Most of us own at least one thing we prefer to hide from strangers’ eyes. You know, those little secrets we keep tucked away deep in the closet under lock and key. We might plan to take them to our graves, but if there’s one thing we know about truth — it comes to the surface one way or another.
Sorting through a deceased person’s belongings is a tough experience, one that brings out a myriad of emotions. But while going through their stuff might be painful, it can also lead to some unexpected discoveries. Redditor ChairForces wanted to find out what these items are, so they asked: “People who cleaned out their loved one’s home after they died, what is the strangest thing you found?”
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Surprisingly, quite a lot of users decided to come forward and share the objects they uncovered. From hidden letters and bayonets to rodents’ skeletons, we selected some of the most interesting things this thread had to offer. So continue scrolling and make sure to share your own stories with us in the comments!
Cleaning out my grandpa’s apartment we found different pieces of a handgun scattered around. He struggled on and off with depression, and apparently he did it so that if he was thinking about suicide, he would have to go find all the parts and give himself time to talk himself out of it.
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Cousin after a motorcycle accident cleaned out his apartment along with his brother nothing strange in particular, then went over to his computer to erase his history(as a bro should) turns on, linux OS , encrypted asked for password then a loud bang just goes off the computer just dies.
turns out he booby trapped the PC. i had failed to press some secondary button unknown to me. and there was a shot gun shell filled with birdshot aimed at the harddrive rigged to go off if the button wasnt pressed. obliterated the harddrive
to this day i wonder what he had on there to go to such lengths to keep hidden.
Image credits: DicIonius
To learn more about grief and how sharing experiences with others can help cope with the pain, we reached out to Nathalie Himmelrich, a holistic counselor and coach, and founder of the Grieving Parents Support Network. Usually, experiencing grief is extremely difficult and can make it hard for people to speak up about it.
“The grievers sometimes tend to avoid talking about their pain because they have experienced their surroundings not be able to cope with it or use well-meant statements such as ‘You can have other children’ or ‘Your grandmother was old and had a good life, it was better that she could go’. These sentences might be cognitively true but are emotionally barren,” Himmelrich told Bored Panda.
We found out that my grandma had another child. Bringing the total to 8. That she gave up for adoption and never told anyone about. Not even my grandpa.
We tracked him down and he was the coolest, most normal one out of the bunch!
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We cleaned out my grandparents’ home and we found a letter from my sister to grandpa. ‘I HATE the new baby. All she does is cry cry cry. She is a crying WITCH!’
that baby was me, thanks sis
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My grandmother hoarded silver dollars over the years and hid them throughout her house. When we cleaned it up after she died we found the coins everywhere – every spot where you could imagine hiding a coin had one or two. The whole hoard ended up being worth about $7000.
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People surrounding someone experiencing grief might also avoid talking about it “because they think they might cause the griever pain or remind them [of it]. The truth is that the griever experiences the pain anyway,” she noted.
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“Have courage, speak about the hard and intense emotional truth of grief,” Himmelrich said and added that sooner or later, we all have to deal with it. So “the more openly we speak about it, the more this experience is normalized, and the taboo will be broken.”
When asked about whether finding unexpected things in a deceased loved one’s home can make the pain even harder to deal with, the coach shared a story about her mother who had passed away. “I went through her belongings to clear the house,” she said. “I was hoping that I would find something personal from her, maybe a letter or some personal notes. Having been living abroad for 15 years before she died, it was a way to get to know her and her life’s work from all the years I missed.”
Cleaning out my grandparent’s house after they passed away…
We found a booklet on sexual anatomy, a p**is eraser, a p**is that my grandma had crocheted and there were walnuts in the “nut sack”, and a drawing my grandpa did of my grandma wearing nothing but a feather boa.
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When we cleaned out my ex’s grandmother’s house, I stumbled upon her stash of how-to sex books, along with hand-written budgets from the 1940’s. This dear woman was one of the most proper and gentle kind of people you would ever meet, and if you had known her, you would have been very surprised. My eyes kind of bugged out for a second, then I chuckled and showed my ex. He just nodded his head and quietly said, “Well, I am glad to know gramps was gettin’ some”. His aunt looked at one of the books and said, “Let’s see if we’re doin’ it right.”
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Helped clean out my hoarding grandmother’s house. We found my father’s ashes.
