Boy, does this post hit home! MY HOME!
I joke all the time about how much of the stuff stored in my house and garage is the possessions of dead people.
I lost my brother and my Mom in the space of a year. That was back in the 80s. I still have most of their stuff. I gave a lot of it away to my dad, brothers and sister, but most of it is still here.
My Dad died in 2005. I still have all his stuff. He gave a lot away before he died, but the rest is stored in my garage.
I have told all my remaining relatives that I am having a yard sale. I am also getting a dumpster. Whatever doesn't go in the yard sale or to charity will go in the dumpster. They have first choice of everything for ONE day before the yard sale. I also told the old man and the kids the same thing. They have to take it with them when they choose!
I was planning it for this fall but I haven't gotten around to sorting and separating it all yet. So, I set a date for next spring. Setting the date was the key. Every time I have a few minutes I go through a box and sort into sell, keep, give away and toss piles. The toss pile goes in the woodbox to use for heat! The give away gets folded and put in the charity box. The keep gets set aside for the next sorting day. If I don't use it during that time, it goes into the yard sale box.
Family treasures have a special box. I tape an index card on the object telling what it is and why it is special and where it came from. That way the relatives can decide if it is something they want to save. Otherwise it goes into the sell pile!
One thing that is driving me nuts is the picture piles. I will NEVER save another picture without labeling it as to who is in it!! WHO are these people? If I know them, I send them the pics. If I don't know them I pass the pic around to see if anyone else knows them with the understanding that the pics have to be ditched if no one knows who it is.
I've boxed up old family pics AFTER labeling them and sent them off in archival boxes to be stored at the family summer cabin. Let the descendants deal with them!
Ditto on the old treasures that just cannot be parted with because they are family antiques. I stick a card inside or under them explaining what they are and ship them over next time the boat goes to the island. Ditto with the old books. We are lining the walls with books. The place isn't insulated and books work for that!
I even built shelves into the outhouse for reading materials!
All of the blankets, sheets and towels, etc. went to the island. The old gas powered washer/wringer?--island! Let them wash the darned laundry over there instead of dumping it on me at the end of vacations!
It's going very slowly but it is getting done! The man calls it "strolling down memory lane" every time I get out the boxes, but I get to oooh and ahh over stuff and then get it out of here!
I don't want anyone to have to sort through this stuff after I die. I don't want to live with it now. It's outta here!