How to Manage a Deceased Estate Clean Up

Losing a loved one is always a difficult time. In addition to coping with your grief, you may also be tasked with disposing of your loved one’s belongings. However, it is often necessary in order to close the estate.

When someone passes away, there are many things left behind. Items like clothing, books, pictures, and other objects fill up homes and attics, garages, basements, sheds, storage units, and closets. Some people don’t want to deal with it, while others find it difficult to let go.  

The first step is to create an inventory of all the items in the home. Then you can begin sorting through everything, keeping only those items that have sentimental value or are necessary for legal purposes. The rest can be donated, sold, or thrown away.

You’ll also need to choose the best rubbish removal option to take care of belongings and furniture that are no longer required. 

Clearing out a deceased estate can be a difficult and emotional process, but following these steps will help make it a bit easier.

What is a Deceased Estate Clean Up?

When a loved one passes away, their belongings are often left behind. If there is no one to take care of the estate, the task of cleaning out the home can fall to the family members or next of kin. 

Loved ones belongings

This can be an emotional and overwhelming task, made even more difficult by the fact that most people are not familiar with the process of clearing out a deceased estate.

A deceased estate is the property of a person who has died, and which has not been dealt with in their will. If the deceased did not leave a will, or if their will is invalid, their estate will be distributed according to the laws of intestacy.

In Australia, this usually means that the estate will be divided between the deceased’s spouse and children. However, if the deceased was not married and had no children, their estate will be divided between their parents, siblings, and other relatives. Dealing with a deceased estate can be a complex and time-consuming process, so it is important to seek legal advice as soon as possible.

Deceased estates can be complex, especially if the deceased owned property or had significant debts. The executor of the estate is responsible for dealing with all of the deceased’s assets and liabilities, as well as any tax obligations. This can be a big task, and physically cleaning up the property and possessions can feel like an overwhelming part of this process. 

Deceased estate clean ups can be emotionally challenging, but they are an important part of moving on after a loved one passes away.

What to Do with Deceased Estate Items

If you are unsure about what to do with items from a deceased estate, here are some tips that may help. 

  1. Consider Items You’d Like to Keep 

First, consider whether there are any sentimental items that you would like to keep. These might include jewellery, photos, or keepsakes.

  1. Allow Family Members to Take Special Items 

You can ask your family members to help you sort through and choose which items they would like to keep. It also ensures that you don’t inadvertently donate something that someone else wanted.

  1. Donate Your Items

Make a list of the things that you want to donate to your loved one’s favourite charity shop, whether they preferred Lifeline or their local Salvation Army store. When you know that something is for a worthy cause, it makes it easier to part with items. 

Donating clothes

  1. Sell Online

You can list your items on eBay, Facebook Marketplace or Gumtree. Make sure to include pictures and descriptions of each item. Try to price your items fairly for a quick sale to avoid the task dragging out for too long. 

  1. Garage Sales 

People love to buy second hand things. If you’re going to hold a garage sale or an estate sale, be sure to price things fairly so that they don’t cost too much. This gives you the best chance of selling everything. 

Throwing a garage sale

  1. Professional Estate Sale 

Because you’ll need to sell each item separately to get the highest price, this could take a lot longer than selling them together. It may be cheaper and easier to hire an estate clearance service than to sell individual items yourself. 

  1. Dispose of Rubbish 

If there are any remaining items to dispose of, hire a skip bin to remove them. If you haven’t used this rubbish removal method before, look into the costs of skip bin hire – it’s more affordable than you’d think! 

Large items like old furniture are usually not worth keeping if it’s too damaged to be used anymore. Hiring a skip is the fastest, easiest way to complete an estate clearance, as long as you choose the right type of skip bin for the items.

Don’t feel overwhelmed by having to dispose of worn out furniture and other household goods. Remind yourself that these aren’t the items your loved one cherished most, and you can still hold onto any special mementos. 