The ashes she affirmed that she scattered at the family farm.
We also found my uncle. They were both in the original container and sealed.
WHAT DID SHE SCATTER?
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The holistic counselor explained that the situation of finding strange things “can shift the image that we have held on from someone. It does however also correct some of the assumptions we have held. The truth is that everyone has ‘strange’ things in their lives they might not be sharing with anyone else.”
When you lose a loved one, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. Especially if you’re responsible for arranging the services or handling their belongings. Himmelrich mentioned that the most important thing is self-care: “Taking time to pause when managing a deceased person’s affairs or asking for help.”
“When clearing my mother’s belongings, there were so many beautiful clothes, artwork, and jewelry, besides all the furniture, etc., that I knew I needed help. My father wasn’t able to deal with it given the circumstances, but he helped organize an event for friends, sending them invitations and organizing some catering for the event,” she said.
My great uncle’s house had a rodent’s skeleton that said “F*** you, Marty.”
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My mom found over three grand in cash stuffed between the cushions of my estranged father’s sofa. It was just enough to pay the mortgage and bills whatnot until my sister’s social security payments started kicking in. (She was a minor and my mom was still receiving child support for her.) Thanks, dad.
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My grandpa had four grenades he brought back from WWII in his garage. Still live. We had to call in the bomb squad.
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So if you’re having a hard time, remember that sharing experiences in real life or online help deal with your emotions. “My clients come to see me just because of that: being able to talk to someone about all the emotions, the overwhelm, the misunderstandings from family and friends. What is needed is validation and normalizing, which we sadly don’t get from society at large.”
“Talk to someone. Talk to a therapist and discuss the feelings that came up in that situation,” Himmelrich advised. But if you don’t have the means for it, you may also join her peer support group called May We All Heal on Facebook, where you can share openly with other people who get it.
When my dad passed, my older sister (from his first marriage) came to help go thru stuff.
All our lives my dad had his army locker. None of us knew what was inside. He always kept it locked. So we had to know. The mystery of our entire lives were now ready to be cracked open.
Busted the lock off. Opened it. Some old army patches and souvenirs from his army days, stuff of his dad’s and grandpas army days. Pics from his time overseas. Letter from government agency interested in him. Legal papers. Cool stuff.
And then the envelope.
The mystery of our entire lives… What was so important that he kept locked… Naked photos of my mom. Naked photos of my sisters’ mom. (No, not together. 20+ years apart. Think Polaroids vs Kodak)
We never should have opened that locker.
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Back when I was an Avon lady, I helped our regional director clean out a house when one of the little old Avon ladies in the district passed away. We found out that she’d been a hoarder, and her teeny little house was packed nearly from floor to ceiling, with these little canyon-like trails through it. In addition to an entire ROOM full of extra and unused Avon products (the more you sold, the more you get for free – either for your own use or to sell and get some extra cash), there were places where, behind the piles of Stuff, dust had accumulated to more than an inch and a half thick. It was like doing an excavation – and each layer was a different decade.
It was so strange and sad.
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Nine thousand bucks in old-fashioned ’50s [money] and somebody’s beef jerky-looking finger with [a] ring stuck on it.
Was clearing out my fraternal grandfather’s place with my dad and I discovered some bayonets, a whole collection of them, dating back to the Crimean war. They were wrapped in a bundle, with some letters, diaries and medals.
I went to show my dad and he was unimpressed. He then pulls out a large roll of what looks like blankets and unrolls it to reveal a full size ceremonial cavalry sabre.
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My family and I had to clean out my grampas apartment and we found 3 sets of binoculars. Now, that alone wouldn’t be particularly weird, but we still had no idea why he had them. At least, not until we looked out his bedroom window, and realized we had the perfect view of a neighborhood swimming pool, complete with two bikini-clad ladies. We all kinda just laughed about it.
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I helped clean out a girlfriend’s grandparents’ house. Along with finding some racially insensitive salt and pepper shakers, there was also a desk with a hidden compartment that her mom found. Her mom pulled out about 5 photos of grandma and grandpa having sex.
And they were recent photos.
When my Grandma died, we found a cup with nail clippings in it. Like when she cut her toe or finger nails she put them all in a cup. It was halfway full so she must have been saving for awhile.
