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Our friends at Full Circle Recycling have provided this expert guide to completing a house clearance: 

Conducting a house clearance can be a daunting task, but with proper planning and organisation, it can be a manageable and efficient process. Whether you’re preparing to move, downsizing, or dealing with the estate of a loved one, this step-by-step guide will help you navigate the house clearance process.

Please Note: If the house clearance is a council property, please ascertain how the house has to be handed back to them. Often, they will ask for the flooring to be taken up but are not forthcoming with this information. A call or better yet an email to have evidence on how they would like the house given back to them gives both parties a goal on what extent to clear the house to.

A private residence typically just needs all items that aren’t fixtures & fittings to be removed. If the clearances’ goal is to sell the property, perhaps after a bereavement then chances are a quick clean will suffice and flooring will not need to be removed as the house will more than likely be sold as a ‘project’. Leaving curtains or blinds up for security is also a good idea.

Step 1: Set Clear Goals and Objectives Before you begin, establish clear goals for the house clearance. Determine what items you want to keep, donate, sell, recycle, or dispose of. Having a plan will make the process more organised and less overwhelming.

Step 2: Gather Necessary Supplies Collect the essential supplies you’ll need for the clearance, including:

  • Boxes, bins, and bags for sorting
  • Packing materials such as bubble wrap and packing paper
  • Tape and markers for labelling
  • Cleaning supplies (brooms, mops, cleaning agents)
  • Tools for disassembling furniture (screwdrivers, spanners)

Step 3: Sort and Categorise Items Begin by going room by room, sorting items into categories, remember as a guide it can take half a day to a full day per standard size room to organise.

  1. Keep: Items you want to keep and move to your home.

You can usually establish what to keep by asking yourself 3 simple questions. 1. Does it hold sentimental value? i.e., photographs etc. 2. Is the item unique? i.e., having lots of items similar will build clutter &3. Does the item add value to your life? If the answer is yes to any of these then it shouldn’t cause clutter in your own home.

  1. Donate: Items in good condition that can benefit others.

Be Aware, that charities are incredibly picky on what items they can take and each has a target audience they collect items for. You may also waste time with a preliminary inspection and then a second collection and often in our experience the collectors don’t often take the items identified on the first inspection. Remember they won’t take any waste.

  1. Sell: identify valuable items you could sell

This can be a time-consuming process, with market variables and changes in fashions. Researching and identifying each item is key but don’t take the first figure online as gospel as to how much an item is worth. Next, you need to find the right place to sell it be it online or locally, give it time to gather interest and meet people or post the item to conclude the deal.

  1. Recycle: Items like paper, cardboard, glass, and plastics.

You could utilise the council’s collection facilities by bagging up these key materials to put out for the council to collect or to drop off at the local amenity site. If you have the time to designate to this, please ensure that your recyclables are not mixed as the council may not accept them.

  1. Dispose: Items that are no longer usable and need proper disposal.

In relation to time and fuel and segregation of waste material, taking items to the local amenity site is the most cost-effective solution. The most expensive would be to utilise skips but be aware of additional costs with permit charges if the skip has to go on council land and multiple exchanges if you have chosen the wrong size. The other solution is it use a mobile skip, a waste collection service conducted on a pay as you fill basis with the labour to load. We can help with this.

Top Tip! DO NOT start reading through letters & Paperwork! Instead, bag these up and go through them at another time, in another place. Why? Imagine taking 5 minutes to read a letter and then multiple this time by how many letters is in the house. You will soon waste the day and feel as though you haven’t achieved anything and there’s nothing more demoralising and energy sapping than that.

Step 4: Create an Inventory List Make an inventory list of the items you intend to keep, sell, donate, or recycle. You can even pop post it notes on the items so everyone is aware of the item’s final existence. This will help you keep track of your belongings and make it easier to declutter.

Step 5: Hire Professionals Depending on the size and complexity of the clearance, you may want to consider hiring professionals, especially for heavy lifting, specialised disposal (e.g., hazardous waste), or estate clearance services. This type of service will assess the end goal for the house clearance and quickly work from room to room, segregating the items for reuse and recycling before loading and leaving the house to the specification you require. This service can be used before any step of this guide and can work around items you haven’t had chance to move if they are to stay.

Step 6: Donate and Sell Once you’ve identified items for donation or sale, arrange for pick-up or drop-off with local charities, thrift stores, or online platforms. Ensure you research any tax deductions or sales platforms to maximise benefits.

Step 7: Clear the Space Now that you’ve sorted and removed items to keep, donate, or sell, it’s time to clear the space. Start with larger items and furniture and work your way down to smaller items and debris. Clean as you go to leave the house in good condition.

Step 8: Dispose of Unwanted Items Dispose of items designated for disposal responsibly. Contact local waste disposal facilities or hire a waste removal service if needed such as our mobile skip service. Be sure to follow regulations for hazardous waste, electronics, and large items.

Step 9: Final Cleaning Perform a thorough cleaning of the entire house, including floors, walls, windows, and appliances. This is especially important if you plan to sell or rent the property.

Step 10: Secure the Property If the property is not occupied, make sure to secure it properly. Lock all doors and windows, draw curtains, leave timer lights and even consider notifying neighbours or the local authorities to keep an eye on it.

Step 11: Document the Process Keep records of your inventory list, receipts for donations or sales, and any expenses related to the clearance. This documentation can be valuable for tax purposes or legal matters.

Step 12: Reflect and Decompress Clearing a house can be emotionally challenging. Take some time to reflect on your memories and allow yourself to decompress from the process.

In conclusion, conducting a house clearance requires careful planning and organisation. By following these steps, you can efficiently declutter your space and ensure that your house clearance goes smoothly and effectively. Conducting a house clearance can put stress & strain on relations with friends and relatives and is by no means a speedy process but hopefully this guide will help

Here's how the team at Full Circle Recycling can help you clear a house:

ProfessionalismThe  experienced team at Full Circle Recycling is here to make your house clearance effortless. They handle every detail, so you don't have to lift a finger.

Customised Solutions: They tailor their services to meet your specific needs, whether you're moving, downsizing, or managing an estate. They first make an assessment of time, Volume & Access. You have their trained team at your disposal and they work out the man power needed and the right vehicles to tailor to your job.

Impeccable Segregation & Separation: Their process starts with the right containers for the specific waste streams a house generates. 80% of the time they go into house clearances blind; carrying the correct tooling and containers on the vehicles. Typically, all they need to know is if cupboards are full to bring the specific containers they need to speed up the clearance. They hand sort room by room processing each material for recycling.

Maximising Reuse: They identify items in the house down to the smallest thing in a black bag and work with MANY charities that each have their target audience they collect items for ensuring much more gets reused. This provides a much broader scope to help individuals across multiple communities.

Responsible Disposal: Their custom 13,000sq ft recycling and reuse waste management facility prioritises ethical and responsible disposal methods. A highly organised hub that has a place for everything and a responsibility that everything is kept in its place.

Peace of Mind: Relax and let them do the heavy lifting, organisation, and clean-up. 

Ready to reclaim your space? Contact Full Circle Recycling Ltd on 0333 772 06 96 for a FREE consultation worth £49.