Top Tips

Top tips on how to undertake the perfect house clearance or de-clutter exercise

Undertaking a house clearance or even de-cluttering your own home can be very stressful. Here are our top tips to ensure everything goes as smoothly as possible.

1) Plan ahead

Planning the time needed to perform the house clearance will ensure everything else goes smoothly. A good rule of thumb is to allow half a day per room with two people undertaking the clearance. This might seem a lot but, like most things in life, giving yourself enough time to do a job goes a long way to taking away all the stress that comes with it.

2) Sort out the treasures from the unwanteds

Go through everything to decide which items you and your family wish to keep, sell or donate (the treasures), or bin (the unwanteds). Try to be as ruthless as possible. Only keep the items that hold real sentimental value or if they are good enough to be recycled.

3) Arrange for the house to be cleared

There are a myriad of ways that you can do to get rid of decent quality items you don’t want – eBay (there are fees attached to this option), Gumtree, and Freecycle, are all excellent channels but remember that they do require meeting people who you’ve never met before, who are not from a professional organisation. If you do use them, make sure you’re not alone when the person comes to collect. This option is also quite difficult if you are clearing a house that is a distance from where you live. Other options are local charity shops and social enterprises. Note that any upholstered furniture must have a fire-safety certificate or they won’t be able to take it. The Furniture Reuse Network is a UK wide network of social enterprises that aim to maximise furniture reuse.

There are four basic options when it comes to disposing of unwanted items from a house clearance:

a) Take it to the top yourself by cramming it all into the boot of your car or hire a van to take it to the local tip.

b) Call your local council to arrange a bulky waste collection. This should be quite cheap but the downsides are that it will typically take at least a couple of weeks to arrange, will be limited to a maximum number of items (and not real rubbish), and all of the stuff needs to be put outside the property (as they don’t collect from inside).

c) Hire a skip. Skips are charged at a flat rate and require a skip permit if parked on the road. You need to the loading all yourself. Prices vary widely dependent on where you are in the UK – but £170 (incl VAT) for a 6 cubic yard skip is probably a fair benchmark. In addition, you will need to pay for a skip permit (if the skip has to be parked on the road) and, depending on the street, a parking bay suspension. Googling ‘skip hire [your region]’ is the easiest way to find a local skip hire company.

d) Use a professional house clearance and junk removal company. Make sure they hold the appropriate Waste Carrier Licence as you have a duty of care to make sure that your rubbish isn’t fly tipped. Their house clearance rates are similar to hire a skip without the cost of a permit. They will also be able to take away the items that are good enough for recycling or they’ll take them down for donation to local charity shops for you.

4) And finally, don’t forget…

Identity theft is a growing problem in the UK. Consider using a shredder to destroy confidential documents but be careful not to throw out documents you might later need. If you are moving around a lot of items in a house that have been undisturbed for some time you are likely to dislodge a large amount of dust so open plenty of windows before you start and consider wearing a dust mask. Also, take extra care when lifting heavy items.