Losing a loved one is a heartbreaking experience, and not enough is discussed about one of the most challenging tasks: cleaning out their home. Not only is it emotionally draining, but it can also be physically exhausting since it requires time and energy. Many people often wonder how they can clean up while keeping things organized and gentle. In this blog post, we will discuss tips on cleaning out a house after a death.
We'll cover the steps to follow, the areas to tackle, important things to keep in mind, items to retrieve during a clean, and what items you must or can discard.
Initial Steps When Cleaning Out a House After a Death
- Take Inventory of Belongings: Before you start cleaning, take inventory of your loved one's belongings. Start with the most essential items first, such as important documents, house keys, and cherished items. You can work through the whole house methodically or by room.
- Secure Important Documents: Look for passports, wills, titles, deeds, certificates, and other important documents. Keep them in a safe place, maybe a bank safe deposit box or with a trusted family member. You'll need these documents for legal purposes.
- Retrieve Sentimental Items: If possible, gather any items of sentimental value first. These could be family heirlooms, jewelry, or photographs. Be sure to put them away in a safe place as you continue the cleaning process.
How to Make an Inventory of Belongings
When making an inventory of your loved one's belongings, be sure to:
- Label items: Labeling items with names or categories can help you stay organized.
- Categorize belongings: Categorizing items helps you determine what you'll keep, sell, donate, or discard.
- Take Photos: Take photos of valuable items for insurance purposes.
- Determine Value: Estimate the value of items you plan to sell or donate. This will help with taxes and legal matters.
Learn more: How to create a home inventory - Bankrate
Areas to Tackle When Cleaning Out a House After a Death
Cleaning out a house after a death can be overwhelming, so it's important to break it down into manageable tasks. Some areas that may need attention include:
- Bedrooms and closets: Sort through clothes, shoes, jewelry, and other personal items.
- Kitchen: Check expiration dates on food and dispose of any spoiled items. Clean out the refrigerator and cabinets.
- Bathroom: Organize toiletries and dispose of expired medications.
- Living room/family room: Sort through books, DVDs, electronics, and furniture.
- Garage/attic/basement: These areas may have accumulated a lot of clutter over the years. Sort through items and determine what can be kept, donated, or discarded.
- Important documents: As mentioned earlier, gather important documents such as wills, deeds, insurance policies, etc. for legal purposes.
The Aftermath of Cleaning Out a House After a Death
Cleaning out a loved one's house after their passing can be an emotionally and physically exhausting process. Here are some tips to help you cope with the aftermath:
- Sell or Donate Items: Once you have inventoried all the belongings, it's time to consider selling or donating items. Selling items can be done by hosting a garage sale, online listings, or consignment shops. Alternatively, you can donate items to charitable organizations (Goodwill, homeless shelters, or non-profit organizations).
- Take Time to Grieve: It is essential to take time to grieve during the process of cleaning out a loved one's home. Taking care of yourself emotionally and mentally by seeking support from friends, family, or a grief counselor can make this stressful experience more manageable.
- Hire a Professional Cleaning Company: When it comes to cleaning out a house after a death, professional help cannot be overstated. These companies do more than clean. They can help with disinfection, biohazard cleaning, and deep cleaning. Our remediation technicians, for instance, offer compassionate and thorough cleaning services that provide peace of mind during a challenging time.
Bio-One of Chula Vista Can Help
Cleaning out a house is an emotional and daunting task, more so after the loss of a loved one. It's essential to take a gentle approach when tackling this task. We hope these tips will help you get started and cover all the important aspects.
Remember, despite your best efforts, you cannot do this alone. If you need professional cleaning services, contact Bio-One of Chula Vista, a team of reputable and compassionate professionals who understand the challenges you are facing and provide you with efficient and thorough cleaning services. Contact us today for a free consultation in the San Diego County area! If you live outside of the County, please visit our website to find a Bio-One location near you.