A Guide to House Clearance

A Guide to House Clearance

Guide by Clearabee

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What is a house clearance?

A house clearance is a general term describing the removal of items from the home - usually for charity, resale or disposal.

House clearances are often larger in scale than a typical rubbish clearance or bulky waste collection but can vary in size from just a few bulky items to an entire house needing to be cleared.

house clearance teams

Planning a house clearance

house clearance items

Decide what is going

The first to do is to determine which items are to be cleared and which items are staying. This can take longer than many people expect, particularly concerning items with sentimental or emotional value. Give yourself plenty of time.

Top tips:

  • Separate items you want to keep, gift or sell and those which are to be disposed of. Separate in different rooms or at least different piles. Some people like to use colour coded stickers too.
  • If you need a full house clearance, don’t forget to check cupboards, attic, basement and the shed/outhouse.
  • Give yourself time to go through boxes of documents or photos to ensure you don’t throw away anything you may want.
how to clear a house

Choose how it's going

This is not always a straightforward choice and it may be a multi-pronged approach is best suited.


Options for your house clearance include:

Top tips:

  • If some of the items have value you may wish to consider gifting these items to a charity or selling them through an auction house or online platforms such as Gumtree and Facebook.
  • You could ‘do it yourself’ through a DIY house clearance - this may mean getting friends or family to help and hiring a van to drive your items to a local Household Waste Recycling Centre or hiring a skip to fill. Some items can usually be collected by your local council from the kerbside, but this will require some planning.
  • Call in the professionals! Companies like Clearabee offer a professional house clearance service. A professional house clearance service will include bagging and loading of the items. Always check the waste carriers licence and check the reputation of the company you are using to ensure you fulfil your duty of care.
house clearance UK

Choose when it's going

The timeframe for your clearance may impact which options are available. Whilst professional services can be quite flexible and will usually offer same day house clearance, other services may require a little extra time. Either way, it is better to plan ahead of time and ensure you allow plenty of time for the clearance.

Things to think about:

  • How long will it take to clear a house - whether you’re doing it yourself or you have help, a house clearance will often take longer than expected. From our experience, a 4 bedroom house will take at least one full day to clear and depending on how much you need removing. This is based on the items being sorted in advance.
  • How large is the house clearance - it’s important you scope the clearance properly or book a very flexible service. This will ensure that your house clearance is completed in the time frame agreed. As a guide, a non-cluttered 2 bedroom apartment will likely fill one vehicle (14y3) whereas a 4 bedroom family home could be 2 or more loads. This can vary dramatically depending on the level of clutter and what you’re intending to keep or gift.
  • Sometimes it can go wrong. Whether an item you were donating is not collected or the friends who promised to help you change their mind at the last minute, allow some contingency. If you are let down there’s a good chance a same day house clearance service will be able to help.

On the day of the house clearance

A house clearance can be stressful and the day of the clearance is often the peak of this, particularly if there isn’t much contingency in the timetable or you have travelled to the house from further afield.

What happens on the day depends on how you are having the house cleared, but in almost all cases there is more to go than you think and it often takes longer, so plan accordingly.

sofa removals

DIY House Clearance

If you are doing it yourself and are hiring a van make sure you have ordered a suitable vehicle. We would recommend a Luton style vehicle for a house clearance. Assuming a lot of the items are going to be disposed of or recycled, you will need to drive it to a Household Waste Recycling Centre. These often close by 6 pm (or earlier) so you will need to make sure you’ve completed this part of the house clearance.

Check whether you need a permit for your vehicle. Many tips require vans to have a permit before you turn up to ensure you are not a commercial operator. If you don’t get this in advance, you may be turned away. Equally some waste is not accepted into Council sites - typically light construction waste such as bricks, rubble and plasterboard. Always check first.

Ensure you have help. If you’re not a professional it can be tiring and a house clearance often takes longer than expected. We would recommend 3-4 people to clear a house, ideally more.

Remember there are half measures you can take if you decide to do it yourself. You could hire a skip to cut down on driving to the tip, but in many cases, a skip gets filled quicker than expected. You could also hire a professional clearance service to clear any excess waste - either from the skip or from the clearance, or hire a house clearance service to undertake the entire clearance.

If you go for skip hire, don’t forget to order the pick up as soon as possible after you fill the skip to minimise the risk of neighbours adding to it. Equally do not have the skip delivered too early, or you may turn up to a half-filled skip which will be your responsibility. Skips can also be restrictive as they will not usually accept items such as fridges, TV’s or computer monitors. Your local council will accept these items and may even collect them for you.


Professional House Clearance

“If you opted for a professional house clearance then you should be able to sit back and relax.”

The house clearance service will include two people who will load the items from inside or outside of the property. It is important that you adequately describe what needs to be cleared in advance or advise the company that it could change, to ensure the right sized vehicle with enough time available is sent.

It is important that you select a reputable clearance company which means reviews and compliance information such as Waste Carriers Licence. Clearabee is the UK’s largest clearance company undertaking over 200,000 clearances every year. Clearabee is also the most reviewed on Trustpilot, giving you complete peace of mind.

house clearance

Charity House Clearance / Donating / Selling Items

Selling or donating items either directly or through a charity is a great way to reduce what you need to have collected, but rarely solves the entire problem unless you have just a few high-quality items. To ensure you are not left with items leftover be sure to clearly describe what you need removing. Sales or donations on online marketplaces do sometimes result in being ‘ghosted’ (where no one turns up). To mitigate this risk allow plenty of time.

If you are left with items you need to remove rapidly, a professional company such as Clearabee is usually able to arrive on a same-day basis. Alternatively, these items could be left outside and photographed on removal, giving you peace of mind even if you have left the property.


Clearabee House Clearance Service

Clearabee is the UK’s largest clearance company. We operate over 120 vehicles with almost 300 staff all over the country. We are the most reviewed company on Trustpilot and have featured in The Telegraph and The Sunday Times Fasttrack.


House clearance service highlights:

Waste transfer notes

Waste transfer notes

Digital Waste Transfer Note including place of disposal and site licence information

Before and after photos

Before and after photos

Before and after photos in case you aren’t at the property

95% landfill diversion

95% landfill diversion

Over 95% landfill diversion rate on average across the UK

Track your collection

Track your collection

SMS arrival alerts and vehicle tracking links