I needed to do as his surviving daughter, trustee and executor. My advice? Start early, give yourself permission and get help. Everybody’s experience and family dynamics are different so use and share as appropriate for your situation.

Clothes: Dad had clothes he was never going to wear again: out of style, grungy, ill fitting, belts, dress shirts, underwear, heavy coats, clothes not appropriate for the season, shoes (he only wore slippers even to the doctor) etc. I worked with his trusted and longtime house keeper to keep my energy and emotions up. I chose some practical and emotional touchstone clothing items to keep for the family and put them lovingly in the drawers. I had his housekeeper check all pockets in the other clothes and bag everything for charity. I also had her take the items in her car and provide me the charity receipts for my files. Note: The clothing items we worked with were not located in the room dad was sleeping in so it was not disruptive.

Because this was done when dad was still alive and I used assistance, my emotions were in the right place to do the work: Dad simply did not need these items anymore and they needed to go to people who could use them now.

On reflection, this was one of the best emotionally freeing gifts I gave myself and family. You may wish to chat with family members about how they feel about preparing for the death of your loved one. If your loved one has already passed, consider bringing in trusted or hired assistance to lessen your emotional turmoil of this task. Also, it you do not have a trusted, non-emotional assistant, connect with me, I’m here to support. What is your experience?