A house clearance can be very stressful – not only may it be occasioned by the passing of a loved one, but it can also be taxing in terms of time, energy and logistics. Here’s how to get through it as smoothly as possible.
In general, you’ll need around half a day per room with a little bit extra. You’d be surprised how long it can take to sort through belongings, especially paperwork and keepsakes, so give yourself plenty of time. You’ll also need to take regular breaks and you’ll almost certainly want to reminisce over some items. Give yourselves enough time to do all this without having to rush.
Use a traffic light colour code for things
When you’re sorting through the items and belongings, it’s best to use a colour system to denote the things you want to keep within the family, the things you want to sell or give to charity and the things that can be recycled or disposed of.
Get lots of red, yellow and green stickers and label everything you can see. Red is for keeping, yellow is for selling or donating and green is for disposal or recycling.
This is one of the hardest parts, in reality, but you have to be tough. Does the family really need another casserole dish? Of course, if that dish holds really special memories, then it stays, but this is one of the decisions that makes it hard.
How much of each category is there?
Now the hard part is over, you need to work out how much there is to be moved. Using a regular-sized skip as a yardstick (as it were), estimate how much of one of these skips the red, yellow and green items will fill each. You may not want a skip for the red or yellow category, of course, but the green category items will probably need one.
Call a removal company
For red items, you’ll need a careful removal company so everything gets to the family in one piece.
For yellow items, you have several choices. The more valuable and/or large items can go to specialist auction houses. House clearance auctions in Belfast attract a lot of attention and you can be sure that your items will be treated professionally and with respect. For smaller and less valuable items, eBay, Freecycle and charity shops are good destinations.
The green items are a bit easier, as you can either hire a skip or make several trips to the dump or recycling plant. Your local council may help with unwanted electrical appliances – fridge, freezer and so on. If the white goods are fairly new, you may want to offer them to a housing charity, though.
Safety and security
A house clearance is no mean feat – there’s a surprising amount of lifting and shifting, as well as clouds of dust, so make sure you lift properly and think about a dust mask, especially if you’re the allergic type.
You also need to remember identity theft – if you need to throw out old bank statements and similar documents, then invest in a shredder.
When you are done clearing your home, you certainly deserve a rest and a cup of tea.