Home Forums Challenges The Mystery Box

This topic contains 19 replies, has 15 voices, and was last updated by  Rosa 6 years, 8 months ago.

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  • #160243

    Astreja
    Participant

    This thread is devoted to the uncluttering of various sealed containers whose contents are either unknown or long forgotten.

    First, a rundown on the qualities of a good Mystery Box:

    – Does not need to be a box, per se; a bag, bin or other receptacle also qualifies.

    – Is either not labelled at all, or has an unhelpful or outright misleading caption such as “5 of 42”; “Chicago”; or “from George” (and you have no idea who George is).

    – Sealed in such a way as to make opening the box next to impossible.

    – Seen regularly on your travels through the home but pushed to the back of the mind, as if the box has been shielded with a Somebody Else’s Problem field.

    So this is what I “found” today on my workbench in the basement: A skinny 6-foot-long bundle, wrapped up in green garbage bags and taped every few inches with dried-out and crumbling brown plastic packing tape. I vaguely remember it coming from my aunt’s old apartment, about 4 years ago or so, and also remembered something about curtain rods.

    It took me about 15 minutes to break in, even with a pair of scissors: It was wrapped pretty tight, and underneath the garbage bags there were more plastic bags. Contents turned out to be 4 6-foot I-beam style curtain rods (but unfortunately without the mounting hardware). I may be able to use a couple of them in my bedroom if I can find the brackets to mount them, but for now they’re on the front porch in the giveaway zone.

    Any other Mystery Box tales to tell?

  • #227682

    clutterbug22
    Member

    The Mystery Box

    My daughter’s room is full of such named Mystery Boxes, some from years back! She has a penchant for putting together little boxes of (at the time) favourite things which then get passed over and forgotten. We must get these sorted next year, but it does take so long as everything is all mixed up and not of a single category. A future project, methinks.

  • #227684

    The Mystery Box

    I have several mystery boxes. When mil came to live with us several years ago, she has since moved away but left several large sealed boxes that are out in the storage building. When I told her she still had lots of stuff to get she simply said “Oh, honey that’s fine. It’s just stuff that never sold at my rummage sales.” Isn’t that nice? I’m thinking more blue duck decorations and LOTS of plastic flowers. Maybe it will go on my 2013 “to do” list…..

  • #227686

    TatiLie
    Member

    The Mystery Box

    I have a little box like that that has been travelling with me since I’ve found in a mystery drawer at the apartment my mom and her siblings lived before getting married. (That drawer was my treasure. It had weird things like a theatre binoculars that pulled my eyelashes everytime I used it, a label maker, old coins, broken crayons… I can even remember the smell of the drawer as I type and it was 25 years ago!). I’ve managed to get rid of everything but the little box with document pictures of people I don’t know.

    Family? Friends? I don’t have the courage to throw them (funny enough I’ve binned my graduation tape without even watching it once). Now they travel with pictures of some school friends. At that time, it was very meaningful to give your picture to your friends. We would carry then in the wallet and show them around. Then a friend would be jealous because that cute guy from the next classroom gave you his picture 🙂

    Funny thing to imagine that my picture is in someone else’s mystery box!

  • #227687

    bandicoot
    Member

    The Mystery Box

    i don’t have any of these.
    we have been living here eight years and we came from ten years in a really miniscule apartment…..any mystery boxes have been long since flushed out.
    they can start to snowball in the workshop, but i am hypervigilant these days. i can sniff out a clutter vortex within seconds of it beginning.

  • #227693

    Hansi
    Member

    The Mystery Box

    I actually have one moving box in the basement that will comply with the parameters. I don’t really know what is inside. I know I cannot get rid of everything because I would fill the box with useless things. But i’m sure of getting rid of some things in the box is possible.

    Now I will have to post some things in the CHAT thread as It was a raised thought from here that will not fit here. 🙂

  • #227711

    sleepykitten
    Member

    The Mystery Box

    Heh, heh, heh – I love your description of “what makes a mystery box” Astreja! Very funny (and true).

    At this point in my process, I no longer have true mystery boxes, which is sort of a shame because they are usually low-hanging uncluttering fruit – if you can’t remember what is in it, you probably don’t need it!

