Day 341 Strangest clutter

I think it is time to play another round of…

Who has the weirdest item of clutter?

Back on Day 168 I asked – What is the strangest item among your clutter? – and I got some very interesting responses including Dog teeth and a ventriloquist dummy. Well after hearing a story from my Mother-in-law this week I think she may have you all beat before we even begin this round.

She has a small bottle containing a birth veil or caul from her grandmother dating back to 1884. According to Wise Geek a caul is a portion of the amniotic sac which clings to an infant as it is being born. As a result, the child is born either entirely or partially still inside the amniotic sac, which often forms a veil over the infant’s face.

According to Wikipedia – Over the course of European history, a legend developed suggesting that possession of a baby’s caul would give its bearer good luck and protect that person from death by drowning. Cauls were therefore highly prized by sailors. Medieval women often sold these cauls to sailors for large sums of money; a caul was regarded as a valuable talisman.

I don’t care if your story isn’t quite as odd as this I’m sure we would all like to hear it anyway. I will accept a story about someone else’s clutter that you may know of. You don’t have to consider the item as clutter either as it may be quite precious to you as are my children’s baby teeth and my mother-in-law’s caul. Really I just want a good laugh.

Actually my mother has the doll off the bridal car from when she was married 51 years ago. It is still wearing the underpants she made for it. She had written “No Peaking” on the underpants because she is just silly like that.

Ok now everyone don’t disappoint me get those stories in ASAP so we can all be amused.

Item 341 of 365 less things

Just another one of those items that we brought back from America that we should have.

TV antenna

5 Things I am grateful for today

  1. Waking up and getting out of bed – I was having a string of bad dreams and I was glad to escape that.
  2. Getting out of Liam’s neurologist appointment five minutes before it was even supposed to begin – we were half and hour early getting there which may have had a lot to do with it.
  3. Finding the cushions I needed for on my family room sofa’s for only $6 each – Yes don’t die of shock I actually bought something. I have been wanting these for months now but I wasn’t going to settle for something I didn’t really like or that was expensive. I certainly achieved that I got 4 cushions for the price of less than one of the others I had seen. This is what happens when you don’t rush your purchases.
  4. Our ebay auctions are out of the way for now.
  5. Phone calls from friends and family – It’s nice to know people care.

It matters not how fast I go, I hurry faster when I’m slow.

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Continue reading with these posts:

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  • Transient Stuff Much of what comes into my home these days is transient. Aside from groceries much of what does come in is free, secondhand, or both. And I have to say it makes it a whole lot easier to […]
  • Coming full circle ~ By Nicole V He awoke with a start, his heart pounding from the strange dreams that he’d had. He had no idea how long he’d slept. The inky darkness stretched all around him … and the silence, the […]
About Colleen Madsen

Colleen is the founder of 365 Less Things and lives in Newcastle, Australia.


  1. My weirdest item is the stainless steel screw and washer that was taken out of my leg after I had part of my bone cut off and then moved to another place so that my leg would be straight. It is in a bag with the hospital lab identification tag still on it.

  2. My mother saved some ash from the Mt. St Helens volcamo explosion in a little bottle. I now have it. Mt. St. Helens (in south western Washington state) became an active volcano and blew up in 1980. My parents stood at their living room window in Portland and watched the explosions. Later that day, they collected the ash that had begun to drift across the city off their car and sidewalk.

    • Hi Willow,
      oddly enough there is probably a bottle of that ash all the way across the world in my house somewhere as well. We have been to Mt St Helens a few times and I am sure we bought a souvenir bottle the first time we went there. It is truly an amazing sight to see. I have now seen Mt Vesuvius as well.

  3. My dad was born under a caul. This is part of the amniotic sac which adheres to the infant’s face. He was born at home and when delivered it looked like he had no face. He kept the caul his entire life. It is believed to bring protection, esp. on a boat. Very appropriate since he served in the Navy.

    • Hi Bonnie,
      My mother-in-law will be so happy to read this comment when she gets on the computer next. She wasn’t sure about the story about the birth veil and so I googled it and found everything she said was true. It just goes to show how well word of mouth has translated that story throughout the years. She will become google mad soon too now that I have introduced her to all the exciting information she can access.

      How appropriate for your dad to be born with a caul and be a sailor. My MIL will be particularly amused by that.

  4. A caul! That’s so interesting; Ive read about it being considered good luck – never heard a story of someone keeping it. My husband has some paraphernalia from his grandfather’s mining days, an old lamp, vouchers for the company store etc. Also, my mom had all 5 children at home and the midwives would always wrap up the placenta in a garbage bag and put it in the freezer because they’re great to bury under trees as plant food. (Is this too gross?) Soooo….there might have been a couple of placentas in our freezer at some point waiting for a busy mom to start gardening again. Alas, I have nothing strange of my own to talk about!

    • Hi SiimplePoppy,
      the grandfather’s mining days stuff sound interesting, the placentas well you have to admit is a little gross but that is the fun of historic traditions/wives tales etcetera but I was very pleased to here you had no strange clutter of your own.

