Oh my goodness. Our elderly relative who recently died left a huge mess for the family. She was a Depression era child, and never psychologically recovered from being put into an orphanage for a while. It was apparently fairly common -- at least there kids would get meals. It was the equivalent of the state taking custody of your children these days, except the parents had control. At any rate, it created such an insecurity in her that "things" became very important.
When she was a military wife, it didn't really manifest much because she had to move so often the accumulation would get sorted through frequently. Plus, they didn't have much money. But in her later years, after she inherited money, and they stopped moving around, things began to pile up. After her husband died in 2000, it really accelerated.
We would try to help take things out -- even newspapers and magazines -- and she would start physically shaking and tearing up.
So now we have the nightmare to deal with. On the other hand, God is using this to bring family members together who had been somewhat estranged because of the way the elderly relative had manipulated the relationships. We find photos of early occasions together and laugh and remember. It's very healing.
So...I will continue to visit sporadically until we get it under control. We can't even have the "pros" come in yet, mostly because there are some very valuable items in the house -- we just don't know exactly where they are.