I spent the weekend wading through crumbling remnants of a life: photographs and letters from my Mom's trunk. It was a personal history lesson, and it was also overwhelming. She saved this stuff for 70 years; some seems like trash to me, but maybe it has some hidden significance. How to decide? An archivist would know.
Coincidentally, the New York Times today has an editorial by author David Kahn about the need to adequately fund the National Archives, which has a backlog, er "document surplus," and is struggling to process documents, answer information requests, and provide customer service to researchers. Seems like an activity worth funding.