So on spring break (about 2 weeks ago) we descended upon my parents' house in an attempt to help them with the chaos that reigns there. I underestimated the true amount of crap and overestimated my mother's willingness to part with any of it. As in, she has no willingness. None whatsoever. Not even an ounce of willingness.
Now I should say that I have given her an out. They could have said no at the beginning. AND about a week before we went, I emailed them and said look if you don't want us to do this, tell us NOW and we'll adjust our plans and expectations. No answer.
I also seriously underestimated the level of mentally ill my mother currently is. I say mentally ill, not to denigrate those with mental illnesses, but because she has to be (albeit undiagnosed). There can be no other explanation for her complete and total unwillingness to part with any of her treasures. Even when faced with things that are obviously trash. OBVIOUSLY trash, she can't bear to part with them. As my sister and I discussed one night, it isn't as though these are things that have sentimental value because of our childhood or even her own... these are OTHER PEOPLE'S treasures. She buys all this crap at yard sales.
We unloaded the maybe 50% of the living room. That was the only room we could even really work in. But since she wouldn't get rid of anything we mostly refilled the room when we were done.
So on the positive - My sister resealed the roof, which took almost a day. My niece and nephew found a box that contained stuff from my sister (their mother) before she died. It had photos of them from a period of time they didn't have any photos. They were very glad to find those. My nephew and I got rid of a bunch of yard debris. We got some family photos taken before my mother completely and totally melted down on Saturday.
I guess the biggest positive that came out of this is that I don't have to feel badly about it and we don't ever have to go back to try this. I do feel concern about it when they both pass, but that will be so much easier since we'll be able to throw away so much without them stalking us.