Whatever you decide to do, make sure that you take your time and do not feel pressured to make any sudden decisions. Dealing with a deceased estate can be a challenging process, but by following these tips, you can make it a little easier.

 How to Handle a Deceased Estate Clean Up

A deceased estate clear out can be a daunting task, especially if you’re not sure where to start. Here are some simple steps to make the process easier. 

 Talk to an Estate or Probate Lawyer

The first step is to contact a local probate lawyer or estate planning specialist to help you navigate the legal process. If you’ve been appointed as the executor of a deceased estate, there are a few things you need to do in order to get started.

First, you’ll need to apply for a grant of probate from the court. This will give you the legal authority to deal with the estate. Once you have the grant of probate, you can start dealing with the deceased’s assets and liabilities. You’ll also need to make sure that all of the deceased’s taxes are paid up to date.

If the estate has value, then you might not be able to distribute any belongings until after the court proceedings are complete. In that case, you may be able to start on a few steps on this list in the meantime, like taking inventory and redirecting mail. 

Make Sure the Home is Safe & Secure

After a loved one has passed away, one of the first things you’ll want to do is make sure their property is secure, especially if there are still valuables inside. 

First, make sure that all of the doors and windows on the property are secure. This includes the main entrance, side entrances, garage doors, basement and attic access points, and even windows inside rooms like bathrooms and kitchens. 

Next, consider replacing the locks on every door and window. Deadbolts are best because they prevent the latch from being opened from the outside. 

Finally, make sure any burglar alarm systems are working and you have the correct codes. You don’t want anyone breaking into the home ahead of your estate clean-up.

Redirect the Decedent’s Mail

You may be entitled to receive free mail redirection if a loved one has passed away. This allows you to continue receiving their mail at another address, such as your own or a PO Box. This will ensure you receive any bills or correspondence in a timely manner. 

Australian Post requires a copy of the grant or letters of administration showing that the applicant is an executor or administrator of the deceased estate. If there is no executor or administrator, a family member can also apply for free mail redirection.  

Plan & Schedule the Clean Up in Advance

When you’re planning a deceased estate clean-up, it might be helpful to schedule a date and time to do so. This way, you don’t end up spending hours trying to find something while you’re already busy doing another task. You’ll also want to make sure everyone in the family knows about the cleaning event. You may be able to get volunteers from other loved ones. 

Planning in advance gives you the opportunity to book a skip bin, making it easy to dispose of any rubbish or unwanted household items as you go. This means you can move furniture and other bigger items early, giving you time and space to sort through smaller possessions.  

Finally, you’ll want to shop for all the supplies you might need, such as trash bags, tape, and cleaning products. Having everything ready to go will minimise interruptions during the sorting process.  

Allow Yourself Enough Time

When cleaning out an estate, it can be easy to get caught up in the moment. You might think that you just need to go through the motions. However, rushing through the process could lead to problems down the road. For example, if you haven’t taken the time to properly dispose of items, you run the risk of having to pay exorbitant fees to have those items removed. Or, you could end up wasting money by purchasing something that isn’t needed. Take the time to make sure that everything is done correctly.

The death of a loved one can be devastating. There are many emotions that come along with it. While dealing with grief is difficult, there are ways to cope. One way to do so is to give yourself some time to grieve. This does not mean that you shouldn’t move forward with the estate clean out. In fact, it is important to keep things moving forward. If you don’t want to deal with the task, find someone else to handle it. However, giving yourself time to grieve allows you to focus on what needs to happen next.

Make an Inventory List of All Items

You might want to take an inventory list of everything in the deceased estate. This makes it easier to track what’s included in the deceased estate and make decisions about what to do with the items.

Making a list of belongings

Start by making a list of every item in the home. Start with the most obvious places and work your way up from there. For example, write down each room’s contents, starting with the kitchen and working your way into the bedrooms, bathroom, living areas, garage, basement, attic, office, storage spaces, closets, and drawers.

