Payday arrived early for these house cleaners! These individuals share the most valuable, hilarious, and absurd treasures they stumbled upon while cleaning a loved one’s home. Content has been edited for clarity.
Rags to Riches
“A few years ago, my friend mentioned she was looking for a new employee because one had just resigned. She resigned for a very strange reason, but my friend wouldn’t find out why until multiple years later.
The young woman who had quit after three years of employment was married, had two children, and was expecting another child. She worked in the shop which was a maternity wear store so she could afford their clothes. Her husband was a day laborer who wasn’t able to stay at one job too long, as he had issues with authority figures.
With two small children and a small income from her husband, the woman was happy to have a job even if it certainly did not pay very much back in the late nineteen seventies in a mall. They were very very poor and she thought twice about every dollar she spent.
One day she came to tell her boss, my friend, that she needed to quit working at the shop. She and her husband bought a deed to a home in an urban renewal neighborhood and needed to take time off to restore and clean the home. They were ready to work on the home, even though they had no idea how they would pay for the materials needed. In the meantime, they lived with her parents who continued to look after the two small children.
Upon entering the home for the first time, they realized how bad the conditions were. It had hardly any roof, no glass in the windows, and the frames were rotted. The doors were non-existent, and the stairs were very dangerous. The young woman was afraid to walk to the second floor in case the dry-rotted wood would give way. She stayed on the first floor while inspecting everything with her husband and taking notes.
Her husband suggested they check the cellar to inspect the heating, electricity, and plumbing. They both ventured down the concrete steps into a dark and damp basement using flashlights.
At the end of one wall, they noticed a dividing wall that seemed out of place in such a small cellar. The wall was made of old wood, but it was very sturdy. The husband tried to see what was behind the wall, but it wouldn’t budge. The couple decided to come back with better lighting and tools the next day.
When they returned, the couple managed to move the dividing wall. They were astonished at what was hiding behind it!
Behind the wall stood six huge wooden barrels, similar to the kind used to store pickles many years ago. The barrels were tightly sealed with wooden lids which were nailed down. None of the lids could be moved, not even an inch. The contents hidden inside were obviously very heavy.
What could these barrels hold? The husband decided to pry off one of the lids and pulled the nails out one by one. Finally, he removed the lid and shone the flashlight into the barrel. A thick burlap bag laid crumpled on top.
He tore off the bag and nearly fell over! The barrel was filled with old coins, nearly to the brim.
They both rushed to pry the lids off the other five barrels. They were all filled with coins too, mostly pennies. When the couple looked at a few of the pennies, they noticed all of the coins had mint dates prior to World War II. Someone had been saving the coins for years in the barrels before the war began.
Now what? They legally owned the brick shell they were going to rebuild into a home for their family. Therefore, the barrels belonged to them. How were they supposed to get all of the coins out of the barrels to pay for their expenses?
They moved carefully and were smart about their decisions. The couple promised each other not to tell anyone about their find and replaced the lids on the barrels. They made a plan on how they could best handle their fantastic find without raising suspicion with their family, neighbors, or friends.
They carefully took out a few loads of coins at the time in ordinary canvas tote bags. If anyone asked, they were emptying dirt from the cellar so they could start the renovation. They spent every evening after work and dinner examining the coins they had taken out and checked for valuable ones in a book from the library. They set the valuable ones aside and took them to a coin dealer in the city.
They put the remaining pennies in paper rolls and took them to different banks in the area to exchange for paper bills. They opened a joint savings account at different banks and made small weekly deposits like they were saving from their paychecks.
In the meantime, they bought lumber and other materials in different hardware stores around the county. A little here, a bit more there, just enough to look like they were doing some repairs to their house.
The brick shell slowly turned into a liveable home. It took almost two years before they could move in with their, by then, three children. They still had not told anyone about their unexpected find and had not even begun to empty the last three barrels.
The couple now had no worries and could build their dream home with extra money remaining. They were smart, and only told a few trusted friends and family members about their find. They truly had had their hopes and dreams answered!”
