Sunday, December 28, 2014

Cleaning Out a Deceased Relative House

Antique Radio
If anyone has ever had to clean out the home of a deceased family member, they can tell you how challenging it could be. It’s something that most of us don’t want to think about or have to face. I've heard time and time again that someone cleaned out a family member’s house and threw away all the family papers, records, photographs and furniture. 

Yes, this can be a difficult task. It is a task that must be carefully thought about and planned. The first thing that I suggest is go through each room one room at time. Access the room, look at the items carefully and decide what you want to do with them. If there’s a group of people working together, put together a plan.

 If there is a person in charge, they should make it clear that nothing should be thrown away without consulting with the person in charge. If it is large furniture and large items, you can post little sticky notes on the items to say what you want. Whether you are donating to the Goodwill or giving them to a family member, it would help the people who are helping you to achieve your goals for the items. For the smaller items and personal items, it would help to get three boxes and put them in the middle of the floor. Mark each one as follows: Box one: keep; box two: donate to family members who want them; box three: donations for Goodwill. 

Photo: Unknown
Now, most important is the paperwork. No more than two people should handle the papers and other documents in the house if it can be arranged. The reason that I am suggesting this is to avoid having important papers and other documents thrown away. Too often this happens and people lose valuable documents and family papers because too many people were handling the documents.

Read every document carefully, and if you’re unsure whether it’s something you should keep, just hold on to it at least six months to a year. When it comes down to old photographs, please don’t throw them away. Check around and see if anyone in your family, church or community can recognize the people, places or know something about the location of the picture. If all else fails, please consider contacting your local university or genealogy society to see if they would take the photographs to be preserved.

Finally, please, if aren't pushed for a date to move out of the home, don’t be in a big rush. After all you don’t want to throw away important items, documents, and photographs that you would regret later.