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The job that everyone dreads

Looking for guidance when packing up a deceased estate? Lea-anne Mills from Delicate Days offers her advice on how to make the process as smooth as possible.

Packing up a deceased estate can often be a very daunting and emotional time for families. Our company Delicate Days is often engaged to do one of two things: prepare and declutter the property for auction; or pack up the property so the family can make the necessary decisions.

I have been fortunate enough to have had a legal background of more than 15 years, which has helped me to understand the fragility and discretion required during this time, and I believe that using these simple steps allows for a smooth transition. Being organised and well prepared is vital when family members are overwhelmed.

Talk to professionals
It is important that you have clear instructions on exactly what needs to be undertaken in the process, so discuss the deceased estate brief with lawyers and your real estate agent.

Build an appropriate team of packers
You may choose to use friends and family to assist with this, but keep in mind that you are often dealing with valuable, treasured items. It may be best to outsource a team of professional packers who have had experience with deceased estates to speed up the process in an organised and professional manner.

Tag items before packing starts
Labelling is the key to ensuring that everything ends up in the right place, particularly will bequests. We prepare inventories for each room outlining the content of each box, allowing for transparency with our clients and emotional ease.

Have a plan for all items
Make sure you are clear on exactly what to do with everything left over in the house. Will you be selling items? Donating them to charity? Throwing them away? Do you need a skip? Knowing the answers to all this beforehand will make the packing process simpler.

Organise removalists that can deliver
Finding removalists who will take relevant items to beneficiaries, charities or a tip for you can be invaluable. While you may be able to handle the smaller items by yourself, removalists will be your biggest help to transport your larger items to their final destinations.


If you are preparing the estate for sale, we also strongly recommend that you declutter and clean the property thoroughly. For the best sale price, the residence needs to feel as liveable as possible.

Removing all the clutter allows potential buyers to see the property at its best on auction day. Find removalists who can help with this, either disposing of items you do not need, or helping you put anything into storage during the campaign if required.

Also, don’t underestimate the importance of having the property clean and fresh. A professional clean can be invaluable.

A deceased estate often comes with a great deal of emotion. If the prospect of having to pack, unpack, declutter and sell things seems overwhelming, there is plenty of help available.

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