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December 30, 2021

A Quick & Easy Plan for Estate Cleanout

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A Quick & Easy Plan for Estate Cleanout

It’s not an easy thing to be the one in charge of cleaning out a home or property after a loved one passes away. Estate cleanout projects are not only difficult physically, but can also be difficult emotionally. If you’re in charge of an estate cleanout project, use the following plan to help make it a little bit easier.

Step-by-Step Plan for an Estate Cleanout

Step #1 – Rent a Dumpster

This is the first step because you won’t really know what you’re getting into until you’re about halfway into the project. Renting a dumpster makes it easy to toss out anything you won’t be keeping or selling. It works well for old furniture, clothing, old kitchen items, and anything else you need to toss out. With a dumpster on the property, you gain a central place to toss out all the trash. Some estate cleanout jobs will have a large amount of trash, while others may not. Try to do your best to estimate how much trash you will need to toss out before renting your dumpster.

Step #2 – Secure the Home

If you will be working on cleaning out the estate home over several days or weeks, make sure you secure the home when you’re not there. This should be done with the proper keys, locks, and a security system if you have one. With the right security, you can ensure nobody tries to steal things from the estate while you’re working on cleaning it out.

Step #3 – Keep Track of Important Documents

As you go through the things in the home, keep track of any important documents you find. These documents could be necessary for paying old bills or dealing with other items within the estate. Some of the documents you should look for include:
  • Utility Bills
  • Pay Stubs
  • Tax Forms
  • Social Security Card
  • Mortgage Statements
  • Insurance Policy Documents
  • Wills
  • Invoices and Receipts
  • Passwords and Usernames
  • Credit Card Statements
If it seems like it might be an important document, set it aside as you’re going through the estate property.

Step #4 – Establish a Plan and Timeline

You might not be cleaning out the estate yourself. If you have help, establish a timeline and a plan with everybody that will be involved. You can take shifts so that all the work doesn’t fall on one person’s shoulders. It’s important to make a plan that has a strict timeline to it so that you can stick to it and get things done in a timely manner. This is especially true if the property will be sold and you don’t want to keep paying the mortgage or other bills for very long.

Step #5 – Start Going Through the Items

Much like decluttering, you will likely have categories for things you will sell, things you will donate, things you will keep, and things you will throw away. The dumpster rental will be the place for all things you want to toss out. If something is in good shape, you might choose to sell it or even keep it. It can be a good idea to allow any family and friends of the person who passed to take a few things they want or to ensure the will of the person has been followed before going through the items.

Step #6 – Consult the Family Before Selling Anything

If you’re cleaning out an estate for someone else, always consult the family before selling anything. Even if you’re a relative and you’ve been put in charge of it, you want to speak with other family members before you just sell off items. Someone might want something you plan to sell as a way to remember the person that passed.

Step #7 – Finalize Decisions for All Trash

Anything you know is junk can be tossed into the dumpster right away. However, you might have items you have set aside in case someone wanted to keep them. After the family has had a chance to get what they want, you can now finalize any decisions to throw anything else out. Then, you can have the dumpster hauled away and move on with an estate sale, if necessary. As you plan to clean out an estate, make sure to ask for help. It can be an emotionally draining process and there will likely be large items you need to get rid of, which can be hard to handle on your own. Get others to help you and make sure you do the best you can to give everybody a break as others might also become emotionally drained when going through the items.