The death of a loved one is always a difficult experience. From the shock of the initial loss to the emotional upheaval of the burial to the potential financial toll, it can all be draining and overwhelming. Most often, the last thing on anyone’s mind is the cleanup left behind or how it can affect the environment. Below are six suggestions to help you go through this complex process in a healthy, efficient and respectful manner.
Cleaning and organizing your loved one’s estate can be a lengthy and complicated process. You may feel tempted to put it off entirely, but that’s not a healthy way to deal with things. It will be hard on you, but ignoring the situation will not make it go away. As the dust settles, everything will just become harder to face, so dive in as soon as you can.
When facing the closing out and cleaning up of a loved one’s estate, it’s best to approach each stage of the process one step at a time. Make lists of things you need to accomplish, and focus on checking each item off as you complete it. For example, ensuring you use eco-friendly products to physically clean things means a shopping list. Separating recyclable items from disposable items can be another list, and so on.
Look Through Everything
While it would be easier to ignore the specifics of the dearly departed — taking care of the less complicated items and setting the harder, more taxing concerns to the side — it’s just not a realistic solution. When we pass from this world, we leave everything behind, and we tend to accumulate a lot of items throughout our lifetime. Paperwork, personal information and many other elements require your full attention. Look for a junk removal service that also offers recycling to handle electronics, furniture and other items that might otherwise end up in a landfill.
Be Honest With Yourself
Saying goodbye to items and possessions can be difficult, but when letting go is tied into a moment of grief or loss, it can become even harder. In this moment, you will need to be completely honest with yourself and what you should hold onto. You may not want to part with some items for nostalgia’s sake, but sentimentality can only go so far when faced with reason and logic.
Cleaning out a loved one’s estate can be a therapeutic exercise, as well as being a necessary one. Asking yourself what you want to hold onto and what you should sell or donate will benefit your health and the environment in multiple ways. Clutter invites debris and bacteria, which are never positive. Shred outdated paperwork to serve as compost materials, and donate clothes and shoes to Goodwill or the Salvation Army rather than throwing them away.
Handle Active Accounts
By going through every piece of paper and sorting through the various bills and financial activities of the departed, you are closing a very important loop. While there are no specific aspects beneficial to the environment, items such as taxes, issues such as debt, bills or scheduled payments require attention and closing. Make sure you fully close these elements to avoid a financial or legal backlash.
Clean Every Surface & Crevice
Cleaning out the estate of a departed loved one not only means sorting and setting things aside, it also means making trash piles. Physically cleaning and purging the estate of dirt, germs and bacteria is a necessary exercise not only for health reasons, but for financial value as well. Once you decide to sell off items from an estate, or the estate itself, cleanliness becomes a necessity. The very act of dying results in body odor, skin and tissue, and, at times, bodily residue which needs to be dealt with. You want to ensure you clean these elements completely and in a healthy way.
Even the method of cleaning an estate can affect your health and the health of anyone who comes after you. One way to protect your health comes from using eco-friendly products to scrub, wipe and polish all surfaces and objects. Substituting products like antibacterial sprays and ammonia with eco-friendly products, or even lemon and vinegar mixtures, can result in healthy benefits and great returns. Going green in this instance can result in a healthier area and environment, better air quality and reduce the strain on your wallet.
Don’t Work Alone
Cleaning an estate is a challenging, taxing experience for many reasons. Remember, you do not need to go through it alone. It’s an important thing to remember and accept, not only for support reasons, but also to broaden your scope. Having a partner or a group work with you during this process can lessen the workload and introduce new avenues to explore to complete the work. Your partner could be an expert on eco-friendly cleaning methods, and having a dedicated group with you could open the doors to greater recycling opportunities. The point is to surround yourself with dedicated and informed people.
While we all experience loss and the fallout of death, we should have alternatives to how we handle, clean and process what our loved ones leave behind.