Sorting the clothes

I don’t know if this will help anyone. Some people do it straight away, others years later. After 5 months I decided to do it. With any items that had special associations eg bought on holiday, worn at a celebration etc. I described it and the occasion in a little note book before it went to charity. That way they stayed part of our history but someone else would get the benefit of some nice items. I also sent them to a charity shop 20 miles away so I would not see any one walking round in my husband’s clothes. Hope these ideas might help one of you struggling with this very emotional issue

Thank you for the tips. I lost partner in December and am nowhere near ready to sort her clothes, but will remember your advice when I do.

I got my older son, mum and sister too sort out my partners clothes they took them away and gave them to the British heart foundation as my partner and my sister’s brother in law both had a heart attack so I got some comfort although I cried when it was done I kept putting it off people should do it when they are ready not when other people tell you to do it straight away.

My darling Anne passed on the 26th of January. Her passing was unexpected and quick. She was OK at Christmas but very quickly went downhill shortly after. She was diagnosed with Bowel and Metastatic Liver cancer only 12 days before she very sadly passed away.

Well a couple of years ago I decided it was time to sort out the loft. It has all the usual cases and occasionally used items, Christmas decorations etc. It also has a lot of old radio chassis, valves, electronic components etc. Also Annes Mum & Dads bits and pieces and clothes from when they passed away. There were Duvets and all sorts of old curtains and many many other things. The first black bag I brought down Anne went through it and decided that 80% in the bag would be put back in the loft and kept but 10% fit for the bin and the remaining 10% to go to a charity shop. Funny it was the only black bag we did!!
I spoke to the children (Grown up) on Saturday and asked what do you want me to do with the stuff in the loft, none of them were interested. Now the odd thing was I went up on Sunday and found that a lot of the bags have disintegrated with the heat of last summer, a lot of the material inside was damaged with discolouration and a sticky feel. I have worked on and off on this all week and have taken 25 bags to the dump, very little was salvageable for charity shops and the remainder has been placed in a neat and tidy way. I found many photographs that I forgot about. Nothing of a sentimental nature was disposed of.
I can’t even think of going through Anne’s drawers or wardrobes at this time nor do I think I could do this for a long time to come. The loft was a totally different situation with items not seen for 13 years so it didn’t have the same feel as Anne’s clothes.
In a way I envy anyone that has the strength to do this, something I don’t have at this time.
I think its up to the individual and there is no right or wrong in doing it either early or in years to come.

Good morning Trevor
My wonderful, funny, handsome, selfless husband died 2nd December 2018 just 6 weeks after diagnosis of Bile Duct Cancer. Even though I have moved to be nearer our sons I still brought all his things with me. For me it is far too soon to even think about parting with his clothes. I have given our sons the things, not clothes, that I knew Tim would want me to give to them. His clothes are to me so personal, I look at each shirt or t shirt and can remember what we were doing the last time he wore them. I sleep with the last shirt he wore. I think maybe I will never give them away, but that’s ok it’s my decision to make.


Everyone copes in different ways and what’s right for one isn’t for another.
My partner died suddenly on the 30th of December.
Some time later I emptied the drawers and wardrobe of all his clothes while sobbing my heart out, put them all in another bedroom and closed the door unable to look at them.
A short while ago I thought how silly I was being. Those clothes meant nothing to him, he had no interest in them they were just necessary items in order to leave the house!
The memories of our good times are all in my head, they will never leave me.
With that in mind I put all the clothes in bags and took them to the Sue Ryder shop twenty miles away, this charity has allowed me to have so much support from others who are going, or have gone, through the same grief and despair.
Thank you all.

