Visit from a time traveller

I read an interesting news article about a house frozen in time. Nothing had changed after the owner had passed away in 1932. The heirs of the deceased bequeathed the house to Britain’s National Trust and it was turned into a museum. The National Trust decided, “to leave it exactly as they found it to give the public a unique insight into family life between the wars.”


©National Trust Images/Geoffrey Frosh

I’ve often asked my clients what they would take with them if their homes were burning or if they had to evacuate their homes immediately. The answer to these questions certainly helps identify the essential, irreplaceable objects. However, reading the article about the house frozen in time got me thinking. What if someone came back in time and looked at your house? What would your stuff say about the way you lived your life? Is it accurate?

Make sure your home reflects the story you want to tell. You never know, one day, you may just see a phone booth on your front lawn or a DeLorean parked in your driveway.

10 Comments for “Visit from a time traveller”

  1. posted by Aimee@Middle Finger Project on

    If I saw the Tardis on my front lawn, particularly if it’s Peter Capaldi, I’d run as fast as I got – I wouldn’t even stop for my toothbrush!

  2. posted by Laura on

    It’s not a phone booth- it’s a police box. But I do like the reference!

  3. posted by Leslie on

    I was thinking what Laura said until I clicked on the link. I had forgotten about Bill and Ted.

    I’ve had the experience of going into my sister’s apartment, once after she was in a serious accident, another time less serious. To see how she left things that morning, expecting to be back in the afternoon was both sad and enlightening. It eventually made me think about how I leave things in my house when I go out. Though I try to tidy up before leaving for work, if you walked in today you’d be able to see what I’m in the midst of knitting and reading at a minimum.

  4. posted by Julie Bestry on

    In 2009, I was unexpectedly hospitalized, and my mother and sister came from distant cities. I hadn’t had the time or the strength to straighten, and even as a professional organizer with fairly decent systems, my illness just prior to being hospitalized left my space not exactly company-ready. Jacki, you raise some excellent points for all of us to consider.

    Also, I was going to dock you for the “phone booth” reference until I clicked through. As Bill & Ted always said, be excellent to each other!

  5. posted by Jenny on

    Didn’t know about this one (Frozen house). Sounds pretty interesting and particularly liked the pic of that reading room.

  6. posted by JC on

    People would probably scratch their heads if this happened to my house. We’ll just conveniently skip over the current messy state of my house after packing up DH for a weeks long hunting trip in the bush, and then both DS and I being quite ill for a week right after DH left. The time warps could happen in my own house. On one end of the spectrum we live in a barn frame timber home and our main source of heat is wood. At the other there are kindles, laptops, smartphones, and computerized sewing machines. In between we have lots of books, indoor plumbing, electricity, canning supplies, etc. Amidst all this would be the people wondering how people with such varied interests as hunting/fishing and couture sewing live together.

  7. posted by Karyn on

    A poignant story about grief and perhaps hoarding. It’s an interesting, quite unique look at how life/homes were like at that time too though.

  8. posted by Leslie on

    I am divorced. When I moved back down to San Diego, it was in a relatively full Uhaul. I went from sharing a 2 bedroom condo to a 17×10 room and part of a shed. When a nephew recently bought a townhouse and was going to spend their honeymoon money on a washer and dryer, I dug mine out of the shed and gifted them. They were only 2 yrs old and had spent the last year in storage turning into what my exMIL would refer to as depreciating assets. I didn’t think twice about it. Things were further scaled back after I realized that there was a mouse infestation in my crafting supplies. Made the clear out very easy. Just this past Sunday, I had enough with where I was living (long story) and called same nephew to use his truck. 3 truckloads and 5 carloads later, I was deposited with my dog and cat at a friend’s. Here’s the thing. Because this was such an impromptu event, I moved the 10 miles without the use of boxes. Yup. Large stuff went in truck, smalls in the car. Dishes, pots, pans, books, computer equipment, pet supplies, clothes…everything. Loose. I currently have a growing pile of stuff tucked under blankets that will be included in a fairly high-end garage sale. I will be out of town for the next few weeks, but when I return, I will pick up where I left off clearing out my things. Here’s why, I learned that, for me, much of my stuff was holding me back. There were comprised of what if’s, what could be’s and maybes. They weren’t/aren’t where I need or want to be. I currently don’t have a home. And who knows when I will. But that isn’t important to me. What is are the experiences I’m having and the joys I have and bring to others. The rest is well, stuff.

  9. posted by heather on

    Another museum with a very similar story in the United States is the Kam Wah Chung Heritage Site in eastern Oregon. The original inhabitant left the store he had run for years, ended up dying in the hospital, and the store wasn’t unlocked until decades later.

  10. posted by NoAlias on

    But as a counter-point to leaving a fairly tidy house in case of emergency/unexpected visit events –

    Years ago we had a house fire; burned to the ground when no one was home. Nobody but me knows if the dishes in the sink were dirty or fell in there when the cupboard fell off the wall. And if I didn’t have a load of laundry hanging on the clothesline, we wouldn’t have had anything to wear but the clothing on our backs at the time.

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