Moving house is one of the most stressful experiences in people's lives. Not least because it means opening up your life for inspection by people at removal companies.
These removal agents shared with Reddit, the times that people should have been ashamed of what they shared. These are the weirdest things that movers ever found in their customers' homes. Oh, life.
(Content edited for clarity).
The First Day Was The Worst Day
“I did this for a couple months when I first got out of the army before realizing the company I was working for took full advantage of its employees, charging $130+/hr and paying $12/hr to the guys doing the hard labor.
Anyway, on my first day, they sent me with a 2 man crew to a smaller move so I could learn the ropes. It was a double wide in a trailer park. We roll up and the windows are covered with trash bags, that was the first sign.
A lady walked out and told us that we were moving her brother out and that she was so sorry we had to do this move. She hadn’t been there in over 10 years, and only dropped his groceries, meds, and smokes on the back porch every few weeks, that was the second sign.
We walked in and it was almost pitch black, aside from the light coming in from the door. You could see thick dust and dirt just circling around the room. Everything had a thick layer of yellow dust caked on it. We used a dolly to move as much as we could (to avoid touching it with our bare hands), but almost all of the wooden furniture collapsed at the bottom because the cat turds had rotted the foundation of everything. The refrigerator leaked a black ooze out of the bottom when it was tilted (the milk in the fridge was dated 2012, we did this move in 2016).
The wet cat food was spooned onto the floor instead of a dish. There were no less than 300 pill bottles in the kitchen. The bedding had bed bugs, so we didn’t even move anything in there and the second bedroom was piled to the ceiling with what looked and smelled like bags of trash. They had all 4 of his cats locked in that room so we only caught a glance when we accidentally opened the door. The washer had a load of laundry in it, but it was caked in mold and mildew like he just left it in there for a couple years.
The story was that this guy had mental health issues, and 7 or 8 years prior to us moving his girlfriend had left him and he just quit doing anything. His family didn’t care until he was diagnosed with some kind of aggressive cancer. Really and truly sad, but it made for the worst first day on the job.”
The Animal House Was Not Nice
“I’ve worked in lots of people’s houses over the years.
This one house had me thinking I was high. Alas, I was not.
This lady was a granola in Southern Cali. Walked in the house to be greeted by a wall of dolls. Just a huge amount of dolls everywhere. Thought well that’s weird but whatever. Went into the next room, this is where things went from weird to what on earth?
The ENTIRE ROOM was full of animals in glass containers. Not stuffed, not mounted, just dead. The first one that caught my eye was a squirrel in a giant lightbulb. It was slumped over a stick and left to rot. That’s it. No attempt to embalm, no attempt at any realism. Just haphazardly shoved into a giant light bulb to rot.
And there was more, lots more, all local animals like she was going around picking up road kill and shoving them into glass containers to watch as they decomposed. I was in that awful room all day. All I could think was imma be in a big glass tube soon. That’s how imma go. Not a car crash, not cancer, I’m going to be this nut job’s greatest art piece. Perfect.”
A Sight Tinged With Sadness
“I spent one of my high school summers working for a guy who bought up a bunch of foreclosed McMansions in my area after the 2008 recession. Dude paid me great money under the table to clear them out.
It was clear in most of them that the families literally up-and-left (plates on the kitchen table, closets torn through while frantically packing.)
One got me particularly hard — it had a fully-furnished basement playroom that was the stuff of dreams for a 6-12-year-old kid. Huge TV, a bunch of gaming systems, super intricate Hotwheels tracks, etc.
All of the toy cabinets had been dumped out and torn through and there were a couple of bags of packed-up toys left behind.
I know a lot of these people made fast money through ethically-questionable means and spent it even faster — but the thought of an 8-year-old kid, no matter how privileged, having to pick the toys he could carry out of the insane dream playroom he will never see again kinda messed me up.”
The Ghastliest Find Of Them All
“I spent 5 summers working for a moving company between high school and college. I have seen a plethora of weird stuff in people’s homes.
- Adult toys. Whips, chains, whistles, yo-yos and one couple forgot to take down their swing. They were embarrassed when we charged into the bedroom to pack up their stuff.
- One gentleman insisted that he show us his homemade smut videotape collection. It was hidden in the back of his closet behind a panel. It was him and various women doing the deed. Think of that scene in American Psycho with his two ‘lady friends.’ It was just like that but extra creepy because I was 16 and the dude was a total creep.
