B/G: I come from a family of savers/hoarders. In defense, that generation was immigrant/Depression-era, and having stuff was a form of security. My mother passed away last October at 93, a widow with little connection to my stepfather's family. There are only two members of my blood family left alive besides me, my aunt (Mom's younger sister) and a distant cousin in another state. I live two states distance from my aunt, who is the sole heir and executor of Mom's estate. I readily acquiesced to this, she took care of my Mom and her husband both as they declined in health for the last 10+ years. /End BG
My aunt called and asked me to come and help her get Mom's house ready for sale. I went there for ten days and found that she has made but little progress in this, partly because she picks up a piece of paper, reads part of it, then says "oh, I'll save that for later to go through it". Or an object "we might need this, let's put it aside" or an article of clothing "do you want this, she paid X for it". Please note, Mom was a petite size 12. I am nearly six foot, clothing size 16, wear shoes four sizes larger and even her rings won't fit on my pinkie.
I did manage to get her to let me shred statements, etc., from ten years ago. Over 20 huge garbage bags of shred later, plus four large bins of recycling for ancient magazines, wire hangers, etc., and four complete fills of the large sedan she drives going to the charity shop, we can walk through the three bedrooms. I also spent a marathon day getting the utilities switched to her name until the house sells, (cable TV still not done, she has to show up in person at their office with certified copies of Mom and stepfathers' death certificates!) I did get all the photos corralled in three dresser drawers for her to look through, got all the important papers pulled out of books and magazines where they were bookmarks (!) and put into one drawer. I went through ALL her jewelry and made three boxes: one for good jewelry, one for costume jewelry and one for the "I'm not sure if this is good or costume". Found her wedding ring set in a dish with broken costume and some safety pins.
Haven't touched the living room, dining room cabinets, or Kitchen cabinets yet. Next time.
I have the feeling when Aunt passes on, I will be left with three houses to declutter and sell (she still has not sold my grandmother's house, over 20 years after she passed away, yes, she still pays the utilities, taxes, and upkeep).
Sorry this is long, I am still decompressing. Can't wait for Round 2.