Get lots of boxes first of all. Second, most of it is probably garbage with no senitmental value. Throw ALOT away w/o your mothers knowledge ( i know this sounds awful but she's a pack rat). Chances are she won't even miss it. Things you aren't sure about and stuff you know has memories for her put in marked boxes for her to go through later. Employ the help of a relative or close friend to help sort through things and keep your mother calm. I would also suggest you let your mother speak to a spiritual leader or preferably a pyschologist. When people get older they tend to do this but sometimes it's an underlying problem from their past...did she ever have a house burn down? Parents always give her 'hand me downs'? as for the 'papers' that is a severe fire hazard. if u alone cannot pursuade you mother to get rid of it, have a fire fighter come and speak with her...i'm sure one would not mind at all. Have them tell her the real life dangers aof living the way she does. Hope some of this helps. Most of all, take it one day at a time...it didn't get like that in a day and it certainly won't be cleaned up in one.
Hording is a condition. You cant just through things away! They will just do it all over again. My dad is one... im only 17 and i had to clean his junk. He then got kicked out of his home (cause of money reasons), he hired a shed and put everything in there and now he lives on the top floor of his friends house. Living in his friends house has given him like, pressure and stuff so he keeps it all clean!
Hire someone.....But also get a book on collectibles.....Some things just might be worth a few bucks...But if you do it yourself.....take one room at a time...Start with papers....Then move on from there...But make sure to open every box....My Great Grandmother was one...And my Aunts went to toss a box of junk....Under the papers...was Her Wedding China....and she was married in 1902
Get a large dumpster and put it in the yard so you don't have to keep filling up trash bags. Have Salvation Army come by every day or every couple of days to pick up items to be donated. Empty out the garage first and place the items to be kept there, sorted by room they will go in.
And lastly...do NOT go through everything with a fine toothed comb. If she hasn't used this stuff in 30 years it is unlikely to have any true value. Also consider getting her into a different setting...assisted living, perhaps?
It can be all cleaned up in one day only if you throw every thing outside, and hired cleaning stuff. But I suggest dealing with 1 room at a time. start with the biggest.
here what I did recently for my basement in a weekend (2 days) because there are many things that the housmaids put them there like many empty boxes so that there will be no way to see or enter it:
1- Move everything from it to the big clean living room( you can put it outside); so I can see everything.
2- I clean all of it with water and dittol.
3-throw all garbage, emptyboxes in garbage.
4-I bought 2 cheep storage cabietes with drawers and put them there
4-Pick only what I need from the boxes.
5-sell expensive, heavy items that I don't need if ther was any(online sale, carage sale) withen 1 week, maximum 2 weeks; such as unneeded furnuture and exersise mashines. you want to throw them anyway. consider it donation also, so I make it in very cheap prices.
6- donate the rest Pick it all up in your car and take it to the nearest charity organization or if they can tell them come and take it.
7-start with another room and do for it the same what you I for room 1.
I have growing children, they grow up there clothes, and shoes every few monthes, so every few monthes, I have to take them (small clothes and shoes)for donation
8-When you sell most of the unneeded items, the house will be clean, you could have collected some money from their items; buy with it a used storage cabinet as a present. the things that they don't buy like kids clothes, I donate them.
I think this would be the best present you can give it to your parents(cleaning the house)
tip that I haven't used: advertise for help to clean the house, and then they can take what they want.
Matches work every time. Ok, to be serious for a moment, you could hire a cleaning service for a day to move everything upstairs, to the garage, outside, or wherever you want to put this stuff until it can be sorted. Then, you can pay a bit extra for the garbage men to haul it all away, or you can call the cleaning crew back the next day and have them move everything back because you decided that you would like to hold on to some of that stuff:) Whatever you do, do not let yourself become overwhelmed. You can only do a little at a time, so focus on a little at a time! Remember, that stuff is a part of history, so it could be a little enjoyable to go through. You never know what treasures may lurk beneath all that junk!