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My Grandma was a bit of a hoarder and would hold on to the weirdest things. When we opened up one of the cabinets in one of her bathrooms I found a jar labeled “old”. I opened it up and found a set of dentures that looked like they hadn’t been used in a very long time. When we went down to the basement I was emptying out a drawer and found a large envelope. Inside of it were photos of a naked woman somewhere that I didn’t recognize. I had never seen what my Grandma looked like before she was, well, old. So it took me a second to realize what I was looking at. I handed them to Mom and, with a bit of dread, asked if they were pictures of Grandma. Mom’s eyes bugged out and all she said was “oh my god.” So yeah. I saw naked pictures of my Grandma. I could have gone without that.
Last month i had the sad task of clearing out my dad’s home, He lived alone as he separated from my mum when I was 5 (I’m almost 32).
I found that he kept every single card i had ever sent him, every little note I ever left him when I lived with him in my teens and more recently cards and doodles from my little boy.
Nothing unsavory, he was just a lonely man who really loved his daughter and grandson.
A couple of years before my dad died, he dated a younger woman who claimed she loved him and wanted to marry. They later went their separate ways but my Dad never told me the full story. After his death I was going through his belongings and found a 4 inch stack of Western Union money transfers from him to the woman’s family (~15,000 USD). Later found out she is nothing but a scam artist and preys on single older men. She convinces them she is in love and wants to marry, and gets them to spend money lavishly on fake wedding materials, reservations, etc.
My nan recently died, after finding her birth certificate we discovered that she’d been spelling her name wrong her entire life.
When I went through my wife’s things, I found her father’s suicide note. I didn’t even know he had left a note. Not a good day.
The night my mom passed, we found an envelope from an insurance company. She’d hidden the fact that she had maintained a life insurance policy, naming my Dad the beneficiary. (They’d been through a bankruptcy. He thought all policies were cancelled.) It ended up being worth $100,000. Good one, Mom.
After grandmas death we found grandpa. Well his ashes. In an unopened FedEx box with a note from the crematorium saying essentially “you never picked this up.” The thing is he has an urn and a spot at the cemetery. Apparently the cemetery just has the stone but no grandpa.
That my mom actually cleaned the room she fell in and that she cut a bush that was partly covering her window. The same window the EMT used to get her out of the house. All of that 3 days before. Like she knew a aneurysm would pop in her head days before.
My grandmother was a hoarder but also an antiques collector. There would be a stack of 7 boxes, 6 of them would have useless junk and the 7th would have $5000 worth of jewelry so we had to go through everything.
My grandmother was a hoarder. When she died in 2001 we were able to move thru her apartment via “trails” with c**p literally stacked neck-high on either side.
Found lots of unpaid utility bills at least 20 years old. A c**p ton of pink White Cloud toilet paper hidden in a closet. Diet Coke cartons from the mid-80s. Her oven was stuffed full of Little Debbie Oatmeal Cream Pies. Dozens of them! (Which she never ate due to having a bad gallbladder) My personal favorite was the stacks and stacks of Costco-sized cans of Veg-All. Oh, and a loaded handgun under her pillow. And every burnt out light bulb she ever used piled high in her bathtub. It’s like she was preparing for the zombie apocalypse.
My grandfather’s house. I was there at the time. My Dad and my uncle was there too. We were catalouging all of my granddad’s stuff so we could work out what would go to who, and what we could get rid of. However, there was a cupboard we couldn’t open. It was hidden in the top of an old grandfather clock, and it was tightly locked.
Nearly 2 months later, my uncle Matt had taught himself how to pick locks, and we all went back to my grandfather’s house, and Matt picked the lock and opened the cabinet. And guess what we found?
A revolver with a single bullet loaded, and 10,000 pounds.
My grandma’s ex-husband’s father was apparently some kind of doomsday prepper/would-be inventor. When he died, I didn’t go along to clean out his garage, but I understand that among the junk stashed in there was a drum of mercury and a landmine.
All her love letters to an affair she was having behind her husband’s back for two years during their 30 year marriage. They were pretty bad, not like p**nographic bad, but harshly dismissive of their relationship, like, “he’s a good man, doesn’t beat me, loves the kids, and makes good money. I stay with him out of a source of obligation, mostly. I married him at a time when I thought money and stability is what I needed, and love and passion would come in time. Ultimately, it did not.” Apparently it ended abruptly, and no one knew who he was.
