When someone dies, do you really need to keep things to remember them by?

Keeping some belongings of someone who has died can feel like the next best thing to still having them with you. But does this help or hinder the grieving process?


All objects become imprinted with the energy of what happens around them. If someone gives you a personal item, or you buy something second-hand, it will carry the energy traces of the person who owned it before. If it was used a lot, used for a long time, or had very strong emotional connections for that person, the imprints will be correspondingly stronger.

This is the whole basis of psychometry, that a trained person can hold, say, a ring belonging to another person, and can translate the vibrational frequency of that ring and describe the person who owned it without having met them. It is also why people treasure the personal belongings of those who were close to them and have died. They may not put it in these words, but they want to own something that has the energy imprint of that person.

Keeping personal items after a bereavement

For a while, it can be very comforting to a grieving heart to have some things like this. However, your fond memories do not depend on this and the energy imprinting will fade over time. If you keep an item for many years as a way of trying to hold on to someone who has gone and have no use for it other than this, then stagnant energies will collect around it in the same way as they do around other objects that are not used. In other words, it will become a kind of clutter. If there is unresolved grief, then layers of sadness will accumulate around it too.

When you think about it, it’s quite curious that when someone dies, their everyday personal belongings can somehow become so special. When they were alive, their things were just things, but after they die, they can take on a unique significance.

Of course, it’s not really to do with the objects themselves. It’s to do with the associations you have with them. Resolve the grief and you will see each item for what it is – something that just happened to belong to someone you loved. It then becomes possible to easily let it go.

And how to resolve the grief? I looked for many years for a method I could recommend to people to help with this, and am happy to say I have found one. You can find more information here: The Grief Recovery Method

Copyright © Clear Space Living Ltd 2017, updated 2021

Related article
After a bereavement

Online clutter clearing courses

Like to read more articles like this?
Subscribe to my newsletters to receive news, articles and information about upcoming online courses by email. And I promise you – no junk mail ever.


About Karen Kingston

Karen Kingston is a leading expert in clutter clearing, space clearing, feng shui, and healthy homes. Her two international bestselling books have combined sales of over three million copies in 26 languages and have established themselves as "must-read" classics in their fields. Her best-known title, Clear Your Clutter with Feng Shui, is now in its fifth edition. She is best known for her perspective-changing insights and practical solutions that enable more conscious navigation of 21st-century living.
This entry was posted in Clutter clearing, Grief recovery. Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to When someone dies, do you really need to keep things to remember them by?

  1. Hi Karen,

    my Mom died three years ago, and since my sister couldn’t bear to even be in the house afterwards, it fell to me to take care of our mother’s belongings. While I sorted through and disposed of a lot of her things in the weeks after her death, there was a lot of stuff I couldn’t part with just yet, so I packed everything up and stored it in the garage.

    This year, as I realized that I couldn’t get out of a black hole of depression, I felt the urge to let go of the boxes in the garage, so I looked through all of them a second time, decided which things I wanted to keep (and use), and which ones I was ready to let go of. It was a heart-wrenching process, but I’m finally done.

    The problem I have now is that my sister is still not ready to deal with these boxes yet, but also won’t allow me to throw them away. Instead she’s going to rent a storage room for them, because I told her I wasn’t willing to let them sit in my garage any longer. Knowing her, I fear that these boxes will be sealed up like mummies in a tomb for the rest of her life, and that she’ll never touch them again. Which, okay, that is her business – but does that mean that they’ll be hanging in MY… energy field, aura, whatever… for the rest of my life, too? Or did I cut the connections when I decided what to keep and what to toss? Is there anything I should do with these boxes, energy-wise, before I drive them to the storage room?

    1. Hi Kerstin – If your sister has decided to keep all these boxes and she’s the one who is paying for the cost of storing them, then they become entirely her responsibility, not yours. You’ve made your decisions and moved on.

      On a positive note, paying storage costs will hopefully encourage your sister to sort through the boxes sooner rather than later!

  2. I agree and disagree with this. My mother died in 1974 when I was 18. It was very sudden and unexpected. I was an only child so I still have a lot of her belongings including jewelry etc. I also have the purse she had when she died and it still has everything in it that was there when she died even her wallet with her driver’s license and credit card. These things still to this day brings me comfort.

    I have a guest room in my house where I keep things. Some things are on display in a curio cabinet, others are in the dresser. Her cedar chest still sits at the foot of my bed. My daughter, who never knew her grandmother, wanted something of hers so I let her choose something and she chose some of her jewelry. My only request is she is never to get rid of it unless she just wants to give it back to me. I will keep everything until I die and then my kids can throw it away if they chose but I can’t. I am sure my daughter, who is a lot like me, will want to keep some things but not all. As long as it brings me joy and comfort, I will keep these and I do not consider it clutter since I do have space for it.

  3. Hi Karen,

    After my mother died 26 years ago my father kept her jewelry. When he finally downsized and sold his house about twelve years ago the jewelry was split between my two sisters and me. I did not know what do with these pieces and was indecisive. They did not take up a lot of space but I did not use them and I did not actually want them. Until I finally sold them about four years ago including a ring my mother got as a gift when she was a young woman. I had always liked this ring and my mother gave it to me when I was 18 (a year before she died). I wore it at my wedding, which was important to me. But then it was just time to let it all go.

    The money I got from selling the jewelry was almost exactly the amount I paid for the tickets for a trip I took with my children the same year to visit a friend in the very north of Sweden. I would have taken the trip anyway but it was a nice coincidence. I have so many fond memories of this trip and even more so because I felt unburdened and relieved. Thinking about my mother, this trip, how it all worked out makes me happy and smiling. Having the jewelry in the basement never did.

  4. Hi Karen

    Thank you for this article.

    I have a question- after a brake up of a 3 years relationship I happened to have some items that we bought together with my partner. Most of them , especially his paintings, books, his favorite carpets I put into storage and gave him a key to accès it and take it. He took only items he really liked and left others. When I came to close the contract with the storage the things we still there and I didn’t want to put them on the street. I took them back home. He called me later and accused me of steeling. I offered him to send a car and pick everything up. He never did and keep repeating that I stole from him.

    I wonder what I can do with them?becose there is an energetically connection between us be osé of them . I want to cut it, clear it. would be the best way to Give them to charity ? To sage them? Some of them like books or carpets been meant for our house and I spend money on them as well. What do you sujest?

    Really appreciate your reponce,

    1. Hi Katie

      What’s needed here is a clear agreement with your partner about what he wants to have done with his things, and since he is accusing you of stealing them, I suggest that you do this by email or SMS so that you will have a record of his reply. If he refuses to discuss this then you will need to seek legal advice about the best course of action to take.

      In the meantime you can space clear the items using the technique described in this article:
      How to clear energies in objects

      Smudging with sage is not an effective space clearing technique, as this article explains:
      Why smudging is not a space clearing technique

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Clear Space Living Ltd
PO Box 11171, Sleaford
NG34 4FR, United Kingdom

UK Company No: 12067211
VAT Reg No: 339 267 376

International Directory
of Practitioners

All countries