What To Keep, Donate, Sell, and Discard When Cleaning Out a House of a Loved One
Following the passing of a loved one such as a parent, grandparent, relative or close family friend what do I do with all of their household items?
Since many people do not realize how to handle all of the various categories of things found in the common household and are overwhelmed with even beginning the process. To get you started, we spoke with Court Ebeling of Carter's Home Downsizing to get a room-by-room guide on what to Keep, Donate, Discard, Recycle, and Sell*. *Shredding is not mentioned below except for the office but confidential documents may be found throughout the household and should be reviewed closely and if they are not needed destroyed properly.
Keep: Cooking related items you truly need or could use to upgrade what you have in your own kitchen
Donate: Functional items in good condition or better – pots and pans, flatware, glassware, mixing bowls, etc. - canned goods and other food may be donated to the local food pantry
Discard: Anything chipped, cracked, broken or worn beyond use including china, glass, dishes, old food in the refrigerator and canned goods and packaged food with expired dates
Recycle: Dirty, discolored, rusty cooking pots and pans, worn utensils, out-of-date and non-functioning small appliances
Sell: Vintage cookware, Le Creuset pots and pans, Fiestaware, Stangl plates and bowls, etc.
Keep: Put family photos, heirloom jewelry and important personal paperwork in a safe place to take home to review more closely and distribute to the appropriate family members
Donate: Clothing, shoes, accessories, linens, books to local libraries and retirement communities, paperbacks to our soldiers, hotel toiletries to homeless shelters
Discard: Undergarments, old toiletries, old medicine, used/old makeup, no value items from the “junk drawer”
Recycle: Eyeglasses, old electronics, wire coat hangers to your local dry cleaner, towels and blankets to your favorite animal shelter
Sell: Vintage jewelry, Zippo cigarette lighters, coin collections, designer clothing to consignment shops
Living Room/Family Room/Den
Keep: Heirloom quality china, silver sets and artwork if desired
Donate: Lower value furniture, incomplete china sets, extra glassware, CD’s and DVD’s
Discard: Used candles, coasters, incomplete board games and puzzles
Recycle: Non confidential paperwork, magazines, newspapers, old greeting cards, soiled tablecloths and placemats
Sell: Crystal bowls, Hummel figurines, Lladro figurines and related collectibles
Keep: Recent tax returns, home improvement records, current files
Donate: Old phones to our soldiers, outdated but working electronics to schools or charities
Discard: Office supplies that are no longer functional - Pens that don’t work, dried up erasers, etc.
Recycle: Obsolete fax machines, printers, power cords, old trade publications, ink cartridges
Sell: Furniture and higher-end electronics when updating/upgrading
Shred: Credit card statements, tax returns over seven years old, bank statements, old confidential business and related records
Keep: Family memorabilia, personal items and other heirlooms
Donate: Clothing, picture frames, low-value knick knacks, books in better condition to your local library
Discard: Worn out suitcases, baby cribs and car seats, anything low value damaged by the heat and cold from sitting for years that can’t be recycled
Recycle: Rusty bed frame rails, corroded metal fans, non-confidential paperwork
Sell: Antiques, old dolls, vintage toys and trains, sports, movie and political memorabilia
Keep: Better quality hand and power tools and related machines and equipment if truly needed
Donate: Children’s toys, exercise equipment, games in good condition or better
Discard: Damp, musty, moldy books and record albums, broken modern toys
Recycle: Outdated electronics, rusty tools, old wiring, non-functioning dehumidifiers
Sell: Duplicate or unneeded tools, musical instruments that are no longer used, vintage stereos
Keep: Better quality hand and power tools, shelving and storage bins if needed
Donate: Vases to your local florist, extra garden tools to your neighbors
Discard: Sports equipment in poor condition, toys missing parts or broken
Recycle: Junk metals, hazardous waste, paint, old bicycles
Sell: Lawn mowers and snow blowers on Craigslist and Kijiji, sort and sell boxes of unwanted things from parents, grandparents and relatives sitting for years
About the Guest Author
Court Ebeling is the Owner of Carter’s Home Downsizing which serves the Bucks and Montgomery counties in Pennsylvania and Mercer and Hunterdon counties in New Jersey.
Court works with clients to assist them in determining what to keep, donate, discard, recycle and sell and then puts a real plan in place to make it happen.
For more information on services by Carter's Home Downsizing, visit: www.cartershd.com or call 215-794-8585.