Cleaning out your parents’ house can reveal unexpected treasures, from voodoo dolls and wheelchair collections to old family photos and emotional diaries. Every item you uncover may offer new insights into your family’s past, making decluttering a journey of discovery.
Are you about to help your parents clean out their house? Maybe they’re downsizing or moving, or maybe they just need some help decluttering. Whatever the reason, you never know what treasures (or surprises) you might find. Here are some examples of the strange and interesting things kids have found while helping their parents clean out their homes.
One of the most exciting things about cleaning out your parents’ house is the possibility of finding hidden treasures. Here are some examples of what kids have discovered:
Vintage toys: If your mom or Dad grew up in the 1960s or ‘70s, they might have some old toys tucked away in the attic or basement. Some kids have found everything from Star Wars action figures to Barbie dolls to vintage board games in mint condition.
Valuable jewelry: Your parents may have inherited some jewelry from their own parents or grandparents that they’ve forgotten about. Some kids have found diamond rings, gold watches, and other valuable jewelry that their parents didn’t even realize they had.
Collectibles: If your parents are collectors, there may be some valuable items hidden away in their house. Kids have found everything from rare coins and military medals to antique books; someone even found an old book signed by J Edgar Hoover and valuable comic books.
My parents made a 400-mile move in their 80s, leaving a house they’d lived in for more than 30 years. Unpacking in their new home was an adventure! They moved a large box filled with empty shoe boxes, a box full of real estate sales training videos from the 1980s, and at least 75 wine glasses and 42 serving platters. I was oddly pleased to see my laundry bag from sleepaway camp in the ’70s!Robin Donovan, All Ways Delicious
Weird and Wacky Items
Of course, not everything you find while cleaning out your parents’ house will be valuable or even useful. Here are some of the weirdest things that kids have found:
Strange souvenirs: Maybe your parents went on a trip to a foreign country and brought back some strange souvenirs. Some kids have found everything from voodoo dolls to shrunken heads to taxidermy animals in their parents’ homes.
An Unexpected Find: A Voodoo Doll
Her house was being cleaned up to be sold, my grandmother… found a voodoo doll. The crotch was full of vicious-looking rusted pins, and it was at full capacity. No idea how she jammed all of those pins in there or who she wished rusty crotch death upon. We never found out.Amorette Kitsa shared on Quora
Other strange and unexpected finds include a coffin, an unexplained pole vault crossbar, and a prison release document.
Unusual artwork: Your parents may have some unusual art hanging on their walls that you’ve never seen before. Some kids have found oddities from creepy clown paintings to adult-rated images to sculptures made out of driftwood.
A Collection of Over 30 Wheelchairs
Bizarre collections: Your parents may have collected some unusual things over the years. Kids have found vast collections of rocks, empty bottles, or old newspapers. Others have found a collection of more than 30 wheelchairs in the basement, a collection of false teeth, and a stockpile of toilet paper rolls.
Finally, while you may find some strange and interesting things while cleaning out your parents’ house, you may also come across some sentimental items that mean a lot to your family.
Delving into the past through old family photos is like embarking on a time-traveling adventure. As you flip through the pages of a long-forgotten scrapbook, you may discover candid shots of your ancestors and learn about their lives and travels from a bygone era.
And the handwritten recipes you uncover could hold the key to recreating your family’s cherished dishes — like the mouth-watering hashbrown casserole or a beloved dessert that’s been passed down through the generations. So, if you ever stumble upon a box of old family photos, prepare to embark on a journey through time and uncover some truly priceless treasures.
Handwritten letters: As you sift through old boxes and dusty corners, you may stumble upon a treasure trove of handwritten letters that your parents, grandparents, or great-grandparents once cherished. People have found fascinating letters about love and heartbreak, family feuds, and scandals. So if you’re in the midst of clearing out your parent’s home, keep your eyes peeled for these precious time capsules — they might just be the most remarkable discoveries you make.
Family heirlooms are more than just rare and valuable artifacts. Often, it’s the simplest things that hold the most sentimental value. Just imagine the joy of stumbling upon an old pie dish that takes you back to the days of your mom’s delicious homemade lemon pie or a cozy sweater knitted by your grandmother. These seemingly ordinary items can hold a world of memories and emotions, making them priceless family treasures.
Childhood mementos are like time capsules that hold a wealth of memories and emotions. From the first lock of hair to the tiny baby teeth, parents have an extraordinary knack for holding onto these precious keepsakes. And as you sift through your parents’ belongings, you may stumble upon your own treasured moments from childhood — like a handmade card or a heartfelt letter that brings back a flood of memories.
So while cleaning out your parents’ house may seem like a chore, it can also be a journey of discovery. From the bizarre to the sentimental, every item you uncover may offer new insight into your family’s past and help you connect with your loved ones in a deeper and more meaningful way.
Mandy is the enthusiastic creator of the vegetarian website Splash of Taste; she makes meat-free cooking fun and easy. When Mandy’s not cooking and writing, you’ll find her traveling, exploring countries and cuisines, and spending time with her chihuahua. Download her free 5 x Easy Vegetarian Meals eBook.