I have heard lots of stories over the years about how families have handled removing the contents of the family homestead when the time came to sell it. A blogger I read occasionally just put up a short post about how his family handled it. I think the experience he reports is fairly typical. The method he describes involves getting rid of stuff in stages as you are emotionally able to do so, That isn’t necessarily a bad technique except that it inevitably results in punting the issue to your children to some extent, as he admits.
My long-standing advice in dealing with the house contents (the term people in my line of work seem to like to use is “personal effects,” but I prefer “house contents” or simply “stuff”) is this: if another family member says, “I want that,” the correct answer is “OK.”
The contents of this blog, this web site, and any writings by me that are linked here, are all my personal commentary. None of it is intended to be legal advice for your situation.