  • #227731

    Anonymous

    The Mystery Box

    We have three dressers in our master bedroom and I would have to say that the bottom two drawers of each one is a mystery drawer.

    My DH is tall and I have come to believe that, like a giraffe, he does not like his head to be lower than his heart. How else can I explain why he does not use the bottom drawers (or pick up anything he drops on the floor?) I did look into the lower drawers of his dresser once and found one empty. I believe I put something..hmmm..what?..into it.

    My dresser mystery drawers contain unpleasant surprises in the form of swimsuits that no longer fit, flannel pajamas that I don’t wear, or fashion mistakes like scarves that I had kept for “Justin Case “, as in “just in case I go to a tropical island and need a giant wispy green fringed rayon fish-printed scarf that can double as a shawl, skirt or a tent”.

    Ok, added to the list of stuff to do: repurpose those drawers!

  • #227739

    djk
    Member

    The Mystery Box

    bwah ha ha Another Deb!

    “My DH is tall and I have come to believe that, like a giraffe, he does not like his head to be lower than his heart.”

  • #227752

    Barbs
    Member

    The Mystery Box

    My SIL is a hoarder and while visiting them last year I learned about Estate Sales where there is so much stuff that the auctioneers just put things in plain brown boxes and number them. They auction them and the buyers have no idea what they are going to get. That’s one solution I guess.

  • #227754

    Anonymous

    The Mystery Box

    Eww, Barbs, my luck I would get the gas reciepts and college Economics textbooks box.

  • #227758

    Barbs
    Member

    The Mystery Box

    LOL Another Deb. I am sure they have both of those and lots more equally unpleasant things.

  • #227760

    Rosa
    Member

    The Mystery Box

    My mom had a rule when I was growing up: when we moved, any box not opened since the last move got put in the garage sale as-is. So I was lucky not to inherit any mystery boxes.

    But there was an epic Mystery Box story in my family; when my grandpa died and we cleaned out their house, in the early ’90s, we found in the basement a steamer trunk unopened since a trip to Cuba in the 1950s. Why wasn’t it opened? It belonged to another couple, who stayed longer and asked my grandparents to haul the one trunk home. When we opened it, it was full of dirty laundry. Forty year old dirty laundry. Someone laundered it and donated it to a thrift store that I hope made a pretty penny on the vintage clothing.

  • #227826

    Astreja
    Participant

    The Mystery Box

    @Rosa: I just howled when I read about the 40-year-old dirty laundry.

  • #227827

    bandicoot
    Member

    The Mystery Box

    you guys are killing me!
    the giraffe! the vintage laundry! the scarves! too hilarious!

  • #227828

    Irulan
    Member

    The Mystery Box

    I found a box like that today, and it turned out to be a total win. When we moved into our new house, I put our less frequently used party supplies into a built-in cupboard in our basement and labeled the drawers. This afternoon I was looking through the cupboard to find stuff to donate, and I came across a small unlabeled box sitting in a drawer that said “bakeware and dessert.”

    I broke the packaging to get at the insides, which turned out to be dessert plates that are just the right size to use as lunch/snack plates. So I washed them, demoted the saucers that we had been using as snack plates back to their original duty, and recycled the packaging.

    I also found a chainsaw that my dad says belonged to my grandfather. We only have pygmy trees, and we don’t live in Texas, so…

  • #227836

    Netleigh
    Member

    The Mystery Box

    I’m intruigued by the steamer trunk, I wonder what happened to the couple who got Rosa’s grandparents to take it home from Cuba, why did they never reclaim it?

  • #227865

    Rosa
    Member

    The Mystery Box

    My guess is they, like my grandparents, had their house moved by professional movers so often, they had no idea what they owned or where it was. It was a reward trip for high sales numbers in the company Grandpa worked for, so probably the other people in the group were people with similar jobs but from other parts of the country.

    It was the grey-flannel suit era where parts of corporate America was like being in the military. They got transferred to a new town every two or three years and the company always paid for the whole thing – movers would show up in the morning to pack the house, move everything, and even unpack some things before the family arrived. This happened over and over for decades before he retired – each of their kids graduated high school in a different town. There are stories about things like the movers showing up during breakfast and packing a frypan still full of eggs, or unpacking and hanging the curtains but with no consideration of matching them to the right room.

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