I recently had a friend who found themselves with a house to clear on relatively short notice and didn’t know where to start and what to do. This blog post is aimed to help you if you find yourself in a similar situation.
This blog post provides a strategy moving forward equipping you with an insight to either do this yourself, let Busy Lives! assist you or hire a house clearance company.
1. What is a House Clearance?
2. How long does it take to complete a House Clearance?
3. What is a House Clearance Company?
4. Preparation – Before Contacting the House Clearance Company:
a. When the company arrives:
5. Clearing out a house yourself.
b. Have a system
c. Throw, Keep Sell, Recycle?
d. Get rid of the rubbish
e. What to do with everything else
6. Being Safe
7. How Busy Lives! can help you with this
What is a house clearance?
Several things may require you to clear out a house, a bereavement, a move or a simple desire to declutter may lead you to clearing a house.
In the most basic terms, a house clearance is when a house is ‘cleared’ of it’s contents. If you are a landlord, you may be disposing of items left behind by a tenant.
The very first thing you will need to do is decide whether you will do the clearance yourself or hire a specialist company to do the job for you.
How long does it take to complete a house clearance?
As a general rule it is said that two people can clear one room in half a day. According to the BBC the average UK house has 5 rooms which would, using the above rule, take two people two and a half days to clear. To be on the safe side I would recommend adding on an extra half of a day. Even if you are planning to use a house clearance company I would still put aside time to go through the house first to ensure you remove any items you wish to keep.
Clearing out a house using a house Clearance Company
What is a house clearance company?
A house clearance company is a company that will empty part or the whole of a house. The cost of this service will depend on the size of the property and how much stuff needs to be removed.
When looking for a house clearance company it is best to review the house first and make a list of all the heavy / bulky items such as large pieces of furniture and appliances.
- Be sure to ring more than one house clearance company for a quote.
- When enquiring for a quote be sure to mention any timescale you might have.
- If the house or flat is has any access issues (no parking, on the 15th floor etc.) be sure to mention it as it may affect the quote given.
- Be aware that some companies may ask to visit the house before giving a quote.
- Book a morning slot so that if anything crops up (e.g. furniture needs to be dismantled) they will have to do it without needing to return a second time therefore saving you some expense.
Before contacting any company, it is a good idea to do some research into them to ensure they are reputable and reliable. This can be done online or by asking friends and family for recommendations.
Preparation – Before Contacting the House Clearance Company
Even if you have decided to use a house clearing company it is a good idea to go through the house yourself and remove any items you want to keep or give to family / friends.
Be sure to check in drawers and cupboards as that is where you are likely to find things hidden away there.
It is best to do this before getting any quotes from companies as the items you remove may affect the quote they give.
When the company arrives
Go through the house with the person in charge of the house clearance company, point out anything that is to remain or items which may need to be disconnected such as cookers. Also point any hidden nooks and crannies which may get missed.
If there is any items you can’t find and would like to keep ask the company to keep an extra pair of eyes out for them while they work (but it is best to try and find and remove items beforehand).
Once you have gone through anything it is best to leave them too it. Ask to be phoned thirty minutes before the company is due to finish so you can be there and check everything has been removed and ensure you get a ‘waste transfer note’ – this covers you legally for waste disposal. This is also when you should receive your invoice. Only after you are happy should you pay.
Clearing out a house yourself.
If you are going to be clearing a house yourself it is best to go in prepared. Before starting gather up any supplies you may need. This includes:
- Packing materials – boxes, tape, marker pens, etc.
- Food and water – if you are clearing out a family members, friends or unknown house you may need to supply your own food for the duration of the clearance.
- Helpers. Having more hands will make the job quicker and easier. (Offering lunch may entice people to help)
Hiring a skip or arranging for a ‘man and a van’ to clear away rubbish.
Have a system
Once you have everything you need to get started you need to formulate a plan – are you going to go room by room? Largest items first?
