I've been clearing out our basement on and off throughout the year. And by “clearing,” I mean that I have demolished pretty much everything that wasn't holding up the house. Some findings:
Jars of fasteners, mostly attached to the ceiling. Already proving useful. Given the number of jars, I can safely conclude that a previous owner had a serious weakness for herring!
Hazardous chemicals and outdated electrical paraphernalia. Inevitable.
A giant bundle of colorful cloth-braided telephone interconnect wire. I can't bring myself to throw it out. They don't make wire this visually interesting anymore. Back in the heyday of copper phone service, Ma Bell had a complicated color coding system to help differentiate the hundreds or thousands of pairs found in cables and wiring plants. I'm more familiar with the major/minor 2-color scheme used today, but some of these wires have 3 colors. Good luck sorting that out!
A lump of coal. Saving it for Christmas.
A wooden box for a Davidson Patent Fountain Syringe, No. 16. Suitable for use as “irrigator, vaginal, anal, childs, sprinkler, and nasal.” I'd prefer not to think about it. The box is full of mismatched iron hinges.
From above the ceiling and behind the walls, a cornucopia of tools. Everything from a tiny oiler to an arborist's pole saw to a hefty axe marked “property of City of Boston, Sewer Division.” And a rusty cleaver (Halloween?).
Ancient and modern sandpaper from Minnesota's favorite Mining and Manufacturing company.
The “Winter Vacation Section” from the December 4, 1949 Boston Globe. I wish we could still travel to Florida on the only railroad “streamlined for streamliners.” Or get travel planning help from Miss Hospitality.
It was rolled into a tube bound with wire and used as pipe “insulation.”
A bottle of booze hidden in a secret crevice behind the workbench. Because life was harder back in the day.