If you've recently inherited a house full of stuff, you're probably wondering what to do with it all. It can be overwhelming trying to figure out where to start! In this blog post, we will provide some tips for downsizing your belongings and getting your house in order. Follow these tips and you'll be on your way to decluttering your home in no time!
We've previously looked at the question of what to do with a house that you've inherited but now it's time to take a look at what to do with all that stuff inside the house. While there's a tendency among many people to just say, "throw it all away!" ... the actual situation is far more complicated since many of those items may have sentimental value to you or other heirs.
Create A Plan For How To Process All The Stuff
When you first step through the door of the property you've just inherited, the scale of the task in front of you may be a bit daunting. Chances are there will be tons of trash, poorly cleaned areas of the kitchen and probably piles of junk just waiting to be sorted through.
Don't worry though, this is why having a plan is so important to successfully process the estate items!
Instead of looking at the property as a single project, consider prioritizing different items that will need to be addressed individually. These can include:
- Important Documents
- Private Items That You Don't Want Others To See
- Valuable Items that have monetary value
- Items that have sentimental value
- Items such as books, records, cd's, and electronics, clothing that can be easily donated without needing to be cleaned
- Trash that needs to be disposed of
Once you have a plan, the process of sorting through items becomes much easier. In fact, you may just simply want to focus on the top items and leave everything else for someone else to take care of if you don't want to take the time or effort to find a site to donate the items to.
Get An Appraisal For Anything That Appears Valuable
Some of the items in the estate may have real value, and it's important to get these appraised so that you can determine what to do with them. This is especially true for things like jewelry, art, and collectibles. For instance, oriental rug appraisals often reveal that these popular family heirlooms are worth an absolute fortune on the market.
An appraisal will also help establish a baseline value for insurance purposes in case anything is damaged or stolen during the downsizing process.
Hire A Cleaning Service To Help With The Dirty Work
Let's face it - dealing with other people's messes can be pretty gross. If you're not up for the challenge of cleaning an entire house full of stuff, then hiring a professional cleaning service is definitely the way to go. During a recent estate process, I came across a slow cooker full of chili that almost made me throw up when I lifted the lid and discovered it had probably been sitting there for months.
A good cleaning service will have the necessary equipment and supplies. Don't worry about cleaning up before they come ... they've probably seen much worse than you can possibly imagine.
Thrift Stores Don't Want Everything You Have To Give Away
One of the biggest mistakes people make when trying to declutter their homes is assuming that everything they don't want anymore can be donated to a thrift store. Unfortunately, this is simply not true. While most thrift stores are happy to take donations, they have very specific guidelines about what they will and will not accept.
For instance, many thrift stores will not accept items that are ripped, stained, or otherwise damaged. They also have limits on how many items they will accept from a single donor within a certain period of time. So if you're looking to get rid of a lot of stuff quickly, donation may not be the best option for you.
Just Because It Isn't Worth Money Doesn't Mean You Should Throw It Away
Just because an item doesn't have any monetary value doesn't mean that it's not important to someone. In fact, some of the most valuable things in life are those that cannot be bought or sold.
If you come across something during the downsizing process that has sentimental value but no real monetary worth, take a moment to think about who in your life might appreciate receiving it. Chances are there is someone out there who would love to have it, even if it's just a family member or close friend.
These items can range from photos and postcards to collectible items or even old phones or video game systems if you have someone who enjoys retro games or tinkering.
Estate Sales Are A Great Solution To Getting Rid Of Stuff You've Inherited
If you're looking to get rid of a lot of stuff quickly, an estate sale is probably your best bet. Estate sales are basically like garage sales on steroids, and they're typically handled by professional companies that specialize in this type of thing.
During an estate sale, everything in the house is put up for sale, and people come from all over to try to get their hands on some great deals. The good news is that you don't have to worry about getting rid of anything yourself - the estate sale company will take care of everything for you.
The downside to estate sales is that you usually won't make very much money from them. In most cases, the goal is simply to get rid of everything as quickly as possible.
Consider An Estate Buyout Instead Of Selling Piece By Piece
If you're not interested in dealing with an estate sale, another option is to sell the entire contents of the house to an estate buyout company. These companies will come in and purchase everything in the house for a lump sum of cash.
The benefit of this is that you don't have to worry about selling anything yourself, and you'll get all of the money upfront instead of having to wait for people to purchase items individually. The downside is that you probably won't get as much money for your stuff this way, but it's a lot less hassle.
These are just a few tips to help you downsize when you inherit a house full of stuff.