“I Felt A Wave Of Dread Sweep Throughout My Body”
“I moved my mother into independent living when she was in her eighties. One strange thing I found after I moved her out of her home was our Hoover vacuum cleaner which had broken when I was a teenager. That is, more than forty years ago. The woman saved everything.
While my wife and I cleaned her house and prepared it for sale, we discovered she had money stashed all over the place. There were wads of cash clipped inside sleeves of clothing, in pockets of old coats, in envelopes taped behind and under furniture, wrapped in newspaper, and hidden in a bag of linens. There was even cash in envelopes of old, already paid bills. There was cash everywhere. There were twenty, fifty, even one hundred dollar bills. We eventually found an envelope with cash taped to the back of the old stove.
It was comical, although frustrating because we had to be very careful and inspect everything before we tossed it into the dumpster. We threw away virtually everything, even her ancient gas stove which dated back to nineteen fifty-one. Once we were done, we went to see how she was doing in her new apartment. We were about to leave when she stopped me and asked me to sit down.
She whispered, ‘I have something very important to tell you. The next time you are at the house, go into the kitchen and remove the bottom left drawer of the stove. Look far in the back and you will find a package wrapped in an old towel. It is where I hid my fortune.’
I felt a wave of dread sweep throughout my body. The stove was already long gone.
I tracked down the guy I had hired to do some work around the house and dispose of the stove. He seemed to be a hardworking and honest man.
I asked him about the stove and he said, ‘One of my workers had wanted it for his apartment, but it was too heavy to take up to the third floor.’
My heart sank as I imagined the stove in a scrap yard somewhere.
I questioned him hopefully, ‘Where is the stove at right now?’
He uncomfortably replied, ‘In my garage.’
I think he thought I would be unhappy with him.
As casually as I could, I pressed on, ‘Do you think I could take a look at it? My mother left something inside.’
He assured me, ‘Of course.’
We ventured to the garage. I got down on my knees and removed the left drawer. It was rather dark in the garage, so I simply reached back as far as I could and felt around. Suddenly, I felt the texture of a towel and wrapped my hand around a package the size of a smoke box. I got up, put the package on top of the stove, and unwrapped it. The package contained wads of money. My mother was senile, but she knew where she had stashed her fortune.”
“We Found A Multitude of Strange Items”
“My uncle passed away last August. He was a simple man, and he never had much beyond necessity. While we cleaned his house, we found multiple boxes of seemingly random junk. While my other uncle, aunt, and grandma strategized a plan, my cousin and I started looking through the boxes that were out of place. The more we looked, the more confused we became. There were ladies’ high heel shoes and wigs, a box of pads and tampons, a backpack full of high school papers, and foster care paperwork. Plus, a menagerie of other random stuff which didn’t make sense for a single, childless man in his sixties to have.
Later, we found a name and phone number in a notebook and called the individual. Apparently, the stuff belonged to a young lady who used to live a few doors down. She was very close with my uncle and thought of him as a grandfather. She had moved out of state a few months prior and had asked him to hang on to some of her stuff she was not able to bring with her.
He was a very kind, generous, and caring man. Even though it didn’t make sense as to why she couldn’t take all of her belongings, this wasn’t out of character for my uncle.
We also found a closet full of wrapped Christmas gifts from his mom and sister which were never opened. We had to be stealthy to remove those not to upset my grandmother anymore. We found packages of bandaids and gauze wraps stashed away everywhere. We also found a drawer containing every phone he had ever owned. Needless to say, we found a multitude of strange items we never thought my uncle would have.”
“I Was Married For Forty Years To A Man I Didn’t Really Know”
“My grandfather died in the Soviet Union in the mid-nineteen eighties. Shortly afterward, my grandmother began to sort through and toss some of his belongings. They had been married forty years, but their marriage was never a happy one. Only weeks after his death, grandma had already adjusted to the single life and was able to keep herself busy by cleaning her home.
While she packed away my grandfather’s favorite suit, she felt something stiff in the left-side lapel. Upon closer examination, it was clear the side seam of the lapel had been cut open and then resewn by hand. She immediately took scissors to the seam and began ripping the lapel open. Tucked inside was a small nineteen-thirties-era photograph of my grandfather, cheek-to-cheek with a beautiful young woman with long blond hair. My grandma had no idea who the woman in the photograph was. The photo had been sewn into the lapel so when grandpa wore the suit, it would lie over his heart.
