Clearing a house

Clearing out a house for someone you cared for can be a busy and tiring time.

Where to start

1.  Divide responsibilities

Clearing a house can be a huge undertaking for one person and can take a long time. Ask others if they are able to help and divide tasks amongst the group. 

2. Change locks and forward mail

It is important to consider changing all of the locks to the property – you may not be aware who else has a set of keys. Make sure all windows and doors are securely locked, as empty homes can become a magnet for burglars. Also, check whether the person has newspapers, milk etc. delivered – these will need to be cancelled. You can make arrangements to stop the person’s mail or redirect it to another address.

3. Find important financial documents

Before you start to sort through the person’s belongings, remember to search for the important financial documents such as a will, life insurance policy and bank statements and so on. Make sure to keep these in a safe place.

4. Sort belongings

Consider dividing the person’s belongings into three separate piles or label them with colour-coded stickers:

  • Items to keep
  • Items to throw away
  • Items to donate or sell

If you are working with others, make sure you all agree on what will go in each of these piles. Also, make sure that you go through the person’s belongings thoroughly to avoid missing anything that might be important. 

5. Prepare house for sale

If the person was a homeowner, you may decide to sell the property. You may want to:

  • remove furniture
  • decorate rooms
  • clean the property thoroughly throughout.

This may help to increase the value of the property and help to sell the property more quickly.

Finding a trustworthy house clearance company

Make sure you get a number of quotes for the clearance work needed. The Association of UK House Clearance Companies can help you find a trustworthy company and provides tips on how to spot rogue house clearance companies.