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Everyone is different & what is right for one may not be for another.
I lost my beautiful funny man nearly a year ago to meningitis & complications… I still have his clothes but suddenly this morning I put all his shoes into bags & have decided to take them to a charity shop.
I don’t know why or what’s made me want to do it … weird old thing this grieving xx

I lost my husband 2 weeks after diagnosis of stomach cancer last year. He loved his clothes, and I felt I had to pass them on to a charity that would know how special they had been and fortunate there is a local one who dealt with it in a very sensitive and supportive way. I did this within a couple of months, helped by a friend. Don’t ask were I got the strength from. But I kept some pieces, and now a year on feel I need to part with them too. Will still keep one or two, or three I’m sure. Everyone is different, do what feels right for you. I do spray his favourite aftershave in our bedroom, this is particularly comforting and can’t see me ever stopping.

I began sorting through Brian’s things almost straight away. I too don’t know now where I got the strength or what made me feel that it was the right thing to do, but something was telling me to it. It wasn’t just clothes. He was an artist and had so much stuff. Photography and what seemed like millions of photo’s to go through. He was a musician and his instruments had to go or be put into the loft which seemed a waste. I have donated a great deal, sold, burnt etc but my Brian is still here. ‘Things’ won’t make me remember him, because he’s embedded in my broken heart, and will never leave me. Pat xxx

Two weeks today I am getting new windows all around the house. I have a problem and it is a wardrobe full of Anne’s clothes, coats. dresses and other things. The wardrobe just about goes into the window space. I have told the company involved the situation and that I cannot move the wardrobe or empty it and I would be annoyed the clothes would be touched by me or God forbid a stranger, it is just far too raw for me at this time.

Pat, that’s exactly how I felt, it was the right thing to do. Jimmy was a golfer and engineer, so in addition to his clothes, I found homes for those too. You are right, our loved ones stay part of us, helping us on our journey. It doesn’t matter when or if you do it, go by how you feel. Much love to you all, Sandra x

I really had no intention of doing anything with Janet’s clothes - for years - maybe never. Towards the end of the first year (its now 16 months) i found myself tidying stuff and moving some of her clothes. So I started putting the stuff she hardly ever wore to one side and the stuff with labels still on - she never wore and so I had no memories of her in them. Taking my first load to the Sue Ryder shop was painful, there’s no point in saying otherwise. I thought I’d be ok but had to stop the car after to cry in a way I hadn’t for months. The next visit not as bad. My 4 th load is still to come. It gets done when it does. I know there is the stuff she wore often, the stuff I have pictures of her wearing the everyday stuff out on country walks. That will never go I don’t think. My intention is to keep a wardrobe for her most personal stuff (maybe a chest too!) and that will stay forever I think. I can’t imagine it being otherwise. Some of her things still have her smell a mix of perfume and makeup they are special. Think as with so much maybe do as we feel when we feel. There is no timescale. We don’t HAVE do to anything.

My partner died 8 months ago and his clothes are still here. It would upset me more to get rid of them than to see them still. Don’t think I will ever be ready to do it.

Hi Lilypetal,
Don’t ever give up his clothes then (if I can say?). There is no right or wrong, just what is right for you. No timetables, no limits. I have things I will never let go. Some I have. Now. The love will stay forever. It is so difficult and painful. Do look after yourself…

Hi Lilypetal, my lovely husband died at the end of November, and I still have all his clothes, some of his pyjamas are still sitting on a chair in our bedroom where I had put them freshly ironed for him to wear but then sadly he died. His slippers are still near his chair in the living room where he always left them. George had 6 children and 7 grandchildren and I am planning of having them a memory cushion made for each of their birthdays this year either out of one of his shirts or jumpers. If I was clever enough I would do them myself but sadly I do not have the skills required. I have a couple of his shirts which are my particular favourites in my own wardrobe, and I still cuddle one of his pyjama tops when I sleep. Like you I don’t think I will ever be ready to let his clothes go apart from the ones I have made into cushions and even only then because I don’t actually feel as I am really parting from them. I appreciate everyone is different. George was a widower when we met, and I know after his wife died he gave her clothes away to charity quite quickly because he could not cope with seeing them in the bedroom, but like you I find them strangely comforting. I think I still hope he will come home and wear them again. Take care xx

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