How to Clean Out Your Parents’ House After Death
It’s not something that’s pleasant to think about, but 66% of people have lost their parents by the time they reach 55.
Most people will reach an age where they have to consider how to clean out their parents’ house after their death. During this stressful time, there are a few things you can do to make things easier for you.
Secure the Property
The first step, once your parents have died, is to secure the property. This might mean changing the locks if they’ve given out their key, or taking other steps. You want to safeguard what is in the home because people will take advantage of any opportunity to steal.
If they live in a neighborhood with high crime or a transient population, you may want to install an alarm system or board up windows.
Even if you are experiencing a lot of emotional turmoil, this step can be completed. You can hire a locksmith to change out the locks. You should go inside to make sure that there’s nothing that could be a potential hazard, like a lit fire, a space heater on, etc. This will keep the property safe while you prepare.
Find Important Documents
One of the first things you need to do is to find important documents. These can include insurance policies, bill receipts, bank account information, etc. This will help you determine how long you have to work, and what you can expect to deal with while you are cleaning out the house.
It is important that any processes that need to be started are done so as soon as possible. It can take a long time to get life insurance payouts and other financial compensation. With the cost of a funeral, you may need to get this money quickly.
Take a Tour of the Property
This is more if they still live in your childhood home, but it is important even if they don’t. We all want to feel closer to our lost relatives. While you’re touring the property, try to focus on remembering good times.
If you feel emotionally and mentally ready, you can use this time to get an idea of what needs to be done. Having this information will make the next step much easier to accomplish. If you don’t feel ready and you have the time, don’t force it. Take as much time as you need or can.
Have a Plan
One of the most important things you can do is to have a plan. This will help keep you on track so that you can determine when and what you’re doing. Don’t underestimate the impact of trying to process grief while you sift through what remains of your parent’s belongings.
Having a simple, easy-to-follow plan will help you get through it. Determine what rooms you’re going to start with. Then figure out how long you’re going to spend every day working on it. Make sure to take into consideration any other factors, such as if the house is being sold.
Accept Help if Needed
When we are trying to process our own feelings and accomplish a task, the work can become overwhelming. If you have anyone who wants to help, try to accept it. This is easier said than done, as you may feel a deep sense of responsibility to protect the privacy of a dead parent.
This feeling, while noble, is not helpful. Having help can make the process go much faster, and it can even help get the job done better. If you have siblings, it is likely that they will want to help as well. Remember that everyone deals with grief in different ways and that can sometimes lead to conflict.
Sorting Out Trash
Everyone has trash and clutter in their home. Whether its old mail, magazines, receipts, or anything that no longer has any relevance should be removed. This can be a difficult thing to do, you may feel a connection to every piece of paper. If you do feel conflicted about this, ask someone else to take over this job.
Sorting out the trash from what needs to be kept is an essential step in how to clean out your parent’s house after death. The less you have to pack up, sell, or give away, the smoother and easier the process will be. Make sure that you double check everything you’re throwing away, as it may have a special significance to someone else.
Sort Out What to Keep and What to Sell
Having an estate sale is a very common next step in cleaning out a deceased parent’s home. If you have a parent that kept a lot of things, you may not have anywhere to put it all. Even if you could put it somewhere, it may be better to let someone else enjoy what they had rather than store it.
This process, just like sorting out trash, is often best done with more than one person. If you don’t have any other family members to help, consider asking a friend to sit and assist you. You may also need to think about having an appraiser look at some of the items you want to sell. You never know what might be a collectible or antique.
Don’t forget that many things may be sold on the internet. The amount of time and effort you want to put into selling your deceased parent’s belongings is up to you. Some people prefer to get this stage done as fast as possible. Neither way is right nor wrong, but it does have to be done.
This is also where you will want to sort out any items meant for family members. There may be legal issues regarding the will, or simply loved ones wanting to have a keepsake. Make sure that all interested parties are well aware of what you’re doing and have a chance to claim or ask for what they want.
On Call Services and Rentals
At On Call Services & Rentals, we know that this is a very difficult time. You have our deepest condolences. While we know that you are grieving, we can help by providing you with the receptacles you need to get the job done. We can provide you with dumpsters big enough to handle any old furniture, junk car parts, or hoarding-type situations.
Whatever you need, we will do our very best to help you out. If you want to make the process of removing junk simple and easy, feel free to reach out to us. We are always willing to help with any waste management solutions you need. For more information, contact us.