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Please begin with an informative title:

Several years ago my cousin, a single child asked my brother an I to help downsize her elderly parents' home. We walked into a nightmare.

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The house was huge. A four bedroom split foyer with a basement and a 30' by 60' out building with garage, workshop, and storage room.  While the living area had been kept relatively neat and tidy through the years the spare rooms were jam packed with every conceivable item of "good stuff" they had picked up at yard sales during the 25 years since my uncle had retired.  For example: hundreds od teddy bears that a department store had given away one year at Christmas, multiple crock pots, mixers, blenders, waffle irons and George Foreman grills picked up for next to nothing.  Sheets, towels, comforters, kitchenware, even containers of plastic forks/napkins/condiments from fast food restaurants. Huge quantities of paper towels, toilet paper, paper plates, etc. from Cosco.
Uncle's garage/workshop was filled with every imaginable tool and gadget ever invented as well as his collection of video and electronic equipment collected for over 60 years. Unfortunately, the roof on the outbuilding had collapsed several years before and everything was ruined by the weather.
Keep in mind my cousin was in her fifties and didn't need any furnishings and her children didn't want any of this.  My brother and I are older and we didn't need any of this.  There were a few things the younger generation could use but most of this years of collecting was taken either to the dump or thrift shops.  It took three weekends of physical labor to clear the property so it could be sold.
If you are reading this and you are sixty or over THINK OF YOUR CHILDREN.  Offer them what you no longer need and take "no thank you" if that's their response.  Then Craigslist, EBay, or Freecycle everything that you don't need.  They'll thank you for it.

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