How To Clean Out A Loved One’s Belongings After They Pass

Posted on January 20, 2023 by Maine Cremation Care under Mourning
Leave a comment

Anytime a loved one passes away, it is an incredibly difficult and challenging time for those left behind. But on top of the grief and sadness accompanying such a loss, there is also the practical task of cleaning out their home and precious belongings. 

Though an estate cleanout can be extremely overwhelming after the death of a loved one, having a clear plan of action and understanding of the process can make it easier. Read on for six tips from Maine Cremation Care that will help you tackle this somber but necessary task. 

Create A Plan For Cleaning Out A Loved One’s Belongings

Having a plan before starting the process of cleaning out your loved one’s belongings will help ensure that it goes smoothly. First, determine who will participate in the cleanout process and assign each person specific tasks based on their skill set or comfort level (e.g., organizing documents versus sorting through clothing). Consider whether any items need special handling, like furniture or electronics, that require professional movers, and any local organizations where donations can be made to honor your loved one’s memory. Assigning each person a task will keep everyone on track and prevent burnout.

Start With Small, Non-Sentimental Items

When it comes to sorting through your loved one’s items, it’s best to start small. Begin with the easiest items like papers, books, clothing, and small knick-knacks. Then, work your way up to more emotionally charged items like photographs or large items like furniture. It may be tempting to try and do everything at once, but it’s better to approach it slowly so that you don’t become overwhelmed. 

Make Lists To Streamline The Process

Making lists of items that need attention and tasks that need to be completed can be helpful when cleaning out a home, as it gives order and structure to the process. Make separate lists of items you want to save, donate, sell, or throw away, and chores or cleaning that needs to be done. This will provide clarity so that you don’t forget any tasks or items that need attention. Making lists also allow other family members who may be helping with the process to know what needs to be done and where things are located at different times. 

Take Breaks When Needed 

Cleaning out a home after a loved one’s death is an emotionally draining experience, so make sure to take plenty of breaks throughout the process. Take trips outside for fresh air or have friends come over who can provide emotional support and moral encouragement as you go through each room. Don’t be afraid to take time off if needed; grieving can take months or even years before you feel like yourself again. Be sure to communicate with family members assisting in the estate cleanout and tag them in when needed. 


Know What You Can Throw Away 

Knowing what items can safely be thrown away without consequence is important when cleaning out a home after someone passes away. It is important that you know which items need special consideration, such as documents that need to be shredded or electronics that need to be appropriately recycled to avoid any legal issues later on down the line. Make sure you check with local government offices if you need help figuring out which items require special care upon disposal. 

Don’t Be Afraid To Ask For Help

Cleaning out a loved one’s belongings is a task that is often too large for just one person.  Ask close family members or friends if they would like to help in any way, whether it’s cleaning the estate, organizing items, or making trips to a local donation center. Even if someone can just keep you company while you sort through things, that can make all the difference in helping you stay focused on what needs to be done.

Hire Professional Help To Perform Estate Cleanout Services

Performing an estate cleanout on your own is not only mentally challenging but also physically tough. Depending on your circumstances, you may want to hire a local professional cleanout service to haul away big-ticket items such as furniture or large amounts of junk for you. They can take care of the heavy lifting, removing some of the stress off of your shoulders. 

Cleaning out a loved one’s home after they pass away is never an easy task, but understanding what needs to be done and how best to approach it can make the process smoother and ultimately more bearable. Taking breaks when needed, starting small, and asking for help are all strategies that will help ease the burden of this difficult job of going through a loved one’s belongings so that families can honor them in peace. 


As always, we are happy to help you in the process and answer any questions you may have about estate cleanouts after a loved one’s passing. Head to our website to learn more about our services, or call our 24/7 number for assistance. 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *