Roman Kraft/Unsplash

The passing of a loved one can be a very difficult experience. Going through their home that once held their life can be cathartic and healing, or incredibly difficult to process.

Grief can be processed through the ritual of going through their belongings, especially if you enlist the help of others and really take the care needed to go through the stages of grief.

You may find a piece of their life that no one knew about. Maybe they had a hobby that they never shared or they kept a journal with thoughts they kept a secret.


Redditor swamptheyard asked:

"Those who've cleaned out their deceased loved one's household after their death what did you discover inside their home that was interesting?"

Get the tissue box ready.

A friend that stole her cloths.

"When I cleaned out my best friend's apartment I found a bunch of my shirts that had been missing that she'd claimed not to have. I started laughing, called her a b*tch, and then just started crying. It was just a lot of complex emotions. Feeling she could have had the world if she wanted, could have kept whatever of mine she wanted if I could just have her back. She just had to give up the needle. Felt so helpless, not being able to help her."

- kliffard

"Wow I lost one of my greatest friends to heroin overdose, and reading this sounds just like the relationship between her and I. You know she was cracking up when you found out she did indeed have those clothes you were looking for too, but that sister-type friendship where your love language is talking sh*t to each other knowing it's nothing but love speaking. My friend battled with trying to get clean, she, unfortunately, got bailed out of jail the night of Christmas eve to be around family and friends for Christmas. That night she decided to use and died while sitting on her bed. It still is hard to accept to this day. I wanted to go through her room to have something of hers for memorabilia, but I just couldn't step foot into the room that once was alive with laughter, goofiness and memories."

- swamptheyard

A journal for the museum.

"My grandma kept a pretty detailed journal of her life from 5 years old on up. Keep in mind, I'm old, but she crossed the US in a covered wagon to homestead in the Midwest. The journal belongs in a museum."

"I'm going to dig out the journal and do the right thing with it. I've already researched the historical museum in the town where she homesteaded. I'll see about letting them have it, maybe on loan."

"She was awesome. Traveled in a covered wagon at age 5. Lived in a sod house with a dirt floor for a year. Cooked and kept warm with buffalo and cow poop. Gathered rocks off the farm to make a foundation. Rode a horse to school every day to a one room school house. Won the county spelling bee. Became the school marm at age 16. Raised 3 kids by herself during the depression (even bought a small house). Lived to see man walk on the moon."

"Her father became a Teamster. And I mean a REAL teamster in that he drove a wagon pulled by a 20 mule team. He delivered goods to country stores. The wagons were the forerunners to 18 wheelers."

- RonSwansonsOldMan

"Archivist here and I absolutely agree with everyone that says this should be preserved and made available (if you're comfortable with it). If you aren't ready to let it go, digitization is always an option, or just finding an archive, library, or museum that you can bequeath it to when you're ready."

- ArchivesGal

"That's a record of the old American experience. You should [100%] contact a local library or publisher to see about saving that record. That's an extremely valuable piece of Americana art."

- JukeDriver

"I would say keep that, just for you. Or do a scan and put a PDF in like 'Gutenberg Project' maybe. :) I always wondered what life was like back then. History of America never interested me, except the stuff that happened in the bygone eras of cowboys and the like (even if I learned from a AMH professor, some of it was nostalgia and stuff from the .10cents novels). Interesting to know, that she was just like us, with less material possessions and probably got just as annoyed by the going-on in her life."

- N00dlemonk3y

A collector.

"After a close friend died, I helped clean out his house. Found shelves and shelves of (hundreds of) bottles of hot sauce. All different kinds. Boxes and boxes of MTG cards, all unopened. Dozens of pairs of sneakers, still in boxes. And a whole bathroom stacked floor to ceiling with rolls of toilet paper (pre-covid). You were a weirdo, Doug. I f*cking miss you."

- MentalHygienx

"Doug invested his money apparently, and could be sitting on someone else's retirement depending on the value of the cards. Sorry you lost your friend, did you keep anything he owned in memory of him? Curious about all that hot sauce he owned though, like did he collect hot sauces, or were they empty and he ate tha on literally everything?"

- swamptheyard

"Thank you. He left everything to another friend of ours who really needed it and they are doing well now. I kept a few handwritten notes I found and a quilt :) the hot sauce was mostly full bottles, and it got distributed among our friend group."

- MentalHygienx

Hidden treasure.

"$30,000 in the freezer."

- pool_and_chicken

"Now that's some cold hard cash."

- _Raspootin_

"Was it wrapped up and stuffed in a bag labeled 'Veal'?"

- solidsumbitch

"Actually, no, it was in several Cool Whip containers."

- pool_and_chicken

"When my brother died, we had to sort through every little thing because he hid money all over the place. Taped behind drawers and pictures, in socks, hidden in all kinds of weird places. Ended up with nearly 15k by the end of it."

- JustAnotherRussula

"My eccentric Great Uncle had almost a quarter million in grocery bags scattered around his house. He'd been a professional gambler most of his life and so never worked or trusted banks."

- zerbey

Very confusing.

"I cleaned out my Dad's closet and found a pocket knife with the confederate flag on it. We're Black, so I was very confused 😂 now I carry it around because it reminds me of him. I've gotten a few stares 🥴"

- eboniya

Thankfully, it was forgotten about.

"My senile/Alzheimer depressive grandpa had a gun in his bedroom drawer all along. We don't know how, when or why he got it, but we're happy that he seemed to have forgotten about it and didn't use it."

- smolbibeans

Russian artifacts.

"When I cleaned out my grandparents house I found a bunch of stuff my grandma took when she left Russia and now I have bunch Stalin era commie crap in my garage."