In our grandparents’ home, my parents found a cemetery deed for a 6-grave plot located in a state about 1,200 miles away.
Apparently, the cemetery deed was a “wedding present” given to them by an unknown donor who was encouraging them to move to that part of the country.
As far as we know, that 6-grave plot still belongs to our family and will remain unused.
A bit late to the party, but … my grandmother passed away a couple years ago; Before she died, my dad helped her with her numerous medications and tried to keep her on a relatively strict diet. When we went through Gammy’s house we found almost a dozen (some unopened, some half-empty) boxes of Nutter Butter peanut butter cookies stashed all over the house (under pillows, under bathroom sink, behind her dresser, etc.) And one half-eaten loaf of bread in the closet. As a woman who was so “good” for her whole life (no drinking ever, bills on time, raised two boys and always had dinner on the table by 5:30, etc.) I like to think of the cookies as her own little act of rebellion
This is late. But here ya go.
I hadn’t talked to my dad in about 3 years. I went with my brother and mom to clean out his place. My dad was a great artist, he would doodle alot. I found a stack of white bristol board. On the top board, was a note to me. A moose (I love moose, but he didn’t know that because I became fond of them after we stopped talking.) and a self portrait of him and a beer can (alcohol took him). It was weird to me. It was a massive sign of an apology. It was the closure I sort of needed but did not realize that when I found it.
We reckon it was his last doodle. I still have it close to me today. His death brought my family closer and we don’t deal with stupid drama anymore.
My great aunt was a architectural photographer for various interiors magazines for most of her life. When her partner died we found dozens of boxes of slides – like actual slides you’d use a projector for – of what must’ve been every project she’d ever done. She had them turned into slides like she wanted to show off every cover of better homes and gardens she ever shot plus all the alternates. It was weird.
Also, though this was something we knew existed, we found great-grandma’s ‘neck massager’ that she bought out of some magazine stuffed into the couch cushions. She found it in one of those magazines that sell as seen on TV c**p labeled as a ‘personal massager’ and very innocently thought it meant an actual massager. she’d bring it out when everyone was around and turn it on and rub her neck with it.
Now every Christmas we hand it out to a new unsuspecting victim, and they get the pleasure of opening a massive, hard plastic beige vibrator in front of everyone.
When my great grandmother died, we found a very old, black cut off ponytail wrapped in brown paper, hidden in the back of some drawers. No one in my family has black hair…?
For anyone who knows they will have to be the one to do the cleaning, from a person who had to clean out both parent’s houses…
There is a pretty high probability that you will find sex toys.
Not strange in a “wtf” sense but in a we didn’t expect some things to survive that long. I had an uncle who died when he was a kid in a car accident. My grandma kept everything ever possibly related to him in her storage room. It wasn’t particularly dusty either so i assume she still looked at the things regularly. Everything from graded papers, doodles, all his old toys, and pictures. Taken care of and in great condition even though it all must’ve been 50years old at that point.
In my Great Grandparents house we found a very well hidden stash of Saltpeter (Potassium nitrate or KNO3). We think my grandpa’s mom was slowly poisoning his dad in an attempt to chemically castrate him. No idea how long it went on, but he died almost 15 years before she did.
Yeah…finding out about a brother in another country was interesting.
I did this for a living for 5 years. Best things I found were expensive art, cash, gold etc. I’ve discovered a hidden sex dungeon. The deceased male was widowed 5 years prior and made it to 93. All the equipment looked pretty new. Most odd item I found was a photo album of their family which had a cut of everyone’s hair in it. Given time I could probably think of a lot more.
Omg my time to shine.
Let me list a few crazy things I’ve found in my mother’s house so far.
Dried blood soaked sheets neatly folded in the bathrooms. We have to clean out the closets with bleach afterwards.
Her former boyfriend’s teeth not in a typical teeth plastic container but in a jewelry box.
The papers she sent her lawyer during the custody dispute with my father almost twenty years ago. The second paper was a list of reasons I was supposed to remain with her, first reason listed was “Daughters need to only live with their mothers.”
8000 photos so far. Nothing really good. My mom liked disposable cameras and would keep all of the photos from each one.