Don’t forget items outside the house, including the garage or shed. Examples include gardening tools, lawn mowers, leaf blowers, power equipment, outdoor furniture, grills, patio sets, and even bicycles. You’ll also want to check the contents of any storage lockers or storage space rented. 

You may want to dispose of rubbish or worn-out items as you go, but keep a record of what you throw out, just in case. If you’re planning to sell items or have them valued, you can also take pictures at this point. 

Find All the Essential Paperwork

You’ve got lots of important documents scattered around the house. Birth certificate? Check. Marriage licence? Check. Insurance policy? Check. Passport? Check. You might even have some old bills lying around. When a loved one passes away, you can be sure their important paperwork will also be in need of some organising. 

Filling out paperwork

These important documents include birth certificates, marriage licences, divorce decrees, death certificates, wills, deeds, leases, mortgages, car registrations, insurance policies, bank statements, utility bills, tax records, medical records, and others.

Key places to look for paperwork include the home office (including filing cabinet), kitchen drawers and in the closet. You’ll also want to check the garage, attic or linen closet, ensuring you’ve covered all possible storage spots. 

If the deceased has a safe deposit box, you may also want to check if there’s anything stored in there, like records of stocks and bonds. 

Here are some of the most important documents to find in a deceased estate: 


If your loved one died unexpectedly, you might not know the contents of his/her will yet. If they had a sudden death, it’s essential to carefully read through their will before beginning to clear out their estate. Some wills are simple; however, some are more complicated and may require the help of an attorney. If a lawyer is needed, the executor of a will is responsible for choosing one.

If someone dies without a valid will, the law automatically appoints a guardian to administer his or her affairs. This person usually is a close relative—usually a spouse or child—and he or she must file a petition asking the court to take over. Once appointed, the guardian takes control of everything in the deceased’s name. He or she collects the assets, pays bills, handles investments, sells real property, and disposes of personal property.

A will can also specify other details, like funeral arrangements or how someone wants to be buried. 

Bank & Financial Statements

If you want to be sure that you’re not missing any important details when settling an estate, carefully review all bank statements. Be sure to get copies of your loved one’s death certificate in order to settle accounts. You may also need to contact the Australian Tax Office if there are outstanding taxes or other debts owed by the deceased. 

 Bills & Debts

If someone dies without having paid off debts or bills, it falls upon the family members to sort out what needs to happen. This includes making sure that the deceased’s estate pays off the remaining amount owed. If the person had a life insurance policy, the next of kin should contact the insurer to make sure that the claim gets processed.

A good way to avoid confusion is to set up a spreadsheet listing all the debts and bills that must be paid. You can use this list to keep track of whether or not each payment has been made, and who will be responsible for paying each one. The first step is to contact each creditor to notify them of the death and find out what needs to be paid, as well as due dates. 

Go Through All Personal Belongings

Once you have the green light to begin clearing out the deceased’s belongings, it’s important to take your time and sort through everything methodically. We recommend starting small and tackling each room at a time. Start by doing something simple, such as cleaning out the garage, the pantry, or the laundry room.

Begin by making three piles: one for items to keep, one for items to donate, and one for items to discard. Anything that is broken, stained, or otherwise damaged should be placed in the discard pile, or directly in a skip bin. 

Next, go through the remaining items and decide which ones have sentimental value and which ones can be passed on to someone else. Finally, pack up the remaining belongings and arrange for them to be either stored or sold.

When it comes to more sentimental possessions, don’t be afraid if you feel sad remembering past events. There will be plenty of happy moments too. If you think that any of the items in your house might be valuable, get them professionally appraised. 

If you feel conflicted about parting with something, keep just one part of it — for example keep a single cup or dish instead of a whole set of dishes. You can also take photos of any possessions you start with. It helps you remember people who’ve passed away by letting you keep something special, without taking on any more possessions than you have space for.

Letting go of things when they no longer serve a useful purpose isn’t something to fear. If you don’t think there’s anything useful or meaningful about it, then it would be better to donate it, sell it, or get rid of it. Keep a record of what’s thrown out, though, in case anyone has questions about the estate management. 

