Guide to Emptying Your Parents’ Home When Selling

Stepping back into your parents’ house after their deaths can be overwhelming and emotional. Trying to figure out what to keep and give away, as well as creating a plan to list the house in such a short amount of time, can make the grieving process that much more challenging.

Because of this, you’ll want the process of cleaning out the home to run as smoothly as possible. When cleaning out your parents’ home after death, there are many things you’ll need to consider. From making lists that keep you organized to hiring those who can help with the decluttering and selling of the home, there are plenty of ways to make the process easier.

Most importantly, it’s best to enlist the help of your loved ones and professionals who will stand by your side during this trying time.

couple emptying and selling parents home after death

How to Clean Out Your Parents’ House After Death

Before beginning the task of sorting through old keepsakes and memories, it’s beneficial to create a plan that you can follow throughout the cleaning and selling process. Planning ahead not only makes the process easier but also gives you more control over emotional and logistical challenges.

Creating goals and compiling a list of who to get in contact with will help things run smoothly, relieving the burden from your shoulders.

Assess the Situation

Grief can make everything feel a lot heavier, which means it can be easy to make rash or emotional decisions during this type of situation. Because of this, you’ll need to assess the situation from a logical standpoint.

If your parents have an attorney, reach out to them and figure out if there is a will or trust. If there is one of these documents, you have a comprehensive understanding of how your loved ones want their belongings handled after their passing.

If you weren’t left with a will or trust, take time to figure out if you need to declutter your parents’ house, sort through items, or find out the value of the home. When you get an idea of what you’re dealing with, it’s time to start making a comprehensive plan to follow.

Create a Comprehensive Plan

Next, create a plan that you can follow closely to efficiently carry out your loved one’s wishes. If there’s a will or trust in place, an executor may oversee the distribution and cleaning process.

In cases without a designated executor, collaboration with family and friends is essential for allocating responsibilities. With the help of friends and family, you can prioritize what tasks or rooms should be handled first. Creating a plan tailored to your needs will give you the freedom to approach this task however you see fit.

how to clean out and sell your parents' home

Take Time to Sort and Declutter

Once you have a reliable plan in place, it’s time to start sorting through your parents’ possessions. This can be a bittersweet moment. It can be heavy to deal with the emotional ties that you associate with these objects as you move forward, but it can also be a great time to reminisce with your loved ones and share stories that you recall about certain objects, furniture, and other possessions.

To effectively clean out the house after a death, the best strategy is to split the belongings into three categories: keep, sell/donate, and discard. Most likely, if not directed in a will or trust, your family may be going back and forth on who gets to keep what. Sort through the objects that you and your loved ones covet and create a fair plan on who gets each item. This can be an emotionally taxing process, so approach it with empathy and an open mind.

If there are items that nobody in your family wants but are in good condition, consider either donating them to a charity or thrift store. What you may consider garbage is another person’s treasure; give another person the opportunity to make memories with these possessions.

Additionally, you have the option to sell objects that you don’t want. There are many professionals who clean a house after a death and organize and execute estate sales after the passing of a family member. These services make it easier for you so you can focus on other necessary duties.

Lastly, if there are objects that no one wants or you don’t think anyone will buy, you can simply discard them. While it can be hard to throw away things that belonged to your parents, it can help you move forward and focus on the possessions that mean the most to you.

Seek Out Decluttering Services

If you’re struggling with the reality of having to sort through your parents’ possessions, there are companies that provide services to clean out houses after death. These professionals will empathize with your situation and make the process a lot less overwhelming, giving you the means to handle the heaviness of loss.

A decluttering or cleanout company will develop a moving plan that is specific to your needs and timeline and handle the sorting, organizing, and packing of these belongings.

Contact a Local Real Estate Agent

Once you have cleaned out your parents’ home, it’s time to sell it to a new family so they can make their own memories. While you may be contemplating using Zillow, it’s always best to hire a local real estate agent who knows the area and has experience in selling homes of those who have passed on.

An experienced realtor will take the burden off of your shoulders and focus on successfully selling your home. Judy Michaelis and her team are here to help you move through the process from beginning to end. If you are struggling with cleaning a house after a death, we can refer you to an organizational company that will prioritize your needs.

When you’re ready to sell your parents’ home in Westport, Connecticut, contact us and tell us what you need. We’re here to help.