"My grandparents weren't on the winning side of the war if you catch my drift. A lot of it's bad a** cause it's from the era I just don't know what to do with it all."

back2backRelapsChamp

"Your local museum might be interested! Doesn't hurt to ask."

- notthesedays

"A Russian friend of mine helped clear out her grandmother's apartment after she passed away in the early 1990s. One of the coolest things they found was a freestanding kitchen cabinet with a false back. They tipped it the wrong way and a secret door cracked open. Behind the door was an Russian Orthodox shrine and her bible. Guess you didn't want to get caught with that in your house during the Stalin era."

- joycefanoneofmany

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Dad's that kept the love strong.

"When I cleared out my dads house last year just as my dad had only just moved house I found old note pads/journals from when he use to drink a lot before he got sober and some of them were from when he was in a pretty dark place. I wish I'd never opened and read some but they were pretty detailed and one even had a 'goodbye note' in I can only imagine what else he was hiding in his mind. I found an old stuffed doll that was very poorly made it was hidden at the bottom of a box in his wardrobe, I hadn't seen it in years (I was 5 when I made it). And yet here it was, safe and sound, lovingly kept throughout the years. Although I swear it looked better when I made it haha. Thanks, dad."

- TheProdicalOne

"We didn't really clean out the household because it's still our family home but after my dad passed we were going through some of his things like wallets and clothes and this man kept pictures of my mom everywhere. We were constantly finding them in his pants, his duffel bag, his backpack and all of his wallets had at least 2-3 pics of my mom. It was more confirmation of just how much my dad really loved my mom and it made me happy to have seen a love like that in my parents but it also made me so sad knowing that my mom had to continue living on without him."

- bocajmairam

Rolex.

"My grandparents were dirt poor, so none of us expected to find an actual Rolex when clearing out my grandpas stuff. Obviously one of my relatives immediately 'went to get it valued' and ran off with the thing. The fun part is Grandma was still alive at the time, and still dirt poor. Imagine stealing the literal only thing of value your mother has for no reason. So it goes."

- Redditor

Not what they thought it was.

"My friend's grandmother died, and he bought her house from his parents and Aunt. It needed a ton of work and I was helping him gut the basement. We pulled down part of the ceiling and a dusty old leather bag fell out of the ceiling onto the floor. We looked at each other, at the bag, and back to each other with that 'Holy F*ckballs we just found a bag of cash' look on our faces."

"We opened up the bag, and found a bunch of old pictures of his grandma and grandpa, and a bunch of their friends. Naked. Apparently his grandparents were swingers back in the day. We did what we felt was the only proper thing to do. Put them all back in the bag and sealed it up into the new ceiling when we put it up. Hopefully it will psychologically damage some other poor souls in 50-60 years."

- Jealous-Network-8852

Fun runs.

"We cleared out my grandfather's dresser after my grandma decided she couldn't do it. We found a bunch of t-shirts from various nudist fun runs he'd attended, the most recent of which took place when he was 75! My grandma was embarrassed when she realized he had kept the shirts, and admitted to frequenting a nudist beach with him until he got sick. I would've never guessed!"

- BookPirate213

"Wait…a t-shirt from a nudist fun run? Kind of defeats the purpose."

- nzcnzcnz

"Please tell me you kept some of those shirts. Like, can you imagine wearing it out to a bar and getting a compliment on it and being able to say, 'Thanks! It was my grandpas!' That, and commemorative nudist t-shirts are a weird thing to have."

- GreenOnionCrusader

"My mom like really wanted to toss them but my sister and I managed to smuggle out a couple! Mine says 'Bare Buns Fun Run' which is a delightful alliteration I think lol"

- BookPirate213

Not as clean as they thought.

"When my parents passed on I inherited their house. They were clean/organized (I am not). We found in every closet packed to the ceiling with useless crap! So they were secret … hoarders!"

- rexifelis

Pieces of history.

"Does downsizing count? Mum dug out stuff that we never knew existed. Or never knew she kept."

"Three Purple Heart medals. Two engraved with names: my dad's and my uncle's. The third was not engraved and we have no idea who it was given to."

"Letters exchanged mostly between my dad and his mother during WWII. A whole shoebox full. Mum's wedding book with notes and pictures I had never seen. Like how they first met (at a picnic basket fund raiser) when he proposed (on a motorcycle,) and where they went on their honeymoon (Baton Rouge, Louisiana.)"

"Funeral Guest Books from her mother's and father's funerals. One from Dad's funeral. Copies of their birth and death certificates. Copies of wills, and various legal papers."

"Mum's journals she first started when she was a young girl in the late 1930s."

- EC-Texas

WWII Memorabilia.

"I found all my great grandfather's war trophies from his time in the European Theater of WWII."

"SO many Nazi belt buckles, patches, guns, etc."

- McGregor_Tears

"My family has my grandpa's 'trophies' of patches and such that he would take off of Nazi soldiers he killed as well."

- Academic_Total_495

They didn't even know what they had.

"Not me but my grandfather and his siblings cleared out their brother's home."

"Because they all grew up in the Depression my uncle was justifiably suspicious of banks, doubly so as a Black man, so he had a lot of money hidden in the house. There was very old money and silver stuffed everywhere. My mother tried to persuade them to keep it, because of its value, but they just rolled up all the coins and stacked the bills and took them to the bank. We're talking like old Walking Liberty dollars and the like, red seal bills and everything else. He died in the early 90s, so he had money dating back decades, some of it from the previous century. It was nuts."

"I'm sure some enterprising numismatist made out like a bandit."

- feverishdodo

Memories, history, and relics from a time now in the past. We hold only these pieces of our loved ones lives to help keep their spirit alive.

Or maybe we hold onto it for our own healing or peace of mind.

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