a comprehensive guide to house clearance

House Clearance Guide

3 November 2020

A Guide to House Clearance

Looking for a guide on house clearance? Well, you are in the right place!

  1. What is a house clearance?
  2. How much time does it take to clear a house?
  3. How to decide what to keep
  4. Estimate the size of the house clearance
  5. Arrange the house clearance – what are my options?
  6. Identity theft

1. What is a house clearance?

A house clearance is when you clear a household property of all of the contents in it, often following a bereavement.  Items are sold, donated or disposed of. 

2. How much time does it take to clear a house?

The duration of house clearances depend entirely on the size of the property, how many things there are to remove and how many people are helping, but a good estimation is to allow half a day per room.

3. How to decide what to keep

Once you’ve planned when the house clearance will be taking place and how much time needs to be spent on it, you can get busy working out what you wish to keep and what needs to go.

 Deciding what to keep and what to clear can be tricky and it’s best if you have someone with you who won’t be sentimental about your items.  You could enlist the help of a declutterer or a friend.  A great tip is to use a sticker traffic light system: red on items you’re keeping, orange for selling/donation and green for disposal.

Once you’ve done this, the next step would be to move the items with the same colour sticker together so that it makes the clearance easier.

boxes packed up for house clearance


4. How to estimate the size of a house clearance

Before you make arrangements with a clearance firm, you’ll need to roughly work out how much waste you have.  An easy way to estimate this is to imagine how many standard skips you’d need to take away the waste.  You don’t need to be super accurate, but it will be useful for waste contractors.  Alternatively, you could send a bunch of photos or a short video of the stuff to the firm you are using..                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 


5. Arranging the house clearance – what are my options? 

Most of your items should now be in the following categories: keep, donate, sell and disposal.

Moving things from A to B

If you’re moving your stuff from one property to the next, you can either get the help of a specialist or hire a van and do it yourself.  A great place to find local professionals is the British Association of Removers who ensure you won’t encounter any cowboys.

If you decide to hire a van you will definitely save money but the negatives to this are it can be stressful and you’ll be doing all of the hard labour moving furniture yourself.

men loading a sofa for house clearance

Do it yourself

You may decide you want to save money and take on the disposal job yourself.  If this is the case, prepare yourself for multiple trips to your local household waste recycling centre in your car.  Alternatively, you may decide to hire a van to cram more stuff in each time and make the process faster – please be aware that some tips require vans to have a permit so please check with your tip prior to arrival.

Also, clearing houses is a big job, so if you are doing it yourself we really recommend trying to find an extra pair of hands to help you out. 

Clearance companies

The easiest solution is to contact a waste clearance company who will sort everything for you.  They will clear your waste, load the trucks and responsibly dispose of the stuff you no longer want.  Man and van companies charge based on the volume of waste cleared and will try their best to reuse and recycle wherever possible.  Before booking a man and van company, always check that they have a waste carriers license – you can check this on the Environment Agency’s website here. But if you use LoveJunk, that’s already done for you, as well as checking they are properly insured. 

Skip hire

Another solution to consider is skip hire.  With this, a skip will be delivered but labour is not included in the cost – you will need to do all the hard graft, loading and heavy lifting.  The skip is charged at a flat rate and if your skip is placed on the road, you’ll need to pay extra for a skip permit.  Skips are a great solution if you have the space and the muscles to load the waste.

Sale and donation

If your furniture is in good enough condition to be rehomed, there are lots of great ways to stop your furniture going to landfill.  

There are a whole host of different websites you can use to give furniture a second life such as Freegle, Freecycle, eBay, Facebook Marketplace, Nextdoor, Shpock and Preloved.  You can also try local charity shops or ask your friends and relatives if they’d like any of your stuff.

If you live in London, read this great furniture reuse article for Londoners.

woman packing up boxes during a house clearance

6. Identity Theft

Last but not least, it’s important to remember to be very careful with your important documents when clearing out your house.  You might want to consider shredding/burning old bank statements and health records just in case the wrong person gets their hands on them.  Better to be safe than sorry.

However, there are times when you shouldn’t destroy documents when clearing a house.  For example, if you’re clearing the home of a deceased relative, it’s always a good idea to hang onto any documents you may later need until the estate has been settled. 


Please share this article with any friends or family planning a house clearance and if you have any useful tips for us to include in the guide, please drop us a line at [email protected]

Other resources you may find useful:


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