Smoke detector started beeping. It’s a very old one, like from the 1980s. I open it up. No battery, and a bundle of wires leading through the wall into the garage. Go into garage, trace the wires. They lead to a modern smoke detector in the garage, and a 12-volt battery. He had slaved the old smoke detector’s beeper to the new one so he could hear it inside if there was a fire in the garage. My grandfather was a retired electrical engineer. When I saw that, I just shook my head and said, “That crazy old engineer.” Genius move, but the work of a man with too much time on his hands.
With my grandfather we found several pictures of a girl no one knew, a few DNA test results that were positive, and the entire Mormon bible in Spanish.
Mom died in January. Dad found valentine cards addressed to each of us kids while changing the bed sheets.
We found a hand-dug basement behind a large kitchen cabinet. There is a family story how my great uncle was accused of murder, but the body was never found. Some of us think the body is in the basement.
Keys. Oh so many keys. My dad died and my mom and I found several dozen keys that we had no idea what they unlocked.
We found a blood-stained German cross pin/medal with an old yellowed note in my grandpa’s handwriting saying “taken from German soldier, Aachen, octo 1944”. Probably not that strange, considering that my grandpa was in the army during WWII, but it was a bit chilling. He was always so gentle and mild, it was strange to think of him taking a “souvenir” from a soldier he had killed. Seemed too bloodthirsty for the type of man he was.
My grandma died in April we are still in the process of helping my grandpa clean out the house, but among the strangest things we found were receipts from the 90’s and Christmas gifts she had already bought.
My grandpas collection of playboy centerfolds. No actual whole playboy magazines, just the centerfolds, neatly stacked in a box.
Not so much strange but after my nan died and my dad was cleaning her room he found an envelope in the very bottom of her dresser with a lock of his baby hair she’d kept for nearly 60 years. He was amazed because he didn’t even know she’d done that.
Gran was in a nursing home. Gran was tee total. Gran had multiple small bottles of wine hidden everywhere (all unopened) as well as dozens of knives. Cutlery knives not stabby knives. She didn’t eat in her room so I have no idea why she had them.
Cleaning out my uncles home with his immediate family I found a Nazi book. When I opened it, it was a dedication book to the “Fuhrer” written by school children. There were photos of each student on each page and they appeared to be young, aged 7-10. Each page was separated by an attached piece of tissue and the books spine had not been “broken”. On each of the student’s page, there was beautiful artwork and words and though I don’t speak German, there were recognizable words of Thank You’s and it had a tribute feel. I felt that if it had been my book I would have donated it to a museum or somewhere that it could be studied. My cousins kept it and I don’t know what they did with it afterwards.
This was found in the mountains of Arizona in a large cabin style home. Lot’s of other treats were found.
When we cleaned out my grandpa’s house we found probably 10 slingshots in a tiny one story house. Just slingshots everywhere. He was a pretty awesome guy.
When cleaning out my grandma’s house we got around to her bedroom and found a HUGE picture of me from when I was a toddler. I knew I secretly was her ‘favorite’ grandchild, but we were really surprised to find a photo that big and nothing comparable like that from the other grandchildren.
My grandpa lost his voice due to cancer surgeries when I was young and spoke with a synthesizer. It wasn’t always easy to understand him so he wrote a lot down. About 4 years later my grandma died, then my grandpa 4 years after her and we cleaned out their house. In my grandma’s room under a doily on the dresser we found a note written by my grandpa saying that started with wanted her to go lay on her bed then more description of what he would do to her. We stopped reading after we realized what it was so I don’t know the full details. Some cousins were grossed out, but I thought it was sweet they were still that active in their 70s despite major illnesses for both.
When my dad died I found money stashed in drawers and cabinets. A couple thousand dollars.
The night my grandpa died, me and my cousins were snooping around through the house while our parents were at the hospital, and we found hidden away in one of the cabinets, a plastic skull head decoration with bulging eyeballs covered in blood and green slime, and tentacular arms sticking out from the sides. It was late at night, and very out of place and the lights were off so it scared the living hell out of us. I took a video of us finding it. It’s pretty funny to look back at it now
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While helping my dad go through my moms things after she died we come across a stack of 4 old hat boxes and 3 cylindrical cases. I immediately knew that the cylindrical cases were Shriner fez cases because I already have 2 that I had collected years ago. Sure enough there were 3 beautifully bejeweled fezzes in those cases. The hat boxes contained a collection of different vintage hats including several amazing, completely feathered hats. The strange part was that neither my dad nor I knew that she had even bought any hats let alone that she had amassed such a collection. I’m a vintage seller on eBay and we talked almost every single day yet she never mentioned anything about them.
