[This article was originally published in December 2016 and has been updated and revised.]
While most everyone needs junk removal at some point, some events are harder than others. And an estate cleanout can be one of those events.
However, there are some aspects of an estate cleanout that do not need to be handled on your your own. In fact, some of the more difficult tasks can be taken care of for you.
When Life Brings Unfortunate Events
t is a sad and sobering fact of life, but almost anyone can find themselves faced with needing to take of an estate cleanout.
And, while it's not always one of the most welcome tasks for a homeowner, family member, or real estate professional, it is often a necessity that is becoming increasingly more common. And this is partly due to the growing segment of older adults in our nation's population.
The need for an estate cleanout is typically the result of an unfortunate event that occurs in life. Although it can be necessitated by other things, there are four common events that result in estate cleanouts. These are having to downsize due to major lifestyle changes, bankruptcy or crippling debt, divorce, and the death of a parent or other elderly family member.
And it is this last category that seems to be the most common scenario involving estate cleanouts.
In fact, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC),
The fastest growing segment is people aged 80 years and older, with a growth rate twice that for people aged 65 years and older, and almost four times that for the total population. Today, this group comprises 10% of the older population but is expected to more than triple in the next 40 years.
Because the population of the U.S. is rapidly aging - with almost 10,000 Americans turning 65 each day - there are greater numbers of people experiencing a major change in their lifestyle or are simply passing away.
These events present a particular challenge for both homeowners and real estate professionals. They also often require estate cleanouts for those former residents. And these cleanouts can often require the use of estate cleanout services.
Professional Estate Cleanout Services Can Help
There are many people who periodically need help with cleaning out their property. It could be that they find themselves liquidating assets as part of a divorce settlement, or simply because they are moving to take on a new job. In addition to the these folks, there is the aging Baby Boomer segment of the population. Unfortunately, for that age group, a growing reason for estates sales is their passing.
Regardless of the reasons, the task of cleaning out furniture, appliances, household goods and other items can be especially difficult. The reality is that, in the United States, the average home is about 2,500 square feet. And most of that space is typically full of belongings of one type or another.
More often than not, an elderly parent or grandparent will have accumulated years of belongings that quite possibly fill both the house and the garage. This doesn’t even take into account rented storage units or storage sheds on their own property.
Separating and cleaning out all of this can be overwhelming.
Getting Ready for an Estate Cleanout
When an estate sale is required, an estate liquidator is typically hired to conduct the sale. While not required in most states, this is usually a good approach. It has been estimated that there are currently about 14,000 estate liquidators in the U.S.
According to the American Society of Estate Liquidators, members must meet certain education or experience requirements and follow a professional code of ethics.
However, it is also estimated that the majority of estate liquidators have no formal training and that essentially anyone can set themselves up in business as an estate seller. It is wise, therefore, to take steps to vet an estate seller, or liquidator, before signing or agreeing to anything.
After you have located and secured the services of a reputable estate liquidator, there a few things you should do before you conduct an estate sale.
Here are six tips for helping you manage this stressful task:
1. Be Thorough and Detailed
Most people tend to store things in unlikely places, or often forget something of value that they have left in a coat pocket or the back of a desk drawer. It is important, therefore, to take the time to look through everything. This includes pockets in clothing, drawers, high shelves, every kitchen container, inside books, etc.
2. Communicate With Family Members on Sharing
No one wants to experience the distress and emotions of family members quarreling over belongings. A common strategy to help avoid this is to have family members create a list of the items they’d like to have from the estate. While this can often work well, there are sometimes situations where conflicts and disagreements can still arise. In these cases, involving outside mediators or legal help may be helpful.
3. Find and Store Photos and Other Personal Items
Often these types of items are of little or no value to people outside of the family. They are often priceless and irreplaceable for family members, however. Consider the grandchildren and others who may find pictures, scrapbooks, albums, etc. to be tangible links to family members they may never have had to privilege to meet.
4. Recycle, Donate or Sell Old Clothing Items
The truth is that most old clothing has little resale value, unless it is considered vintage clothing which is typically items from the 1960s and earlier. Consignment shops and some thrift stores can possibly be a source for revenue from old clothing. Another options is to to make use of sites such as eBay or even yard sales. Donations are, of course, always welcome and this can be handled for you by others.
5. Secure Any Key Financial Documents
Locate and secure any wills, trusts, savings bonds, and related documents. Watch out for any life insurance policies and statements, real estate deeds and titles, and other financial records. This includes obtaining recent bank statements if none are in the home, if possible, and retaining any stock certificates, 401(k) records, and tax returns and receipts.
6. Get an Estate Appraiser
Finally, if the estate has a substantial amount of furniture, jewelry and antiques that are not being claimed by family members, then it is usually worthwhile to find an estate appraiser. An accredited professional will give you an estimate for each item and usually renders this service at an hourly rate. The cost will depend on such factors as your location and the type of appraisal you want.
Of course, there is one more major consideration for managing the task of an estate cleanout with the minimal amount of stress or labor on your part, and that is hiring out the work of the junk removal.
Get Help By Using a Professional Junk Removal Service
Cleaning a home after an estate sale is not easy.
In fact, the work can be overwhelming, both physically and emotionally. And, while some of the tasks are merely monotonous and time consuming, such as sorting through paperwork, others require physical exertion such as cleaning and moving furniture - and quite possibly having to haul away unwanted items and other junk and debris.
This is when a professional estate cleanout service like Junk King can be invaluable.
Once you decide to get outside help with the house cleanout, you must determine which firm is the right one for the job. And while you might someone with a truck who is willing to do the job, opting for that alternative could end up costing you more than you hoped to save.
Junk King, on the other hand, provides an efficient, safe and eco-friendly residential trash removal service so you don’t need to worry about the pick up or disposal of household items and junk after the sale is complete.
Junk King for Your Estate Cleanout Needs
When your project involves an estate cleanup, you want a company that is punctual, patient, and respectful while treating you with care.
With years of experience in helping our customers with estate cleanouts, Junk King understands that when a loved one passes away the last think you want to worry about is cleaning out their apartment or house.
Whether you are handling an estate sale for a client, are simply downsizing yourself, or even dealing with the daunting task of clearing a deceased relative's home, place of business or any other property left behind, we can help.
Junk King's estate cleanout services are regularly used by landlords, attorneys, banks, and even homeowners who need to dispose of large quantities of unneeded and unwanted items, junk, and clutter that might prevent or slow down the process of handing over an estate.
Our team specializes in large debris removal and furniture hauling. We can be on location in mere minutes, so call us today! Our crew is fully insured and well-trained, so you can trust them to get rid of your unwanted items in a professional and courteous fashion.
One of the best things about hiring Junk King is that we recycle as much of the material we pick up as possible. This is proof of our commitment to being an eco-friendly removal service.
If you have questions about our estate cleanout services, give us a call at 1-888-888-JUNK (5865).