Read today that the average American household has 300,000 items! Don't have anywhere near that amount, but recently married and moved, and my husband and I discovered we had more than we needed. There is a real freedom getting rid of what you don't use.
Here's an idea that helps me when paper needs to be GONE...place the papers in the sink, thoroughly soak them till they nearly dissolve, squeeze out the excess water. Now no one can read them and you didn't inhale paper dust. Doing large batches at a time, you're done in no time rather than spending hours in front of a shredder. Now you can toss them or turn them under in the garden and the worms will love you for giving them bedding to rest in.
I process my mail every day, keep a donation box available at all times, hold a garage sale each year. And in September 2020, I went through my clothes closet - donating anything that didn't fit (size wise or lifestyle wise), then I turned all the hangers in the opposite direction that I normally hang them. When I wear an item, i hang the hanger in the opposite direction. In September 2021, any hanger that is not reversed means I didn't wear that item of clothing for 1 year - into the donation box it goes!
Yes! When my mother died, it took me, my brother, and my husband a solid 5 weeks to clear things out! (Plus occasional help from friends.) It was an absolute nightmare! While we still have the health and energy is the time to save our survivors from that horrendous burden.
I'm sorry for the loss of your mother, but I'm surprised that there was no enjoyment and going through her things. my mother was a collector and although there were many of us it was fun to go through the things and see what she has collected. Some of them we knew the stories behind and some of them we didn't and I regret we didn't know them all. my mother was a collector of pretty rocks and they were everywhere in her house, we joked about it for days but when we were finished I noticed a lot of the rocks found homes with other family members as a reminder of mom.
@KathleenA756887 Wow, I'm so sorry you had to go through all of that. It's stories like yours, that helps keep me motivated to get rid of anything I'm not using. Just moved into a new house and got rid of some of my paintings. Two that my grandma painted ( take pictures of those sentimental items ) and each room looks so much better with less on the walls. My surviving aunt and uncle have tons of my grandma's paintings, and many more stored in their garage. If I decide later, that I want one, I can always get one. Christine