My dad lived with us in an in-law suite. Cleaning out his living area after he died I found a notebook filled with the comings and goings of our next door neighbor. Turns out my dad thought our AMERICAN next door neighbor looked too middle-eastern and might be a terrorist.
When my wife’s father died, we found some papers in his desk with measurements written down labeled arms, legs and back. He had been having some health issues for a few months before he died and could be a little eccentric so we thought he had been measuring his body for some reason and puzzled over it for a while. Then one day a few months later it came to me that they weren’t his measurements, but rather measurements for a chair he planned to build. He was a amateur wood worker and that must have been an upcoming project.
my grandfather was apparently very high up in the local freemasons chapter, and my grandmother kept all of his stuff after he died in 1997. grandma passed away last august and my mom brought home the freemasons books he had had and a couple briefcases of paper. that was pretty weird
My grandfather recently passed away and we cleaned out the garage. We found 12 sets of sunglasses, 5 wallets with $1200 cash and in his second freezer we found 22 ice creams on a stick. He loved ice cream apparently.
My mother had a large collection of handwritten erotic campfire sing-alongs stowed away.
When my mum died I found a book with the cover wrapped in paper. It had my grandads name in the cover and was a book about marriage and sex. It explained everything that goes on in the bedroom and how to keep a happy marriage. I love the thought that my grandad had this secret book that he kept, even 50 years after his wife died. I like to imagine him sitting with the book, red faced while my granny knits oblivious.
I found my mother’s “Jews for the Preservation of Firearm Ownership” card in an old wallet.
My grandpa liked to spend money. When moving a couch I found a credit card zipped into the couch cushion hidden from my grandmother.
When my mom’s brother passed away in 1995, my family were the ones that sorted his house cleaning as none of the other siblings were interested. We found cash stashed everywhere. He had over £50,000 in his bank and a few thousand stashed around the house. Me and my brother found this massive knife that could well have been considered a machete of some sort. He was a placid man and the fact he owned this was a surprise.
Other than that, it was mostly possessions of his mother around the house that he’d not gotten rid off after her death 2 years previous. Very sad for my mom having lost them both in 2 years. Still remember that day clearly.
We found a table that was half put together in my brother’s house. Went out the back and there was a table exactly the same, they got stuck building it at the same place and clearly thought they’d buy another and start again.
My mom went to clean out my aunt’s house after her husband (my uncle) died and they were selling the house. They essentially had no marriage, he lived in the basment, spoke to no one. Never went out. Was a really weird guy even when he was younger, like a stereotypical nerd. My mom found pamplets on p**is enlargement he had picked up at a doctors office as well as invoices for p**is enlarging devices. If he hadn’t died was he actually going to get his weiner enlarged?? and for what?? We’ll never know
We found a packet of wylers lemonade mix that expired in 1986. In 2012. Those things last like a decade at least too.
When my family cleaned out my uncle’s house after he died they found thousands of empty no2 cartridges for making whipped cream. Nobody was surprised, in fact they specifically did not let us kids help because they assumed there would be some and didn’t want to expose us to drugs, but it wasn’t that long after that I learned what “whipits” were and then my other uncle told me how funny it was gathering up bags and bags of them after he died.
When my great grandmother died, we had to clean out the whole house and she had soooo many stacked newspapers by her chair that all 10 piles went as high as your hips. I just found a lot of old candy, saved bags of chips, and unopened packages
When my Grandpa passed away, he left all kinds of mathematical notes all over his bedroom. Maybe he was a genius? He did get 3 Master’s degrees in Holland. His family was aristocracy over there. Then he brought his family to the U.S. and couldn’t get a good job.
My grandma’s closet was filled with water and electricity bills way back 2010. We were sure we already threw it away but old people really can rummage through trash and take things back. There were also canned goods in it, snacks she opened then didn’t eat again (or forgot), and some of our stuff that we’ve been looking for (thermometer, batteries, hand towels, etc). She was such a hoarder.
There were random popcorn kernels everywhere.