Learning to identify your big why can help you get organized. It gives you a powerful tool for managing your mind as your sort through your loved one’s belongings. Once you’ve got your big why firmly in place, you can do ALL of the hard things!
I know that after you lose your spouse, you have an entire life to sort though! I had my home, my home ranch, and another ranch that demanded my attention. I get it! I know the feeling of overwhelm, the feeling of “how will I ever be able to do this?” I remember looking at all of the farm equipment and not knowing what it was or how it was used, and yet needing to make a decision about it.
I was so afraid that if I got rid of the “stuff” I would erase my husband. What I didn’t understand was that the stuff was just a pathway to the memory of him, and that I would always have the memory regardless of what I did with his possession. I couldn’t erase him!Julie Martella
The most important step in organizing the legacy of your loved ones life is to find your big why. Look at your end result. Ask yourself these questions:
- Why are you doing this?
- How do you want to feel in your space when this is done?
- What do you want your space to look like?
- How can you honor your spouse in this process?
- Can you curate the very best of their possessions to use when you’re done?
- What is the story you want your possessions to tell?
- What would your loved one tell you if they were able to give you advice right now?
A little warning on the last one: your primitive brain may try and tell you “don’t touch it!” Be aware of the sneaky messages.
The answers to those questions become your big why.
I often tell people to write that why on a piece of paper and place it predominantly in the middle of the space they want to organize.
Why? You’re going to get overwhelmed during the process. You’re going to want to retreat, quit, or call it a day. You will literally feel fear: fear you’re erasing your loved one, fear you can’t do it, fear that this means you actually accept they’re dead. When you feel those things, look at your why.
Let your WHY be larger than your FEARJulie Martella
When you have your why firmly in place, it’s time to get to work. I suggest you begin with a small, emotionally neutral area. I actually started with his underwear drawer. After all, what decisions really needed to be made about underwear? I cleaned out that space and when the drawer was empty, I took a moment to congratulate myself. I did it! Connecting with that feeling gave me the fortitude to move to the sock drawer! After that I became a madwoman!
Finding your big why will ground and connect you. It can be your north star as you carefully sort through your loved ones possessions. You can do this!