One of the most difficult things after the death of a loved one is sorting through and getting rid of their possessions. It's better to tackle the job sooner than later, otherwise you may put it off indefinitely. If there is a home to sell or a will to fulfill, you may have to start the process immediately.
Getting things in order before you start will save some time once you set to work. A few preparations you should make include:
- Order a garbage bin or dumpster. You will likely be tossing too much for regular garbage pickup. A dumpster rental from a company like C n' C Junk Removal saves you overflowing trash bags and the rental company with cart it off as soon as you are done with it.
- Make a plan for shredding. Many people leave behind boxes of documents. The garbage bin rental company may be able to provide shredding services; otherwise you will need to locate this service on your own.
- Make a list of important documents. If there are any missing documents from the estate, such as insurance or financial paperwork, make a list before you begin sorting so you don't toss anything you need.
- Set a deadline and create a plan. Set a realistic deadline for when you will be done and then make a plan for tackling the house. You may start with the bedrooms first, or maybe the garage, but start each day knowing what you will be doing.
- Get a supply of boxes for packaging up donations and items you are keeping.
Bring In an Outsider
A helper goes a long way towards relieving some of the work—both physical and emotional. An outside set of eyes from someone with no emotional ties to the deceased can help you sort through emotionally charged items. Whether it's a friend or a professional, bring in help if you think you will have trouble donating, selling or tossing unneeded items.
Don't put off anything until later. As you sort through each room, divide everything up immediately into the following piles:
For the bequeath piles, use large boxes with the person's name whom will be inheriting the items. For large items, attach signs with the above destination so there will be no questions when you go through the house for the final time.
Also, don't hesitate on the daily toss pile. Take it straight out to the garbage bin everyday so you won't be tempted to hang on to unusable or broken items.
Hire Professional Help
At some point in the process, you may need professional help to finish the job. Whether it's bringing in an appraiser for just a few valuables, or hiring an estate liquidation company to purge whatever is left, don't think you have to do it all on your own. Before calling in the pros, make sure to have removed any important paperwork, mementos, and items you are keeping or bequeathing to others.
Cleaning out the house can be difficult, but it can also provide necessary closure after a difficult time.