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Estate Cleanout Essentials: Your Complete Guide

Whether you’re cleaning out your own home for a move or that of a loved one, the whole process can be overwhelming. We all build up STUFF over the years, from collections of kissing angels to VHS collections from the 1980s. And there comes a point where we just have to do something with it all. 

If you need an estate clean-out, it’s important to approach the home, storage units, and garage with a clear plan of action and all the right tools in your belt. 

Survey the Estate and Make a Plan

It’s nice to think you could just jump in and tackle the mess, but it’s good to take some time to assess the entire property and create a plan of action. Judge just how huge the task is, considering the size of the house and property, the number of belongings, and noting any challenges facing you, such as time constraints or limited availability of workers or access to the home. Start your “to-do” list and put a priority on the tasks based on urgency. This will help you stay organized and focused during the entire process. 

Load Your Tool Belt

Having the right supplies on hand makes cleanout so much smoother. What should you include? 

  • Boxes! Of all sizes, from small for books to large for linens or towels
  • Packing materials, such as bubble wrap, packing paper, and tape
  • Cleaning supplies, including gloves, dust masks, all-purpose cleaners, and trash bags
  • Furniture dollies and hand trucks for moving heavy items
  • A label maker or markers for organizing boxes and containers

Having these supplies readily available will save you time and energy as you work through the cleanout process.

Sort, Categorize and Repeat

It’s not easy going through everything, sorting it, and putting it in separate categories, but it can be done! Start by setting up specific areas, piles, or bags, such as keeping, selling, donating, and throwing away. Go through all the rooms and examine every item, deciding which bag it belongs in. Be realistic about what you’ll keep, thinking of the sentimental value, how practical it is, and how much space you can devote to it. For donation items, look into options such as estate sales, consignment shops, or charitable organizations. Some charities will even come to your house to pick up the item in their truck, a huge help when time is short. 

Sensitive Papers

There are sure to be a lot of personal, sensitive documents, such as bank statements, divorce decrees, and medical information, that need to be saved or disposed of. Take care to handle these items with discretion, sorting through all the papers and saving only what is necessary. The rest should be shredded or securely disposed of. 

Call in the Troops

Cleaning and disposing of an estate is physically and emotionally draining, so call in the troops to help with everything. Delegate tasks to everyone, and even the youngest can help in some ways. But, if the whole process is just too much for you, don’t hesitate to call in a professional estate clean out service to do the task for you. What a relief it can be to know someone else is going to do the big stuff for you. 

It’s a big task ahead of you, and you need to take care of yourself, too during the process. But, with the right tools, the right help, and a little patience, you’ll be up to the challenge. 

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