A couple of days later, my grandmother began digging through his paperwork. She discovered a huge collection of letters going back decades, from a woman who lived on the other side of the country. My grandmother is a glutton for punishment, and she read every single one. From these letters, the true story of my grandfather’s life prior to World War II could be reconstructed.
He lived in the Far East where he met the blond woman. They quickly fell in love and lived together as husband and wife for a couple of years. At some point, a friend who worked for the local branch tipped off my grandfather that he was being looked into, and his arrest was imminent. He and his (possibly) wife agreed it was best for him to flee immediately. And he did. Then World War II hit, and their communication was sporadic for a few years, although grandpa wrote her every chance he had.
After the war, he was still wary to move back to the eastern part of the country and settled in Moscow. In Moscow, he married my grandmother. He had children and grandchildren. Over the years, he and the blond woman corresponded and sent letters to each other at least weekly. The letters were full of endearments and professions of love. She died a couple of years before him, and someone, possibly her family, arranged to return grandpa’s letters to him. That was how he had completed their correspondence, numbering thousands of letters. My grandmother counted the letters, and there were over fifteen hundred in total.
Of course, there was screaming and tears of rage. There were threats to dig up my grandpa’s mortal remains. It was quite possible my grandfather was actually legally married to the unknown blond woman, which would mean his marriage to my grandmother was bigamous. My grandmother was robbed of her peace of mind for the rest of her life. The psychological blow was devastating.
On one occasion before she completely lost her wits, she said, ‘I was married for forty years to a man I didn’t really know.’”
“After my grandma died at the tender young age of ninety-eight, I moved into her house. She lived in the house for sixty-seven years, so a lot of stuff had accumulated. She was not a pack rat, but there was an attic and basement full of stuff. Much of the material in the basement was half-empty paint cans and other things from house projects over the years.
The attic on the other hand was filled with boxes upon boxes of items from forty years of teaching, family heirlooms, and books. I found a library full of Readers Digest condensed books. No one wants those! They were easily pitched.
I located two items in the attic while I cleaned her home which amazed me. My grandma was married in nineteen thirty-five, and I found her wedding dress in an old steamer trunk. The other item I found was a diary which she kept for about two years.
My grandpa passed away ten years before I was born. My grandmother never remarried. To my knowledge, she never dated anyone either. Her diary is from the year I was born. It seemed like an invasion of privacy to read it, but curiosity eventually got the better of me.
In her diary, she talked about being lonely frequently. She seemed happy to watch me because it gave her something to do. She had retired from teaching the year before I was born, but would often substitute teach in the winter months. She talked about her garden and how she enjoyed working in it.
One passage read, ‘I worked all day in the garden pulling weeds and planting. I sure wish my husband was here to help me. I miss him so much.’
It gave me so much insight into how she dealt with his death in nineteen sixty-four, still grieving ten years later.”
“We Were In Complete Shock”
“My business partner’s mother died. He and his sister cleaned out her home of over fifty years and parted with the belongings they had seen their entire lives.
During a normal chat, he told me, ‘The only thing our mom ever talked about leaving for us is an old wooden breadbox in the kitchen.’
He and his sister thought it was hilarious. The hand-painted box was old and worn, and their mother didn’t even keep bread in it.
On a hunch, I asked him, ‘Do you mind if I take a look in the breadbox?’
He agreed, and a few days later we met at his mother’s house. My business partner was correct; the box was old, worn, and surprisingly light in weight. The back of the box was also much heavier than the front. When we knocked on the box with our knuckles, it ‘sounded’ empty except for the very end. Sure enough, we found out the breadbox had a false back end. After we jiggled the box one way and another, my partner was able to open the back end and removed the false wall. We found ten homemade wrapped bundles of ten thousand dollars in cash. One hundred thousand dollars total! I remember we looked at the money, each other, the money, and each other again. All we could do was laugh. We were in complete shock! My partner surmised his mother saved the money from cash collected at a local diner she owned for years. It’s been about twenty years since we found the money, and I’m still not quite sure he ever told his sister.”
