Cleaning out a home that has been lived in for 30, 40 or even 60 years can be a huge undertaking! When you factor in the emotional connection to the contents of the home, most likely being that of your parents or grandparents, the house clean out can be outright draining
Often when I first speak to my clients who are in such situations, it only takes a few minutes before they are in tears. Think about that for a moment. A grown adult breaking down and crying to a perfect stranger in a matter of minutes. That has to tell how difficult such an undertaking can be. This scenario is far more common than you may think.
I can usually provide my clients with a sigh of relief and a moment of clarity with only a few sentences from my mouth, as I speak with the voice of experience. We will get to that a little later on.
What you are feeling.
After years of experience doing house Clean outs, I have seen it all! And I mean all! The most overwhelming part of the house clean out for most people is sorting through all the items. Clothing, furniture, china, silverware, electronics, the attic, the basement, the garage and shed – “What are we going to do with all of this stuff!” is what my clients are saying to themselves over and over again. They become their own worst enemies.
The most common stress that people put upon themselves is the false sense of value assigned to their belongings. They worry that they don’t have a place to store all their precious valuables. This is the trap! Why is that a trap you ask?
Well, I hope you are sitting down because I’m going to be pretty straight with you. Ninety five percent of the things that you think are valuable, especially pieces of furniture, aren’t worth a dime! Or at least aren’t worth the time and effort you are going to put into finding a home for them, whether that be through donating or selling them. NOBODY WANTS GRANDMA’S DINNING ROOM HUTCH! I don’t care what it cost in 1970 – NOBODY WANTS IT!
Now to be fair. Are there furniture pieces that are worth money? Heck yes! Is the black lacquer bedroom set that cost $10,000 in 1984 one of them – Heck no! Even the colonial style furniture from the turn of the century has a very small market, if any at all. Mid-century modern furniture, however, if made by a famous manufacturer could bring you some money, but don’t think you’re going to send the kids to college with it.
So what about the dinning room set, the living room couch, love seat, chair and the coffee table? How about the master bedroom set with the dresser, armoire and the night stands? Maybe my nieces will want them? They are getting married next year! The three children’s bedrooms all have the bed, the dresser and the desk with a hutch. What about the trundle beds (the kind that bite your fingers if you do it wrong)? For sure some poor people can use them? Maybe, but most likely not. The biggest trap I see my clients get stuck in is spending countless hours trying to give away items most people don’t want. I’ll show you the best way to take care of that later on in my post.
Next, we have the attic – that mystical place where grandpa hid bags of cash and bars of gold! Unfortunately, it is most likely going to be filled with old tax documents, holiday decorations, a baby crib from 1965 and old camping gear that generations of mice have made their home. (Yes there are mice in the attic – Sorry to break that news to you.) So don’t be too stressed about the attic. We assist our clients in emptying the attic. We have created a very good system that is quick and lets our customers look through every item without having to climb up themselves and balance on the beams.
The basement is loaded with dirty things, and it smells weird down there! Yes that is true. For most, the basement is not a great place to spend a whole lot of time digging through boxes. Most of the subterranean basements are damp and often have pockets of mold, which often over time destroys anything that has spent more than a year down there. You will still need to go through stuff, but it’s not the end of the world. Most people don’t store valuables in the basement.
The garage and shed clean outs are often the easiest for relatives. You grab the weed wacker and lawnmower and call it a day because God only knows what’s living in there. It is important to separate items that are toxic and have them disposed of properly. We can guide you in the right direction.
Time and money
As you can see, we understand the process, and, more importantly, we understand the pit falls that make the house clean out a nightmare. I can’t tell you how many times my clients tell me that they spent six months or even a year cleaning out a house, trying to find homes for all the items, only to have us come months later and throw most of it away. Keep in mind – in our area, six to twelve months of sitting on a home could cost an estate $4,000 – $15,000 in property taxes and heating bills. That’s outrageous!
The best way to move forward and to save your family and your sanity is to follow these steps.
- Go through the property and collect all of the valuable items, including money, jewelry, bonds, photo albums and pictures. Store them in a designated area or take them to your home.
- Call us and have us come out and assess your situation.
- Call the Salvation Army to come and take a look at what furniture they may want. They are picky, and DO NOT take everything. They also need 2-3 weeks notice, so plan ahead and don’t wait until the last minute.
- After the donation companies have taken what they wanted, it’s time for the professionals to take over. In one day, or at most two, the house will be empty.
- Call the realtor.
The most important thing that I can say to help you exhale and be less stressed about this process is that, with help of my staff, I can get any house emptied in one or two days, depending on the volume of items. Once you remove the items that are truly important to you, we can and will get the job done very quickly! So give me a call and let’s discuss the house clean out in your life.
I hope this post has helped you understand that you aren’t the first person to have to deal with this and that with the right professionals on the job, it can be fairly painless.
Rockland and Bergen Cleanouts
We are house clean out experts.
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