Cleaning out the home after the loss of a loved one

Cleaning out a home after a loved one has passed away can be especially difficult. The idea is to separate those treasured and memorable items from the trash. It takes an abundance of courage and strength! Make sure it’s done when YOU are ready.

We’ve outlined a few tips to take into consideration when getting ready to sell the home after your loved one has passed away. This is no easy task, but WE can do this together!

***Don’t forget to change the locks & forward the mail***
Do you know who all may have a key to the house? You can rest easy knowing the locks are changed. Forward mail to your home or office. There may be subscriptions to cancel and you can also figure out if payments were current or who the creditors are.

***Set aside financial documents***
Oh Boy! Search high and low! When working with families we’ve found important documents and cash in the weirdest places. Hopefully, your loved one was organized and you can find these documents all in one place.

  • Locate the following- Homeowners policy, will, insurance, bank accounts, bill receipts, stocks and bonds, shred all important documents especially those containing SSN#…IDENTITY THEFT CAN BE A NIGHTMARE!!!

***Pay mortgage, utilities & maintenance on the home***
Unfortunately, those stinking mortgage lenders still want their money. Keep the main utilities turned on like gas & electric. Maybe your brother in Florida will agree to pay for the lawn care until the house sells! Also, be sure to contact the landscaper to redirect the invoice.

***Sort personal belongings***
This is a hard one! Earley & Sons and your family can tackle this one together! Going through mom and dads stuff can be the most challenging but most rewarding! Consider it as a labor of love! We suggest the 4 boxes approach.

  • What would you like to keep? Don’t fight with your siblings over who gets what. Take turns by choosing that favorite item or what you remember your dad by the most. Even trade if you have to!
  • Can some items be donated to charity? Maybe your mom loved her church and would love to see her beautiful maple bedroom set go to a young family.
  • Want to make some money? Sell! Have a garage sale or post the couch or dining room set on social media. We can even help you out by posting items to sell! Maybe an auction is best for your family. We recommend getting real valuables appraised first.
  • Decide what needs thrown away. Guaranteed having 50 years+ of stuff there’s quite a few things that just need tossed. We see this often and can assist the family with coordinating a trash bin to discard items like mattresses, old/ripped/stained furniture, etc.

***Prepare the house for sale***
This part may require a lot of your time, but if done the right way, it will bring you the most money in the end!

  • Furniture- If mom & dads favorite recliners are worn and tattered, throw them out. Ripped and stained furniture could be a distraction when showing the home.
  • Wall Hangings- Remove them!
  • Floor Coverings- If you can afford to remove old dusty carpet and expose beautiful hardwood under those carpets, do it!
  • Window Coverings- I bet 50 years ago your mom custom ordered those drapes from J.C. Penney’s! Old, dated, dusty drapes can also be distracting so it’s best to have them taken down.
  • Walls- Take into consideration if nail holes or cracks need filled and walls need repainted. A fresh coat of paint makes all the difference in the world!
  • Light Fixtures- Remove & replace dated fixtures!
  • Clean- Chances are there are bay leaves laying around in the back of your mother’s kitchen cabinets! Be sure to wipe down all cabinets, sweep all floors and carpets including the garage and basement, dust baseboards, wipe down dusty fan blades, and clean the bathrooms. The extent of the cleaning is really up to you. Remember, you want the house looking its best when showing to a new potential owner!

If you’re in this situation at the moment, hopefully these tips will help you in taking that step. Remember, baby steps is all it takes! Rome wasn’t built in a day as they say, right?