Heartfelt Vault Valuables
“My dad passed away a few years ago. He was a really good man but had questionable parenting abilities. He barely ever got involved in raising me, but I remembered all of the lessons he taught me, most of which have been great. I remembered his sense of humor, his vast vocabulary, and how much he knew. Everybody loved him in our community.
His funeral was relatively large, and many individuals from his life including his ex-girlfriends and childhood friends attended. The funeral was impressive, but what really impressed me is what we found in his vault. My father guarded the vault as his dearest treasure.
A few months ago my mom and I decided to go through the vault we found while we cleaned his home. We opened it and found an array of keepsakes. We discovered pins, mugs, and tons of pictures. Many of the pictures we found are ones I had never seen in my entire life. Most of them were pictures from my childhood, along with pictures of him with my mom and with my siblings before I was born.
Suddenly, I found a big and stacked envelope. It took me a while to open it because it was pretty well tied. Once I did, we found out they were all letters. I read every single one of them. Some letters had been written by friends of mine in our childhood. I knew my friends loved my dad and he was regarded as some kind of hero, but I never thought it would be so much.
Many of the letters expressed gratitude to my father for playing with us, as he did activities with the kids almost weekly. He organized water balloon fights, bought presents for the kids, and almost always brought us food and drinks while we played. I had taken how much my dad loved the children in the neighborhood for granted. There were also letters from the children of some friends of mine who never moved out of the neighborhood which expressed care and love for both my parents. There were even letters from children who lived in different towns which expressed how much they missed him.
I found out my dad would visit children and their parents, and even invite entire families to have ice cream at the beach or a walk in the park. Some of the kids talked about things they had learned from my dad such as tying knots, life lessons, and how to be humble and helpful in their community.
Most of these virtues went unnoticed by me because I’d take them for granted. It really touched my heart to read how grateful kids around my dad were to him and how much love and appreciation he received from those kids’ parents. I realized how much of a loving man he was, and how much humor is important in life. He was able to make three generations happy with his existence.
Holding an envelope full of gratitude from children in four different decades was enough to get my eyes flooded. Many of the names in those letters I knew well, many of them were already adults, and many of the names I knew attended the funeral service. When they said they were sorry about my dad’s passing away, they really meant it.”
A Tasty Treasure
“I found two things while I cleaned my father’s home. They were not necessarily strange, just quirky. My father died quite unexpectedly of an aneurysm over a decade ago. He had a terrific sense of humor and an awful gold sports jacket from the seventies. My mom had begged him to get rid of it for years, but he refused. He even wore it to my best friend’s wedding and insisted she would find it funny. She thought it was hilarious. When I found it in the closet, I wasn’t sure I could give it away, but I checked the pockets anyway. Each pocket held thirteen crisp hundred dollar bills, thirty-nine hundred dollars in total.
The other item was inside a puzzle box I had given him many years prior. It was the kind where you had to tap on one section and twist another in a specific order to get it open. I shook the box and heard something rattling around inside. It took me almost an hour to get it open just to find his neatly written recipe for barbecue sauce.
Gosh, I miss him!”
A Peculiar Picture
“After my widowed maternal grandpa died, I helped clean his house. While I went through some old pictures, I found one of my mom in a wedding dress. I knew my parents went to the courthouse for an informal ceremony, so I found it odd she would be dressed so nicely. I was naturally curious. My aunt said it was from my mom’s first wedding. Apparently, the marriage lasted less than a year. I never knew she was married before. Many other family members didn’t know either.
When I asked my mom, she looked at me horrified and said, ‘Never ever tell your father about this picture.’
I guess there are some family secrets that need to be kept hidden.”
“My great-grandmother had a stroke in her eighties and died in a nursing home not long after. She led a very ‘vibrant’ life, traveled extensively, and had all sorts of fascinating things scattered around.
When my family cleaned up her house to be sold, my grandmother (her daughter) found a voodoo doll. The doll was full of vicious-looking rusted pins, and it was at full capacity. We had no idea how she jammed all of those pins in there, or who she wished the rusty pinned death upon. We never found out.”