Going through a house clearance after the loss of a loved one is never an easy thing to do. Sorting through their belongings, conjuring up old memories. It can take a toll.
But, as hard as it is to plan and go through a bereavement house clearance, it’s an important job and one you’ll need to do to ensure your loved one’s estate and possessions are dealt with as they’ve asked.
If you’re hiring a house clearance service to help take some items away, there’s a few things you can do to plan for the clearance to not only make the process easier, but to ensure you don’t lose any important documents and to make sure any heirlooms aren’t accidentally taken away.
At LITTA we’ve helped hundreds of families through the process of a bereavement house clearance and we always do the job efficiently and respectfully. If you’re going through a house clearance and are wondering where to start, here’s our tips to help you.
Complying with your loved one’s wishes isn’t just the right thing to do, it can also be a legal responsibility based on whatever they’ve laid out in their Will.
Which is why you should wait until this has been read out and the estate has been divided as per their request.
The last thing you want to do is start throwing items away or donating them, only to find they’ve been gifted to specific people.
If your loved one has left a Will for their estate, the solicitor will be able to help you understand who the executor is, and which items are to be distributed to the right people.
Your first job will be finding these items and ensuring the right people have them, before starting the wider house clearance. At least this way you won’t have to worry about accidentally disposing of items you shouldn’t.
As much as you won’t want to do the house clearance, it’s better to get it done quickly, rather than trying to do it in stages and have it drag on.
That’s just going to make all the emotional pain much worse for everyone. The best thing is to plan a specific day, or days, when you and any relatives can sort through everything in the house in one go. This will make the whole process quicker, and easier to deal with.
It can be easy to get lost looking through old memories when going through a house clearance after a bereavement, and you definitely don’t need to be cold about it. But it’s best to have a plan before you start. Whether it’s what rooms you’re going to tackle first or which items you want to find and remove so they don’t get lost as you’re sorting.
A plan will also help you stay organised and make sure you don’t start accidentally mixing items you want to keep with those you’re planning to dispose of.
Before you start removing items, the first thing you’ll need to do is find and organise any important documents you’ll need to file. These could be house deeds, bank information - anything. Storing these documents safely will be an important part of executing the person’s Will, and the last thing you want is to lose them under a pile of boxes or accidentally throw them out with the recycling. Figure out what you’re going to sell, donate, keep, throw away.
Once the main items in your loved one’s Will have been distributed to the right people, the next job will be figuring out what to do with everything else. Think about what you could do with anything you find - sell it, donate it, keep it, recycle it etc - and sort items into these categories as you’re going.
If you can, designate different rooms in the house to each category so everything ends up in the right place. Once you’ve been able to sort all the items into the categories, it will make it easier to come up with a plan for how to remove or dispose of them.
Once you’ve organised all the items you need to, you’ll be able to figure out what you’ll need to do to move them somewhere else or dispose of them. If you’ve got a lot of bulky items, a skip might be the best option.
If you’ve got a lot of mixed waste or items that can be recycled, a dedicated waste removal service could be the best option - like the one we provide at LITTA.
It’s quicker and easier than booking a council bulk waste removal, and we’ll be able to remove items directly from the home so you won’t have to drag them to the kerb on collection day. If you’ve got the space to take items yourself you obviously can, or a man and van service might be able to help you move bulky pieces of furniture between homes.
On the day of collection, you won’t even have to be present if you don’t want to be, you’ll be able to tell your removal service what items are to be removed, and let your removal team get on with the job.
The last thing anyone wants to think about is clearing out the house of a loved one. At least by having a plan in place and organising how best to deal with all the items before you start, you’ll be able to take some of the stress out of the process.
If you need a house clearance service to help with the clearance of a deceased loved one’s home, we can help.
Get in touch or use our online form to get a quote.