      • A friend of mine has had 4 children and she saved all of her placentas in the freezer so she could plant trees over them when she was back to gardening.

        • Hi Carol,
          thank you for dropping by and leaving a comment and welcome to 365lessthings. First of all I have to ask did she ever plant those trees or are the placentas still in the freezer years later? Secondly, if she did plant the placentas and the trees has she since moved house and if so and if not how difficult would that be for her now that the trees have such significant meaning. Clutter can sure come in interesting forms.

  5. Hmmm, I’d love to play but I’ve got nothin.’ All my junk is of the regular variety, nothing odd or exotic.

  6. My parents are great hoarders : on their chest of drawers were displayed my father’s kidney stones !

  7. In some cultures the placenta is frozen in bits and eaten by the mother, to gain back strength after giving birth.

    But here are two stories, both from guys:
    A paper plate with ketchup smudges still on it, from his very first french fries. (Those really made an impression on him!!)

    An envelope full of lint that came from the dryer after his new sweatshirt had been washed and dried for the first time.

    The things we hold on to!!!!!

  8. Hey Col I think we must have bought the same $6 cushions for our lounges. I thought I needed to get new cushions before you guys visit for christmas as the old ones had seen better days……..$24 total price was just right to make the lounge room look a little brighter. Looking forward to seeing you all soon and giving that boy of yours a hug as I still can’t believe how far he has come since we saw him in late October. As for things we hold on to I still have on display in my lounge room the plate that Bridget made with one of her drawings when she was about 4 years old……it may be a little hidden by all the photos but it is still there as a reminder of a treasured gift! See you all soon.

    • Hi Trude,
      It will be so good for you to see Liam and know that he really is OK. He was quite the mess the last time you saw him and now aside from those wonky teeth and facial scars he looks just like his old self. He owes you a hug too so creep up on while he is asleep if that is the only way you will get him to submit I would say tackle him but he is a bit at high risk for that type of manoeuvre.

      I will be expecting the lollies to be on the plate of Bridget’s at Christmas so we can all enjoy it.

  9. A year ago we were setting off to a journey across Europe by car and the night before, after loading all the suitcases to the car boot, my husband discovered he could no longer lock the boot. We had assumed It was due to extremely low temperatures, however the next morning we still struggled to lock it. It took a kettle of warm water, then some hot air from the hair dryer, an it was finally locked. Needless to say, all the necessities were stacked around us in the car during that journey, as we did not want to risk opening the boot again.
    When the lock was serviced at the destination, it was replaced by the new one – the garage knew about this sort of issue with the locks from before. They gave my husband the old lock, neatly packed in the box, and he took it all the way back to the UK. I kept seeing it in the house and never got around asking him why he needed it and what for, until a few weeks ago when I started my own decluttering challenge and that was one of the first things to go. One year of keeping a broken car part just because the garage policy is to return it to you after replacing it! Mind boggles…

    • Hi Ornela,
      well I am glad that you saw sense and decluttered that useless item. How often does that happen though where we bring something useless back into the house for no real reason and find it still there years later. I was so used to hearing body part stories today I thought your tale was going to have some weird unexpected ending but I was glad to hear the sensible conclusion instead.

  10. Despite some hard thinking and soul searching (not to mention cupboard rummaging) I can’t find anything weird. not sure if I am glad or sad! LOL

  11. A locust shell. they shed their outside layer like a snake does. I found it on a tree over 20 years ago in my grandparents back yard & have kept it in a glass jar.

    • Hi Daisy,
      cicadas do the same thing and I have seen many of them but I have never bothered to collect any. Are you hanging on to it for any particular reason?

      • No, I just thought it looked neat. I have seen tv shows where they collect bugs for educational purposes, but this is the only one I’ve collected. I’m not really into insects.

  12. I have a lollipop ring in a jar, a little “melted” and gunky… husband proposed to me with it because I had made very clear that I wanted to choose my own ring! (Wish I hadnt now as I dont like it anymore and can only blame myself!) I have thought about chucking it out but it does tend to make me smile whenever I see it on my dresser. My truly weird item is a plait of hair that I cannot for the life of me remember the origin of! Its gone now…

    • Hi Hannah,
      that lolly pop ring although melted and gunky is one of those treasured pieces that nobody would want to get rid of I think.
      Years and years ago I had a plait of hair too but I knew it was mine from when I got my hair cut short when I was in 4th grade at school. I have no idea what happened to it someone obviously sort reason and threw it out.

  13. I think my weird things have been gotten rid of long ago, like my ponytail from when I got my long hair cut really short, and my baby teeth that my mother had kept. I still have some porcupine quills, though, that she gave me for educational purposes. My parents used to have two stuffed owls (real ones stuffed by a taxidermist). The rest of my stuff is just regular unexciting stuff 🙂 It’s interesting to read all about other peoples’ unusual items.

    • Hi Jo,
      seems like us long haired girls tend to save our ponytails when we first get our hair cut short. Cutting my hair short now is grounds for divorce as far as my husband is concerned which is probably a good thing because every time I have cut it short I have hated it so he is probably saving me from myself.

