Shop Organize 365!

172 Losing Loved Ones Affects Your Organizational Phase Of Life

Organize 365 Podcast
Organize 365 Podcast
172 Losing Loved Ones Affects Your Organizational Phase Of Life

How Losing a Loved One Affects your Organizational Phase of Life

Welcome to the final episode of my three-part series all about the different phases of life and how specific life experiences can cause them to overlap.

So, just a little recap… There are four phases of life and they are childhood, accumulation, survival, and downsizing and legacy.

In week one, I talked all about how having babies can affect your phase of life. As well as bringing joy and happiness into your household, they also contribute to you acquiring A LOT of new household items!

Cue the accumulation phase! And if you’re in your 40’s, you’ll experience an overlap of the survival AND accumulation phase!

In week two, I talked about when we find ourselves becoming the caretaker for a loved one. If this happens to you, regardless of what stage of life you’re in, you’ll be thrust into the survival stage as well!

In this week’s episode, I talk about what happens when we lose a loved one. Specifically, I focus on losing a parent.

It’s rather poignant for me that when I recorded the episode, it was 8 years to the day that my father had passed away.  So I can very much talk from personal experience on this topic!

Losing a loved one moves you into three phases of life

You experience three phases of life when this terribly sad event occurs.



When your parent passes away, immediately you’re thrust into the survival phase. You have a lot to do.

You have to plan the funeral, speak to other family members, help organize the estate, and many other things at an incredibly stressful and emotional time of your life. You’re in the survival phase.


You will accumulate a lot of belongings from your parents.

At such an emotional time, you don’t want to let go of things in haste.  So I recommend finding an off-site storage unit for a certain period of time just so you can take time to decide what to keep and what to let go of.

If you’re anything like me, you may find yourself trading-up many items that are actually nicer than those you already have!

Downsizing & Legacy

After about a year, you enter the downsizing and legacy phase.

The legacy phase comes first and it lasts for about 3-4 years. You start to think about what you’ll keep longer term that once belonged to your parents. What do you want to be a part of their legacy?

It’s all about how you’re going to take the essence of the person who passed away and put it to use in a meaningful way.

I really recommend finding interesting and creative ways to keep the items that carry sentimental value to you.

For example, I have a shadow box and every time I find little things that remind me of my Dad, I put them in the shadow box in the basement.


This post, What do you save when a loved one passes?, is another helpful resource.

About year 5, you’re going to find yourself focusing more on downsizing.

At this time, not only will you be thinking about what you want to keep that once belonged to your parents, but you start to think about yourself, too.  You start to look at YOUR belongings and think about what will be YOUR legacy.

You realize that someone has to get rid of it all someday!

I could record podcasts for weeks about how different life events, in addition to our chronological age, impact what organizational phase of life we feel like we are most in at any one moment.

My goal in recording these podcasts was not for you to be able to better categorize your phase of life, but to recognize that we are all floating between the phases at any one time and can learn and grow at our own pace and stage of life.

lisa fish signature
Scroll to Top
Skip to content