However, you plan on proceeding, it is a good idea to decide before you start. If you are planning on moving room by room then decide what order you are going to proceed. If you would prefer to get rid of the large items first make a list of what needs to go and where it will be going.
Throw, Keep, Sell, Recycle…
Now you are ready to dive in it’s time to decide what your going to do with each item. If you are working alone then you may be able to keep track of things using a pile system (a pile of things to keep, a pile of thing to throw etc.) however, if you are working with friends then you may need to use a different approach.
One useful system to adopt if you are working in a team is to use coloured dots. Rather than having your team ask you about every item or risk them throwing out something you wanted to keep. Go through everything quickly and ‘dot’ items using stickers. For example, use green dots for things to keep, red dots for things to throw and so on.
It may also be a good idea to pack paperwork into boxes for you to sort out later.
- Don’t hold back.
- Don’t keep things just for the sake of keeping them.
- Be thorough.
- Empty every room, cupboard and drawer.
Get rid of the rubbish
Once you have done a day’s work get rid of the rubbish – either move it all into the skip or make sure your ‘man and a van’ come by and collect it all. This will ensure you having space to work in and all the useless clutter is gone.
Remember to be careful when disposing of paperwork or personal documents. Ensure these are disposed of properly, this could be mean using a shredder or a specialist service.
Also, if you clearing out the house of a deceased relative be sure not to throw away anything important in case it is needed later on. If you are unsure talk to the solicitor / executor before proceeding.
If you come across anything deemed hazardous (this includes things such as chemicals, paint, tyres, batteries, etc.) you must ensure you dispose of them correctly. If you are unsure of what to do contact your local council or recycling centre to find out the appropriate way to dispose of these items.
What to do with everything else?
Now the rubbish is gone you should be left with things you either want to keep or recycle or sell. The easiest thing to do here is move the things you are keeping for giving to friends / family to their new homes.
Once all that is gone you should now be left with things you are getting rid of. Now you have several roads open to you.
Items in good repair may be worth selling. If you stumble upon any antiques, jewellery, or items of value it is a good idea to get them properly valued before selling.
Large items such as furniture can be sold online or to second-hand shops.
You can take items to a car boot sale and sell them there (remember you will most likely have to pay for a plot on the field)
You can sell clothes, DVDs, books, CDs and more online however if you don’t want to individually list items you can go to places that buy clothes based on weight to get rid of them and websites such as ‘Music Magpie’ will bulk buy DVDs, CDs and books.
Ask friends / family if there is anything they would like. Mark it with their name and arrange for it to be collected.
Charities will always be appreciative of donations and some charities will collect items from your home. If you decide to donate to a charity and you have large items such as furniture, call or visit them and ask if they will be willing to collect it.
Some charities cannot take large or heavy items in which case you can either approach a second charity or dispose of the items in another way.
When clearing a house yourself you will most likely need to move heavy furniture around, make sure you get help doing this and work in a safe manner using correct lifting practices – keep your back straight and bend your knees. Also make sure your path is clear and you where you are moving the item to before you lift it.
Open windows to combat dust and if you find an excessive amount of dust or you are going into a dusty area (i.e. the attic) wear a dust mask.
How Busy Lives! can support you with this
Busy Lives! was created when I left a busy career that left me time poor and not able to give sufficient priority to what really mattered to me. I now provide a wide range of business support for people in that position.
I am happy to help by:
- being an extra pair of hand to assist you if you are clearing a house yourself.
- Clear the house for you once instructed where you would like all the items to go.
researching businesses to use if you decide to outsource the task.
- If you need or would like some emotional support for how you’re feeling whilst doing this, I know an excellent therapist I can refer you to who will help you transition through this difficult period.
Let you help you gain precious time back. Ring Busy Lives! 07565 722 031
Drop me a message on LinkedIn / Messenger on Facebook
Or Email: firstname.lastname@example.org