For better or worse, I am a natural organizer. I can sort and categorize, chop it up, rearrange, toss and recycle madly, easily. I can think like you think, then I can break it all up into something else. I don’t usually know at the outset how long it’s taken you to build up your layers, but at some point pretty early on, the tearing down is complete, in my head — long before I’ve touched the first pile.
It’s too late to be chronological about my summer project: I’ve already begun clearing out The House. It’s the house my spouse’s (we decided against “wife”) grandparents lived in when Gram died, the house she was born in. Her parents built and lived in it after they were married. I have turned the first pile (compost metaphor intended), and it is accurate to say that neither Gram nor her mother, Helen, threw anything away. How the menfolk managed to live in among, down, behind, or through all that saving is beyond me, but they did.