- The strangest thing was a guy who insisted we stay out of one room in his basement. He had a padlock on it. We were packing his things and he had to run out to ‘take care of something at the realtor’s office.’ We were almost done and doing our final walkthrough to make sure we didn’t miss anything. The padlock was open on the door so one of the girls I was working with went inside. She came running out screaming ‘Let’s go, let’s go. We gotta get the heck outta here.’ The rest of us poked our head inside to see what can only be described as a serial killer’s torture dungeon. Knives on one wall, a man-sized butcher’s block in the middle of the room, plastic everywhere and an oddly stained bathtub on one wall, no toilet, mind you, just a tub. We got the heck outta there double time. We told our boss about it when we got back to the warehouse. He said he’d make the calls. We were too young and too freaked out to follow up.”
The Worst Was In The Child’s Room
“Heard a few stories from colleagues about odd stuff in bedside tables etc. but finally got a first-hand experience. A colleague and I went out to start a job for a family of three in what was a relatively small house. We’re thinking it’s going to be a pretty quick job until we walk inside.
There was a bit of a hoarder situation going on, not the most extreme, but enough that it made it hard for the occupants to clean and so there was a fair bit of dirt around and on various items that we needed to pack up. No biggie, we’re professionals so we split up despite the smell that permeated the house.
Here’s where it gets a bit weird. When we’d first arrived it was just the wife and the young child home. The wife had seemed a little strange, hard to engage with and seemed to not really care that her house was a mess. The husband had popped home just after we’d started packing and had seemed a little embarrassed by the mess but his wife clearly was the dominant force in their relationship.
As I’m packing up their study, the majority of books that were piled up on and around the shelves were about witchcraft, magic, and spells. No judgment on my part here, to each their own but things are starting to piece together about how the wife might be a little off/explained the relationship dynamic.
Now, this is where it gets truly weird. After about an hour or two, my colleague came charging into the study with a pretty shocked look on his face and tells me that I have to come check this out. I followed him into the child’s room and he told me to open one of the drawers in the chest of drawers.
Now I mentioned the general smell of the house earlier that was pretty consistent in most rooms but was just a bit worse in here. As I opened the drawer, the smell got that much worse and I discovered why. The drawer was filled to the brim with used nappies (diapers).
Needless to say, my colleague and I excused ourselves for a break and called our boss, telling him what we’d found and that we were headed back to the depot because forget that place!!”
The Company Removal Man Has Many Stories To Tell
“Oh, the stories I could tell. I worked for a large international moving company for about four years. We primarily handled company financed moves – i.e. companies paying to move their people about. The people involved varied from millionaires to college kids hired right out of school. Some of my favorites:
- a college kid from a large famous private university. Filthy apartment, pretty normal student stuff. Until we got to the bedroom. Was literally covered with glass adult toys. I mean hundreds of them. Turns out (he brought it up) he had some kind of a deal with a manufacturer in Asia somewhere and was the middleman. Kinda freaky seeing them all there like that.
- Rich family, 10k sq. foot house, the whole works. Picked up the mattress and something like 10k in cash falls out in a wad. Don’t know how much, didn’t count it. But it was a lot. Brought to the owner, said ‘I forgot about that, thanks’ He later tipped us all about $200 each.
- My favorite was an international move from London to my home city. Unwrapped and moved a massive dresser and something fell out of the top. A box, seemingly tailor-made to be in that space. It kinda broke open when it came out, and it contained a large flask, three packs of smokes, a weapon (a type which was definitely illegal to own in the UK) and a large stack of pics of naked women. We packed it back up as best we could and presented it to the owner who scurried it away quickly and gave us a $100 for not saying anything.
- Packing and moving a single lady that worked for a large telecom company, apparently working from home. Opened the door to find the most insane collection of stuff I’ve ever seen. Stacks of newspapers to the ceiling, food containers (some empty), work papers, just everything you can imagine – a true hoarder. There was a layer of filth about three inches deep on the floor, with little pathways through everything. The only clean area was her desk. We tried to make discreet inquiries as to what all we were supposed to pack without revealing the obvious horror we all felt. You guessed it, she wanted everything to go. Spent a whole day packing literal garbage into nice new cardboard boxes and putting them on a truck. We left the bottom-most layer of trash on the floor, and all wore gloves. Everything reeked of cat urine, but we never saw any cats. The strangest thing I think is she acted like it was all completely normal.
- One of the more heartbreaking ones was the case of a standard delivery and unpacking, where we would basically just dump stuff out of boxes all over the place. The family had a young daughter, like five or six, and we were bringing all of her boxes into her room. After a while, a noticeable stench built up in there. We found out what it was when we found a very dead and decaying hamster in one of the boxes. The story turned out that to teach the girl some responsibility I guess, the parents had her pack up some of her toys and stuff herself. Seemed like a great idea at the time I suppose. I guess she thought the hamster would be ok, and I suppose in the chaos is moving the parents never noticed or assumed the other had handled it. The girl was so sweet too, it really crushed her. That one was sad.”
