Supplies for cleaning out your parent’s house

Tips for clearing out an aging parent’s or deceased parent’s house

Supplies for cleaning out your parent's house - Long Island NY

When it comes time to clean out your parent’s house, it’s never a fun task.  It’s a lot of manual labor and there’s a lot of emotion thrown into the mix, regardless of whether your parent is moving in with you, going to a nursing home or has already passed.  During these tough times, it helps if you can rely on emotional support of others, and some of them can help you with this task to make it run faster and smoother.

 

Supplies to clean out your parent's houseIt also helps if you can approach this as a professional work project.  This will accelerate the process and help you focus more on the task, rather than the memories and emotion.  Having the right project plan and supplies on hand will enable you to move forward faster.

 

Here’s our best checklist for cleaning out your parent’s home.

 

First assess the Job Scope

Before doing anything, go through every room and roughly guestimate the amount of “stuff” in cubic yards.  Yes, I know what you’re thinking…what the heck is a cubic yard?  Well in terms of visualizing a cubic yard is roughly the size of a dishwasher.  So, think about how many dishwasher’s worth of stuff you have.  This is going to help you figure out how many boxes/bins you will need as well as the size of a dumpster you may need (if you need to order one).

 

Second, you will want to separate items into 4 piles:

  • Keep
  • Sell
  • Donate
  • Trash

 

This will help with the supplies needed for each type. At first, you may just visualize/guestimate what you need.  Then, go and buy/bring the supplies so you can tackle the task efficiently.

 

1.  Boxes

supplies for cleaning your parents' home - moving boxesGenerally 1 cubic yard will fill 3 small moving boxes.  While some people like clear plastic bins because they are reusable, we prefer boxes both because they are less expensive.  And, also boxes are much easier to drop off at donation centers rather then unpacking and reusing the bins.

 

2. Packing Tape

Generally one large roll (with a handled dispenser) is needed for each room.

 

3. Trash Bags

Make sure you get durable bags that are at least 3 millimeters thick.  Thinner bags are likely to tear which will cause a lot or rework.   A 50-gallon trash bag will hold about 1 cubic yard of material.  But, if you’re shorter and/or can’t or don’t want to carry too much at once (it’s better to avoid back injuries or over straining yourself during this process), you may need a few more.  A good rule of thumb is one 25 count box per room.  And, remember, if you have extras, you can just use these later at your own home.

 

4. Gloves

clearing out your parent's home - supplies needed - rubber glovesIt’s better to use gloves both to avoid paper cuts and glass cuts.  We suggest using nitrile or polyurethane gloves because they are easier to work with. (It’s hard to grasp small items with leather gloves and it will slow you down.)  Plan for each person to use two pairs of gloves per day, especially as you’ll want to remove them during lunch and it’s better not to reuse them.

 

5.  Face Masks

I know it sounds odd, but everyone at the job site should wear a mask at all times, and plan to use three masks per person per day. Never use anything without a rating of N95 or P100 – masks without those ratings aren’t safe. You can find them on Amazon or in boxes of 10 in the paint aisle of most hardware stores.  This is just safer for everyone and will especially help people who have dust or mite allergies.  It will also enable you to work longer/tire less.

 

If the job requires more protection, such as a respirator mask, this is a red flag, and you should hire a professional. If there is serious mold or other types of contamination, it’s not worth it to risk it.  Amateurs usually don’t have the right type of equipment or chemicals to take care of this and there are much more serious risks to one’s health.

 

supplies for cleaning out your parent's house - safety glasses6. Safety glasses

Due to dust, and for general safety reasons, it’s best to use eye protection.

 

7.  Work shoe or boots (no sandals)

First, you want to have comfortable shoes.  and, second you want to have safe shoes.  It’s best if your shoes are leather with hard soles so that nails won’t penetrate, and inevitably something may drop on your foot and you want to protect them.  Don’t forget Murphy’s law.  If you don’t protect yourself, something is bound to happen.  Also, don’t forget comfortable clothing.  Pants are generally better than shorts.

 

Cleaning out your parent's house - water bottles8. Water bottles

Don’t forget to keep well hydrated and stock up on the fluids.  This is hard, physical work, and it’s easy to get dehydrated. I’d recommend avoiding drinks with caffeine as those are diuretics…and you will need even more water (and more breaks if you know what I mean).  Afterwards, at the end of the day, treat yourself right with whatever beverage (and food) you prefer.  You deserve it.

 

glass jar for collecting change - supplies for Cleaning out your parent's house9. Large Glass Jar

This will be for collecting the inevitable loose change you’ll find as you clean.  You’ll be amazed at how many coins you’ll find in a house.   And, check out this article for 17+ hiding places for finding money when clearing out your parent’s house.  We recommend using glass so everyone can hear when coins are dropped into it. That makes it more of a game and builds excitement.  The money you collect can go towards dinner.

 

10. Markers/Labels

Get a whole bunch of these as inevitably many will get lost during the process.

 

 

Other items that may come in handy

supplies for clearing your parents' houseIt’s often helpful to have some folding tables (for sorting), brooms/dust pans, cleaning rags, scissors and a pocket knife on hand.  If you are dumping furniture and other bigger items, you may want to order a dumpster as it will save you a lot of time and money.

 

Clearing out an elderly or deceased parent’s house is never fun.  But, it helps if you are organized and have the right tools on hand before you start diving in.  And, if this will help you avoid needing to run out to the store to buy more supplies.  It also helps if you have family members, friends or helpers to make the process go faster.

 

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Supplies for cleaning out your parent’s house

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