Could you help me figure out how to sort/sell/dispose of rusty tools/antiques/possibly dangerous substances left behind by my late father-in-law? : personalfinance

When my FIL passed in May, he had no savings and no life insurance. The only money left was his final SS check ($2500). After driving 25 hours from our state to New Mexico to say goodbye (we hadn’t seen him in several years), he passed and we paid for his funeral – we did the best we could but our finances are tight and it really put us in the hole along with taking time off work, etc. We are back in New Mexico for another week and we’re really struggling to sort stuff, and we haven’t even put anything up for sale yet. We can’t really afford to hire anyone to help us. The expenses are currently being covered by our credit cards, and so we’re hoping we can sell stuff to make up for it.

The property (worth $2000) was left to my partner, along with everything on it. His father had occupied this property for ~50 years, and saved a lot of stuff through the years. A significant portion of this is trash – rotting wood (which isn’t usable as firewood), degraded plastic, mouse/raccoon/wildlife feces, etc. When he passed, we cleaned the house a lot – 40 lawn trash bags crammed with stuff were taken to the dump, and this time we have a 30ft dumpster which is already half full (I’m an optimist, I guess). We will likely need to empty it and have it brought back to the property ($250 to bring it to our place + $20/lb of trash + $2/day rental fee).

I know if something is rusted through, it’s worthless except as scrap. But if it’s not rusted through, I have no idea how to discern if a tool is worth anything, if I should use Evaporust and clean it or if that’s a waste of time. There seems to be too many tools to clean all of them – the Evaporust is amazing but it’s $25/jug. Also, some antique tools need to retain their patina to be worth anything, and I have a hard time knowing if I should clean any older tools at all, even with soap. Finally, there are lots of miscellaneous car parts and I have zero knowledge of what they are, if they are scrap, or if they can be of use to someone… I am thinking I could put these in a pile and sell them as a bulk lot?

Antiques like glassware I figure I can look up on ebay for pricing unless you all have better suggestions? It’s incredibly time consuming to look up each individual record (like for a record player), each set/piece of glassware, and every oddity due to the massive volume of things. There are also some items, like a large wood burning stove with a crack in it, that I’m unsure on what to price it as.

The mobile home on the property we are hopefully selling for scrap (maybe $1500?), it is:
– 53yo, uninsurable
– has been smoked in that whole time
– has holes drilled into the walls so my FIL could run extension cords in… 🤦🏼‍♀️
– has holes in the roof which leak when it rains, including on several light fixtures, and obviously water damage everywhere

I don’t know what to do with some of the possibly dangerous/toxic items. There are paint cans that are too rusted to read their labels, car batteries, 4 propane-style tanks of freon which are advertised as disposable (probably from the 80s), 2 very large propane tanks (over 250 gallons ea, partially full), an old kinetex kit with a vial of asbestos in it, fire hydrants, old gasoline, acetylene, misc cleaners and chemicals… Can I sell these things, and if so, are there restrictions? Can I throw them away?

We’re in a tight spot and I appreciate any help/advice you all can give.

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