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What Do I Do With All This Junk: Estate Cleaning Made Easy



    There is no pain in the world that compares to losing a loved one. Not only must you deal with their loss, but oftentimes you may also be left to deal with their remaining belongings. The loss of a loved one is something you can rarely plan for, meaning the sudden stress that comes with dealing with what your loved one left behind is often too much to bear. What do you do with all of their personal items? Do you donate it all? Do you keep some things and not others? How do you evaluate the value of each item?

    The healing and cleaning process in the aftermath of any death is not just time consuming, but potentially even confusing since the process often involves the assistance of attorneys and tax specialists.

    Given all of this, one of the easiest decisions you should have to make in the aftermath of the loss of a loved one should be to hire professional estate cleaning services.

    Having a professional alongside you to help you determine which items can be sold and which can be donated, in addition to helping you deal with attorneys and other specialists, can often be an instant stress reliever during a trying time.

    Serving Chicago and its suburbs since 1961, our experts specialize in preparing estates for auction or real estate sale by giving each property a detailed cleaning, while lessening the burden on family members and executors.

    Here is some helpful information about estate cleaning services from your local experts at ServiceMaster Restoration By Simons:

    What our estate cleaning services entail:

    • Tagging: One of the first things our team of experts will do upon arrival at your loved one’s home will be to help you determine which items you’d like to keep, which items you would like to donate or trash, and which items are of value and you can later sell.
    • Removal: Our team will then remove all “tagged” items and haul away any remaining appliances, furniture and other heavy items.
    • Clean up: Next, our discrete and experienced team will clean up the entire dwelling, including all bathrooms and kitchens.
    • Reconstruction: Upon request, we are able to offer full repair and reconstruction services to bring the residence back to its prime condition so it can sell more easily.
    • Paint: We are also able to paint the entire residence upon request to get it looking as good as new.


    Why should you invest in estate cleaning services?

    Investing in cleaning services not only provides you with less headache and stress in the aftermath of the death of a loved one, but it also ensures that the process is done correctly the first time.

    There is nothing worse than critical aspects of the estate sale process being overlooked or completed incorrectly because they are being handled by people who are under immense stress and deserve to be focusing on their family and loved ones instead.

    Estate cleaning professionals like those from ServiceMaster Restoration By Simons can handle the entire process for you quickly, efficiently and at the best prices in town.


    How to choose an estate cleaning service company that is best for you:

    It is very important to research any estate cleaning service company that you hire. Many estate clean out companies online are merely junk haulers using the phrase “estate clean out” to catch your attention. Oftentimes, these companies do not have certifications and specializations in evaluating items for sale.

    A reliable estate cleaning service company should do this for you in addition to cleaning out your loved one’s home and helping you sell it. Only hire a company with a website with listed services, photos of staff and photos and listings from previous clients. Estate sale exposure is critical, so be sure to utilize a company that has great marketing.

    Two online websites, and, will let you type in your zip code to find local purveyors like ServiceMaster Restoration By Simons. These sites will also list upcoming sales that you can attend and observe in preparation for your own. If the owner is present, you can even try speaking with them and getting their contact information in case you have any follow-up questions you’d like to ask them. This process alone might help you rule out some companies to choose from.

    We also advise you to select several companies to interview either over the phone or in person. Here at ServiceMaster Restoration By Simons, we offer free consultations with any potential clients so we can address any concerns they may have or accomodate any special requests. On site consultations are especially helpful for estate cleaning companies since they can assess any potential liabilities before an agreement is even drawn and determine logistics.

    Important points to bring up during any consultation should be insurance, staffing and what any contract would look like. Make sure that nothing changes after signing and be sure to state that no extra items are allowed at your sale, as some estate cleaning companies will do this. liabilities that the property may have, the parking situation, the proximity to resources like a recycling center or a donation site, and the actual items available for sale.

    Also clarify that the company you hire takes credit cards. It is not professional for a company to only accept cash or check, as this increases the risk for theft.

    Once you confirm that the estate cleaning company you’d like to hire is certified and authentic, do not throw anything away. You may feel the need to tidy up the home or organize items before the experts arrive, but truly good companies should transform the estate for you, leaving you free to tend to your family and loved ones.

    This is especially true since items you may value like furniture, pictures or china usually do not sell for much. On the other hand, small collectibles and vintage treasures that only professionals can identity can add up money and even pay for the services themselves. Instead of cleaning, focus on identifying which items you would like to keep and which items you will leave for the estate cleaning company to deal with. Make sure your sale expectations are realistic though, as it is not uncommon for sales to be less successful than one would think.

    A great estate sale company like ServiceMaster Restoration By Simons can help you pass your loved one’s treasures along to others in an efficient, stress free and safe way.  What can be a traumatizing and overwhelming task can be made easy with just a simple phone call, leaving you with more time to spend with the people and things that matter.

    ServiceMaster Restoration By Simons is a MBE/WBE certified firm and family-run company serving Chicago, Oak Park, River Forest, and the North Shore.  ServiceMaster Restoration By Simons provides disaster restoration services including Water & Flood Damage Restoration, Fire & Smoke Damage Restoration, Mold Remediation and a wide range of interior specialty cleaning including Hoarder & Clutter Cleaning, Post-Construction Cleaning, Carpet Cleaning and Upholstery Cleaning to residential and commercial customers residing in Chicago, Oak Park-River Forest and the North Shore.  For more information, give us a call at 773-376-1110 or visit


    • Nasutsa Mabwa

      Nasutsa Mabwa is President of ServiceMaster by Simons, a MBE/WBE City of Chicago and State of Illinois certified firm. She is a 2020 Daily Herald Business Ledger C-Suite awardee, a member of Crain’s Chicago Business 40 under 40 and a 2018 ServiceMaster(c) Achiever Award recipient. She is a Civic Federation Board Member, an Advisory Board Member for as President Elect on the Executive Committee for the Evanston Chamber of Commerce. She is IICRC certified for WRT & FSRT.

      About ServiceMaster Restoration By Simons
      Restoration By Simons is an MBE/WBE certified firm and family-run company serving both Cook and Lake County, Illinois. Recently, the company was awarded a variety of honors, including the SB100 Best of Small Business Award Winner 2021, Bronze Stevie® Award in the Female Entrepreneur of the Year category in the 18th annual Stevie Awards for Women in Business, recipient of the 2020 Better Business Bureau's Torch Award for Marketplace Ethics, and the recipient of the 2020 Skokie Business of the Year Award, Honorable Mention Category. Restoration By Simons provides disaster restoration services including water and flood damage restoration, fire and smoke damage restoration, mold remediation, to residential and commercial customers in both Cook and Lake County IL.

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