Deep Clean the Home

If the house is left to you, you may want to move in if you’d like to live there. If you’re not planning to move into the house, you can prepare it for sale by making sure everything is clean and neat. If you’re not sure whether you want to sell the house, you might also consider renting it out for a short period of time until you decide.

Whichever option you choose, you’ll want to give the house a deep clean after you’ve cleared out all the belongings. A deep clean should include vacuuming, dusting, mopping, wiping down surfaces, washing windows, emptying trash cans and disposing of garbage. Clean the house thoroughly, dust everything off and clean off any cobwebs.

If you’ve decided to sell your loved one’s estate, the next step would be to get the property ready for sale by fixing any issues with the house and making sure everything is in working order.

Here are some extra steps you can take to prepare the property for sale: 

  • Have all carpets professionally shampooed 
  • If there are hidden wood floors, remove coverings and resurface them 
  • Replace any chipped or cracked floor tiles
  • Remove outdated curtains or blinds and clean windows 
  • Patch cracks and repaint walls in a light neutral colour 
  • Clean the home’s exterior and potentially refinish 
  • Refresh the landscaping and tidy any overgrowth 

Ask your family members if they can help with the clean-up process. If you are unable to find someone, hire a professional cleaning service to do the work for you.

Take Care of Yourself During the Clean Out

While you are grieving, it is important to take good care of yourself. This includes eating well, exercising regularly, getting plenty of sleep, and taking breaks throughout the day. These steps will ensure that you have energy to continue doing what needs to be done. Additionally, being able to relax helps you work through the emotions associated with losing a loved one.

Receiving support

 If necessary, arrange for some time off work during the estate clean-up. This allows you time and space to handle estate matters and take care of yourself. 

If Necessary, Hire a Professional Estate Cleaner

Many DIY estate managers significantly undervalue the amount of work involved when cleaning out a house. If you feel overwhelmed because there’s too much stuff to sort through, it might be best to hire someone else to help you.

A deceased estate clean up in Australia is a service that helps families to deal with the task of sorting through and clearing out a loved one’s belongings. 

This type of company will come in and assess the situation, then provide a quote for the work that needs to be done. Once the quote is accepted, the company will send a team of cleaners to the home to tidy up. They will typically start by sorting through the belongings and deciding what can be kept and what needs to be thrown away. Often this will involve hiring a skip for convenient disposal of unwanted items. 

They will then deep clean all of the rooms, paying special attention to areas that may have been neglected. Finally, they will pack up any remaining belongings and arrange for them to be donated or disposed of, and the skip will be collected for sorting. 

The team of professional cleaners will work quickly and efficiently to remove all unwanted items from the home, leaving it clean and clutter-free. They will also dispose of any hazardous materials in accordance with local regulations. 

This service can provide some much-needed relief for grieving family members, and help to make the process of moving on just a little bit easier. However, many people prefer to carry out this process themselves, ensuring they handle the deceased estate personally. 

You should always choose the option which is most comfortable for you, and helps you respect the memory of your loved one. 

Related Questions

 How Much Does It Cost for Deceased Estate House Clearances?

Prices depend on the size, type and location of the property. This may be an hourly rate or a custom quote for the entire job, including loading up a skip bin, emptying the contents, and disposing of the waste. There are many factors involved in determining how much it costs to clean up an estate, such as the size of the home, the number of rooms, whether or not the house needs repairs, etc.

 What Is the Best Way to Dispose of Deceased Estate Rubbish?

Once you have taken care of the sentimental items, you can dispose of the rest by donating them to charity, taking them to a recycling centre, or simply throwing them away. For old and worn items, hiring a skip bin is a good way to get rid of unwanted items in a cost-effective and convenient way. However, make sure you read up on what can and can’t go in a skip bin to ensure you don’t include any hazardous items, like paint or household chemicals.