  14. My husband has the stabilizing bar and screws that were used to keep his wrist from moving after he broke it (long story about that); I think he also has the pins from the wrist bones that the Dr. removed. I still have my son’s baby teeth and heaven help me, stitches from his forehead that the Dr. removed; put in gauze and gave to me. Me, I could toss those with no problem, but my husband won’t let me.

    Colleen, I’ve got to tell you how much I like your blog. My goal for the last several years has been to declutter my house and garage and to get rid of our two (!!!!!!!) storage units. Over the last couple of years I’ve made some progress, but it wasn’t until my son got married in September that I’ve really gotten a lot done (I’ve been trying to figure that one out). We’ve even emptied out one of our storage units!! I told my husband that my goal for Father’s Day and his birthday (which is always near or on Father’s Day) was to have the second unit emptied. I know I’ve given away over 100 bags of “stuff” to charities and thrown away more than that. I had hoped that I would be where I want to be by now; but I see progress and I know that I will get there. Your blog gives me encouragement. Thanks and keep it up!

    • Hi Mary,
      it is a pleasure to meet you and I am so glad I can be an inspiration to help you declutter your life and be more with less. It warms my heart to know that I am helping people.
      You must be glad to have the storage unit rent back in your pocket rather than throwing it away sheltering stuff you don’t even want. You have quite a collection of strange medical clutter which seems to have become a theme of this strangest clutter question. My husband had his gallbladder out last week but he didn’t even want to see it much less bring it home. And my son didn’t even have an identification band by the time he was ready to come home after his recent accident because in his confusion he refused to keep any foreign object on his body including the braces they put on his teeth to keep his broken jaw in line. Thank goodness for that because I am not in the business of collecting clutter.
      Keep up the decluttering and please drop in as often as you like to leave a comment and let us know how your decluttering is coming along.

  15. Hi Colleen,
    our weirdest thing is my cat’s bladder stones. The things cost more than any other stones my husband has given me, including my diamond anniversary band, so we kept them for the “can you believe it?” factor. They are in a small vial in a small box that we keep the nail clippers and other small bits in. The stones are not destined to stay,but they do amuse me as hubby says he hates the cat but yet agreed to the surgery to save the ailing old boy (he’s 14).

    My grandmother was born with the caul and it was burned as it was thought that the caul gave second sight, a sign of witchery.

    • Hi Susan,
      I am thinking you may possibly have the strangest item of clutter simply because it is not unusual for people to keep their own body parts but a cat’s bladder stones now that is just weird. No offence intended of course.
      I will have to tell my mother-in-law about the witchery thing I am sure she will be amused.

      • Hi Colleen,
        of course no offense taken! Please keep my prize for winning the weirdest clutter, though. I am trying to declutter, you know? 🙂

        • Hi Susan,
          you are too funny! So it turns out your husband is a closet cat lover after all. You know I had a weird dream last night where my husband insisted that I buy four Persian kittens in a store we had gone into when looking for something else. He hates cats and I woke up thinking that was strange but maybe your comment yesterday triggered that dream. I’m a little weird like that, one small insignificant thing during the day can get blown out of all proportion in my mind once I am asleep.

    • What a funny story! I can just see the little kitty stones rattling around! Your hubby has a kind heart even if he says he hates the cat!

      • Jessie,
        He is a sweet heart and don’t let anyone else know this but I have caught him making kiss noises while petting the cat. LOL

  16. Nothing too weird, just inexplicable: why were there 27 coaxial cables in the utility box when I reviewed its contents over the summer? How did they get to be so many? I unloaded all but one long and two short, putting them in the “free stuff” box I put out in front of my building whenever it gets half full.
    My mom kept the hair from my first haircut but she doesn’t have it, she makes me store it for her in my fire safe. I consider it hers and I don’t want it so I don’t count it among my weird possessions. It’s just something that happens to be in my space, cluttering up my fire safe. We’ve had an argument in the past when I said I didn’t want to keep things for someone else’s sentimental reasons; my reasons allow me to keep enough stuff already, thank you very much. Needless to say at this point, I lost the argument over this baggie of hair. 🙂

    • Hi MmmYarn,
      sorry you didn’t win that argument, it is bad enough when we can’t part with our own clutter never mind holding on to someone else’s. Oh well sometimes we have to be peace keepers. Those cables were certainly out of control. Did anyone come along and take them away for you?

  17. Yes, they were all gone by the time I went out for a walk 20 minutes later. Everything in the “free stuff” box always goes away, usually bit by bit over a period of about 2 hours. Only once did I bring it back upstairs at sunset with something left in it and that item left the next sunny day I put the box out. It’s a very convenient system for all that random stuff that’s not really a good donation for the Goodwill.

    • Hi MmmYarn,
      this is a great system and I use it myself with larger items I can put on the street. I am thinking of trying to set up an email give-away/swap/borrow system in our neighbourhood but I will wait until the new year when the vacant houses are filled up again. And you are right, there are certain things that people would be happy to take off your hand that Goodwill wouldn’t. I find freecycle good for this as well.