Updated: Feb 1
I read an article recently that detailed how a family in Brazil were reconnected with their long lost family pet tortoise, Manuela, who had been missing since 1982. Manuela was found alive and well in between a hoard of boxes in a cluttered upstairs storage room after some recent decluttering. Although the family believed that Manuela had just strolled outside one day, never to be seen again, she had actually still been living in the house the whole time, fending for herself amongst decades worth of unused and unloved stuff.
This story did make me marvel at the resilience of Manuela the tortoise, but it also made me curious as to what other bizarre items people had found or reconnected with after decluttering their living spaces.
My story becomes pretty tame in comparison, letting go of retro games and toys, VHS cassettes, sticker albums and magazines, but I can’t recall finding too many outrageous things, like Manuela, that caused a WTF moment. However, I thought there must have been others out there that could rival the tortoise discovery, so over the course of a week in lockdown, I surveyed a diverse bunch of people from across the world and asked if anyone had found any bizarre items whilst decluttering their homes;
I wasn’t disappointed.
1. Chicken spectacles
Yes, you read that right. Chicken spectacles. Something that I had never heard of but was immediately intrigued by. Clearly the city boy in me had not frequented many farms in the past and therefore had never seen a chicken wear glasses, but I can tell you it's a thing. Oh and by the way, they weren't just tiny spectacles for chickens, but they were also rose tinted!
It makes sense now but at the time my WTF radar was on high alert. Apparently they were very handy for protecting the chickens eyes from attack and falling ‘foul’ (sorry) of pecking from others.
It's worth noting that the lady who posted a picture of them had no connection to chickens at all. Never had any, never worked with any, and the home they lived in was never connected to a farm or anything like that.
"The deep rose-colored plastic lenses make it impossible for the cannibal [chicken] to see blood on the other chickens, although permitting it to see the grain on the ground” - so there you have it.
More plausible than the chicken spectacles perhaps when they could be your own or a family member’s, but when they’re not, it’s strange. Maybe the tooth fairy forgot one of her pickups, but finding teeth that are not yours is quite bizarre. Why were they still there? How long had they been in the home for? Were they even human? Who knows where the mind could take you but there's clearly the start of a horror film in there somewhere.
3. Inspector Gadget fancy dress outfit
“No one owned up to owning it” was the comment from the lady who shared this piece of nostalgia. For those of you who remember Inspector Gadget, you may recall it's probably not that difficult to sort a fancy dress outfit for this character. Just a long trench coat and hat, really. That's pretty much it. You could add a long fake arm or leg for comedic purposes I suppose.
Personally I would have put Penny and Brain on the case to find its true owner.
4. A Treasure Map
Of course, there would be a treasure map.
This map was located in the basement of one family home. The story goes that someone in the family had purchased the map in a bar from an old man over forty years ago. Make of that what you will. The map, made in fabric, apparently had the year 1827 stitched in one of the bottom corners with some latin words. Interesting. Needless to say it was thrown out with comics and other fantasy paraphernalia.
5. The fake eye
Someone misplaced their eye which brings a whole new meaning to the term keeping an eye on things. Sorry. Apparently a relative had a prosthesis and one day just put it down to clean, but it was never ‘seen’ again. Sorry. It must have been quite a shock to the person who found it whilst cleaning to have that staring up at them, judging, watching.
6. A uterus
In a jar.
The story goes that one day the lady who shared this was helping clean out her grandmother's home when she found this milky liquid. When she asked what it was, the grandmother said “It's my uterus” which was met with mild shock.
I later found that the grandmother was a biology teacher and she used it to reference in her classes. No one knew it was hers though, apparently.
A few other notable mentions were a container with gallstones in it, food that had either been discovered behind a sofa, under a bed or still in the oven months or years later. We also had a cheeseburger in a sock and a sandwich in a drawer that were also shared. Grim.
As well as some of the bizarre stuff that people so kindly shared, there were actually some great wins as well. One person found a Tiffanys fish server worth $1200, which was due to be sold at a garage sale for $5. Lost clothes with tags on, gold earrings, wedding rings and a safe with money in it were also found.
There can be fun discoveries along a journey into less. It doesn't always have to be this serious and poignant topic, but as the years go on, needless purchases, keepsakes, just in case items and other bits and pieces can sit dormant in our most sacred and valued spaces, taking up room in our lives. Sometimes, stuff makes its way into our lives without us knowing it's even there. Decluttering, therefore goes way beyond improving the aesthetics and helps remove the random teeth, fancy dress costumes and internal organs from your environment.
I hope you found value in the piece you just read and may it help you on your journey. Please feel free to share or support my work by buying me a cookie.