Cleaning Out A Loved One’s Storage Unit

Hallway of storage unit facility and storage unit lockers with text "cleaning out a love one's storage unit"

The task of cleaning out a loved one’s storage unit after they’ve passed away can be both physically and emotionally draining. You know that you’re going to encounter memories as you sort through the boxes and decide what to keep, and it can take a lot out of you as you sift through their belongings.

At EZ Storage® in St. Louis, we know that cleaning out a self-storage unit can take time, and if your loved one had a space at one of our facilities, we’ll make sure you can access it. In this post, we’ll provide some tips on how to handle a relative’s belongings that have been kept in a rented storage space, as well as how to find the best solution for those items that were still in their home.

Sorting Through the Unit

You may not have any idea what your loved one had stored in their unit, and it’s important to be ready for some surprises. You may come across some old childhood items of your own that a parent or grandparent kept, such as medals, toys, and other mementos that were dear to them. Depending on the state of these items, you may decide to keep them, give them away, or toss them. There may be handmade items that you want your children to have someday, so setting those aside can help ensure that they don’t end up in the trash.

Use me - video1You’ll also want to look to see how certain things were stored. If your loved one had photo albums that weren’t stored properly, the photos and pages may be creased or torn. You’ll want to re-box those albums and make sure there aren’t too many stacked on top of each other, since too much weight can damage the albums on the bottom. The same is true for books – storing them in small, sturdy boxes is better than cramming a bunch into a large box (which would probably be too heavy to carry).

As you glean and cull the belongings, keep in mind that there may be some things of value in the storage unit. Your loved one may not have wanted to sell them, but the choice is now up to you what you will do with a valuable item or collection. There may also be things in the unit that were specified in your loved one’s will, and it’s necessary that you designate them to be transported to their new owner. It can be a good idea to speak with your loved one’s estate lawyer if you have any questions about what you can and cannot legally do with certain belongings.

Storing Things from the House

If your loved one didn’t have a storage unit, but kept everything in an attic or basement, the task of sorting through everything can be just as trying. They may still live in the house you grew up in, and going back there after several years away to go through their belongings can be very difficult for some. You may want to take everything and store it until a later date, and each of our locations can help you find the ideal solution, even if it’s just for a few months. If your loved one had a classic car or motorcycle, putting it in a storage unit can make the most sense, especially if you’re going to be selling the house in the near future.

dreamstime_xxl_12919302If you have siblings or relatives who have a claim on certain belongings, but they live elsewhere, it can be a good idea to store everything so that nothing gets lost before they can come to retrieve their items. Again, if you’re selling the house and need to move everything off the property, finding a centralized storage location can make it easier for you to access the belongings, know what’s in the unit, and help your relatives access what is theirs. That being said, it’s important to make an inventory list of what has been stored so you can check things off as they are moved out.

Dealing with the loss of a loved one is hard enough, and if you’ve been tasked with sorting through their storage unit or dealing with the belongings in their house, EZ Storage® is here to help. If they have a unit in one of our facilities, we’ll work with you to ensure you can gain access to the space, and if you have several boxes from the house you need to store, we’ll help you find the right spot for them. Above all, we want you to have a positive experience every time you visit one of our locations and speak with a member of our staff.

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