Too Much Stuff After Loss?

Overwhelmed by all “the things” after a loved one’s death?

Feeling stuck, and don’t know where to start?

I can help.

Hi! I’m Charlene, certified grief coach and curator.

I help grieving people to deal with all the physical and emotional “stuff” after a loved one dies by tapping into the power of curating.

During the Getting Unstuck: Too Much Stuff After Loss VIP Day, we will help you make progress with “the stuff” by putting on our curator hats.

Don’t know where to start? We’ll get you started.
Feeling stuck? You’ll get moving.

And we’ll make a plan for you to keep going. 

Why curating? It all started with my mom’s death and her house full of stuff.

After my mother died suddenly in 2013, I was faced with emptying out and selling her dream house.

I found myself paralyzed with indecision.

Dealing with the practical and emotional aftermath of my mom’s death — her house, the estate, the paperwork, all the belongings — was the hardest and loneliest period of my life.

Almost 10 years after losing her, I now help other people with their grief — because none of us should have to go through this alone.

Can you relate to:

  • Feeling burdened by all the physical stuff
  • Being overwhelmed by the many decisions we’re faced with making
  • Conflict with relatives about the stuff and the decisions
  • Putting your own grief and life on hold to take care of everyone and everything else
  • Feeling resentful about a lack of support
  • Avoiding dealing with boxes of “too painful” items
  • Missing the one person who would have supported you in the way you want and need

The exact circumstances of the loss and your relationship with the person who died will vary, but these situations are familiar to many.

It’s a common problem: How do you choose what to keep after a loved one dies?

My uncommon solution: Curating

Ask yourself: If I was to curate an exhibition about my loved one, which objects would I choose?

In this 4min excerpt from my signature Curating Grief talk, I share how curating became my solution.

I designed the Curating Grief coaching framework to help people in a creative, accessible way.

I believe we are ALL curators after a loved one dies.

As a grief-stricken and devastated daughter, I couldn’t start sorting through my mom’s belongings and making choices. As a curator, I could.

I define “curating” as Choosing with Intention. We are making choices every day, consciously and unconsciously.

By putting on our curator hats, we are going to learn how to choose with intention.

It’s not as easy just keeping what “sparks joy”! 

For some of us, keeping only what “sparks joy” would mean keeping EVERYTHING. For others, we can’t even find the joy, it’s so buried in all the other emotions and stuff we’re avoiding.

Relationships are different and can be complicated. Our relationship with the stuff can be complicated. As a grief coach, I’m going to help you see the stuff in a different way, to help make the decisions more manageable.

What is it costing you to not deal with the stuff?

Confession #1 – I paid the mortgage on my mother’s house for over a year after she died. Because I couldn’t decide what to do with the house. Because I couldn’t choose which of her belongings to keep or discard, in order to sell the house.

Confession #2 – I spent $20k on storage unit fees over 8 years after selling my mom’s house. It included a lot of “too painful to deal with” things. I understand why I did it, but I do wish I had that money back!

Beyond the monetary expenses, there are other costs to not dealing with the stuff:

  • Are you spending time worrying about the things?

  • How much physical space are the things taking up?

  • How about emotional space?

 What are you NOT doing because of the stuff?

  • Are you dreaming about downsizing or moving homes, but the thought of sorting through things is holding you back?

  • Are there hobbies or activities you’d like to try, but you don’t have the room?

During the Getting Unstuck: Too Much Stuff After Loss VIP Day, we will help you make progress with “the stuff” by putting on our curator hats.

Don’t know where to start? We’ll get you started.
Feeling stuck? You’ll get moving.

And we’ll make a plan for you to keep going. 

We can do hard things, with a soft heart.

I help people to navigate grief with grit AND grace after the death of a loved one.

Because we will have hard experiences and hard choices after bereavement. We need grit to get through them. And grace –– for ourselves and for others.

Here’s my hope for all who have been bereaved: To emerge from the practical and emotional aftermath of losing a loved one with your health, career and relationships intact, so you can move forward to live your own fullest life.

Because a beautiful life on the other side of loss IS possible.

I can help you get there.


Grief Coaching


Have you made space and time for your grief? Whether your significant loss(es) are months, years or decades ago, you might have unacknowledged or unprocessed grief that’s weighing you down. Let's unpack so you can feel lighter and more equipped to move forward.


Struggling with hard choices after the death of a loved one? How do we decide what to keep, and what to let go of? I can help.


Facing a significant date? Whether it's a birthday, the anniversary of a death, or a major holiday, creating a memorial or commissioning artwork can be the best way to remember your person.

Or contact me at hello[at]

I get more aha's from you than my therapist!



It's felt like an impossible task to try to sort through my mom's belongings. I feel like I have a place to begin this process now and it doesn't feel so terrifying. Thank you.



I love this approach as a creative outlet for grief - I'm totally inspired.




Curating Grief

Curating Grief After Loss

Curating Grief is the name of my unique approach to grief support. Why "curate" grief? Find out in this video.


I’m Charlene

I am a certified grief coach, curator, speaker, and the founder of The Grief Gallery. I help grieving people to feel lighter and less burdened by all the physical and emotional "stuff” after a loss, using the lens of curating.

After my mother died suddenly in 2013, I leaned into my creativity and instincts as a curator to guide myself through grief. I developed my Curating Grief coaching framework to help people process their grief in a creative, accessible way.

My certifications and ongoing training include Claire Bidwell Smith’s Grief and Loss program, Megan Devine’s Grief Care training through PESI, What’s Your Grief’s continuing education, and the Portland Institute of Grief and Loss programs in using art and meaning reconstruction in grief work.

I'm the author of the forthcoming book Curating Grief: A Creative Guide to Choosing What to Keep After a Loved One Dies. My podcast guest appearances include Grief Out Loud, the Feminist Wellness podcast, and the What Works podcast with Tara McMullin. A proud Chinese-American New Yorker (like my mom), I'm currently based in Lisbon, Portugal.

Get in touch hello [at]

Need help with grief? I can help.

Get in touch: Email hello [at]

Note: Coaching and coaching consultations are not a substitute for counseling, psychotherapy, psychoanalysis, mental health care, substance abuse treatment, or other professional advice by legal, medical or other qualified professionals. If you are experiencing a mental health emergency, contact 911 or your local emergency services.

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