Estate Clean Out: A Necessary Evil
There are many cases which require a total clean out of a private property. The most common case occurs when a loved one dies and the family members are forced to clean out the estate in order to sell the house or are downsizing for the widowed. After the death of a loved one, the last thing you need to brood about is cleaning out old furniture, garbage and appliances from the estate.
In speaking to some people that deal with these types of crises, a funeral director, a cemetery/memorial director and a probate lawyer, the one thing they have all agreed on is that when dealing with death, emotions drive all decisions. This is the worst way to deal with any situation but expected when dealing with the death of a loved one. They suggested the best way to handle such a crisis is to take the time to learn about your options and don’t go it alone. Bring someone emotionally detached from the situation that you trust to help you with your decision making process to avoid the “whatever, that’s fine” approach that they see so often.
Here are some ideas on how to prepare and then organize the process:
1. Forewarned is Forearmed.
No one wants to think about losing someone, ever, but realistically, being prepared can help you save heartache, time and money. Just about everybody who’s been through the ordeal wishes they had thought about it before having to deal with it in a crisis. It’s never pleasant to think about but just as you should have a “Fire Plan” for your family, with escape routes in case a blaze should break out in your house, you should have an “Estate Plan” for yourself and your parents. Discuss it with your parents and siblings. Discuss it with your spouse and your age appropriate children. It will save you and them a lot of confusion and heartache should something happen.
2. Sort it Out – Determining Trash from Treasure.
After losing someone, sorting through the accumulated years can be exasperating. A nightmare, if the person is a pack rat. If you are helping one of your parents deal with the loss of their spouse, the process can be even more grueling because you are dealing with not just your emotions but theirs as well. Cataloging an estate can take time but is necessary. A great idea given was taking pictures of the items and the space it held, and making a keepsake album of them. This will help with the cataloging process, as well as help everyone go through the grieving process without the shock of watching all of their loved ones things taken away. Being patient, going through and reminiscing, listening to the stories can be therapeutic for everyone involved.
3. Enlist Professional Help.
In some circumstances, a good way to unburden everyone emotionally attached to, or burdened by this task, is choosing to sell at auction. (In fact, a probate court may order an auction if a will is lacking, debts are owed, or due to embattled or neglectful heirs). With an auction nothing is thrown away and unwanted property is converted to cash. Even after an auction, you will still have things, junk, left over that didn’t sell, that no one wanted to take or is just plain trash. The Junkluggers offer Estate Cleanout and Junk Removal with a concentration on donation and recycling. Whenever possible, the items will be donated and recycled on your behalf or in the name of your lost loved one.
4. Other Resources
“The Boomer Burden” written by Julie Hall – The Estate Lady
“Don’t Toss My Memories in the Trash-A Step-by-Step Guide to Helping Seniors Downsize, Organize, and Move” written by Vickie Dellaquila
“Who Gets Grandma’s Yellow Pie Plate?” written by Marlene S. Stum
“If Something Happens to Me” written by Joseph R. Hearn and Niel D. Nielsen