How to Clean Out an Apartment When the Owner Passes Away

November 26, 2021

When a loved one passes away, it can be challenging to deal with the funeral plans and family gatherings that come with the death of a loved one. During this period of time of the grieving process, feelings are raw and sensitive. However, once the end-of-life event is over and family and friends return to their everyday lives, there is still an apartment to clean out. So who is responsible for cleaning out the apartment after death?

In many cases, the next of kin is the one that is in charge of the deceased’s business and assets. This includes the task of cleaning out the apartment. You can hire an estate lawyer to divide the assets and hire a cleanup team for the cleanout process.  When it comes to cleaning out an apartment after death, you don’t have to do it all by yourself. 

When you hire a trusted cleanup team, you can leave all the stress to them while you focus on taking time to grieve. The team will keep you involved with cleaning out the house, boxing up any items for donation. But, whether you hire a team or not, there is a necessary process to follow for cleaning out an apartment.

Where to Start: Cleaning Out Apartment after Death

Once you can breathe after the funeral arrangements have been made and family has left town, you still have to determine what to do with the house after a death. You may feel overwhelmed at the prospect of an estate cleanout. In some cases, the apartment or home may have 50 years of stuff gathered inside. 

Before cleaning out an apartment after a death, look to this step-by-step guide: 

  1. Lock Up the Home: While the home does not have to be sorted through and cleaned out right away, it does need to be secured. Remember to visit the house, unplug appliances, shut off lights, and set the temperature to an appropriate setting. And then lock up the home to be revisited after the funeral services. 
  2. Review the Will: Carefully read the important documents that the deceased left behind, including the will, estate plan, or any trusts. If the apartment is included in the estate plan, turn it over to whoever gets it. If it is to be sold and split up, you will have to clean it out first. Any items inside the estate need to be distributed to the benefactors if specified in the will. 
  3. Ask Around to Family and Friends: Once you have dispersed all of the sentimental items that were included in the will, you may want to ask around to friends and family. For example, maybe the deceased did not have the forethought to write down who gets grandmother’s rocking chair. In that case, you can ask if anyone would like big-ticket or family-valued items before donating or selling them. 
  4. Set a Time Limit: If you plan to clean out the home little by little, it may be a drawn-out process that brings stress to your everyday life. Set a time limit to get the house or apartment up for sale. That way, you will stick to a schedule and be done cleaning out the apartment in a timely manner. 
  5. Consult an Estate Liquidation Expert: Meet with an appraiser specializing in antiques and estate cleanouts to ensure there isn’t something of high value in the home. For example, sometimes the nightstand or an old mirror can have a rich history. You want to understand which items you should keep or sell. 
  6. Divide into Keep, Sell, Donate, Trash: Once the after-death affairs are in order, you can start dividing up the items and furniture in a home. Sort them into large piles. And a team can box it all up and haul it away for you at your convenience. 
  7. Hold an Estate Sale: For items that loved ones did not claim, you can place them for sale. Post on social media and in the newspaper that you have an estate sale and all items must go. If an estate sale does not work for you, you can hire an estate liquidator to sell off all assets and give you the profits. 
  8. Hire Professionals to Haul It All Away: After you have completely exhausted yourself with sorting and pondering over items of sentimental value, a professional team can haul the items away to their various destinations. When you hire a team you can trust, you can rest assured that everything will be delivered without delay. 

While cleaning out an apartment can be physically and emotionally exhausting, you don’t have to do it by yourself. Instead, ask friends and family members or friends for support during the time. And use a team to take away the big items that are in good condition for selling. Then, when you have one less item on your to-do list, you have more time to heal emotionally. 

For Landlords

If you own an apartment or home and your tenant has passed away, you must follow similar steps for cleaning out the apartment after a death. The only difference is that if you do not have contact with the next of kin, you must keep the belongings in a storage unit for a specified amount of time before opening them up for public sale. 

If the next of kin never steps up, an estate sale can be held.  Follow your local statutes for the protocol regarding selling off items of a deceased tenant. Typically, the next of kin only has access to the property when they reimburse you for the storage unit and cleaning costs. 

Contact Professionals

At Junk-A-Haulics, we can help with cleaning out apartment after death. We will take special care of your loved one’s estate. We can sort through items and haul it all away, so it’s out of your hair. You do not have to take multiple trips to the donation center when our team is at your disposal. Instead, focus on what really matters while Junk-A-Haulics does the rest. 

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