Dad’s Special Room
“I worked as a mover for a few summers in college, and the worst one was this family of 4 that was moving from one unit in a complex to another unit in the same complex. My boss told me it should be a relatively easy move because the stuff wasn’t going far and no stairs.
We show up and walk into the apartment and it was a complete mess. The carpet was stained dark brown, the paint was peeling off the walls, there’s crayon drawings all over the walls. It looked like no one had cleaned in years. We had to take constant breaks cause the air was just heavy with a stench of urine and feces. We finally get everything out, when the dad tells us there’s one more room we need move, and need to be extra careful. He walks us to a door that had padlocks on it, and he opens it up. Inside are giant, intricately designed dollhouses. These things were about 6′ x 3′ x 4′ and had every tiny detail perfect. It was also the only room in the apartment that had clean carpet and didn’t smell like death.”
The Strangest Shower In History
“We did a move for a severely handicapped, yet wealthy man. Pretty sure he was badly injured in a car accident at a young age (that, unfortunately, killed his family)… Anyways, we moved him into a new house that he bought primarily for its more open floor plan and elevator to the basement. It was a large footprint house with a mostly unfinished basement, except for one area of the basement.
I wouldn’t say this area was necessarily hidden, but from most areas, you couldn’t see it. Along one of the long walls, there was a small door that led you to a parallel hallway ‘behind’ the wall, almost as if it was a false wall to hide this hallway thing. But the hallway was a row of party showers with these narrow, arched concrete doorways in between them in some kind of medieval styling.
My only guess is that some seriously wealthy oddballs lived in this place before that, and this was their like group party shower dungeon. It was rad.”
The Parrots’ Mess Was A Nightmare
“Moved a couple in their 60s who had 3 cats and 2 large African Grey parrots. All of these animals roamed freely in the house, and every surface in the house was coated in a thick layer of dust, bird crap, and cat hair.
I would estimate that the house hadn’t been cleaned at all in about 5 years or more. The bedposts were caked in about a half inch of bird poop which ran from top to bottom, I assume the birds perched on top of the bedposts at night and then made their mess all down along them. The smell was absolutely atrocious and the air felt thick and heavy inside the house.
While packing up the master bedroom, I found thousands of Xanax pills. Like WAY more than a person would ever be prescribed by a doctor. The house also stank of pot, like they had been smoking indoors for years and never cracked a window. The husband was disabled and wore an adult diaper, and there was a very strong smell of human waste coming from him as he showed us around the house.
Overall, a truly bizarre and disgusting situation.”
When It’s So Bad, You Walk Out
“Last year I worked for a moving company (pretty big name) in LA county. Needless to say, we saw the best of the best and the worst of the worst. Helped Bob Harper move, one of the trainers on The Biggest Loser.
He helped us pack and move almost everything and tipped each of us 200 at the end of the day, there were 5 people. Great guy.
Anyway, arriving at a job and the notes say, ‘may have difficulty moving through the apartment,’ which typically meant furniture and things are messy simply because they are moving. No big deal, not our first rodeo.
We show up and were greeted with this horrendous smell, the only thing I could equate it to is that fresh skunk spray smell. We start walking through the house and realize we can’t see the floor,
I mean we are at least a foot from the ground stepping on miscellaneous stuff. Hoarders.
With our company, we had the leisure of being able to call in and say the apartment isn’t up to working conditions.
Hoarders fall under the category but if we saw spiders, rodents, we could call it in and leave the site without repercussions. It had been a really slow month for our branch and after calling our supervisor and arguing for 20 minutes they advised we needed to, ‘tough this one out,’ for the sake of our jobs. The 3 of us calmly took some deep breaths and got to work.
About 30 minutes in I can hardly stand the smell anymore, I’m gagging just being in the house.
We go to move an old nightstand and a huge rat the size of a 3-month-old cat scurried away. We dropped the nightstand, told our other coworker and we walked out.
The customers were furious because we were being babies and couldn’t handle a little mess to clean up. Our supervisor called within minutes of us driving off and said if we don’t go back we are fired. We all decided to pull over, turn the truck off, lock the keys in the car, and get Ubers home.
It was 8 pm at this point, we clock in at 6 am so everyone’s gone except the supervisors waiting for us to get back. We got word the next day from coworkers that the supervisors didn’t do the job because the house was too messed up, never got an offer or an apology for our job back either.”
Not An Easy Moving Day
“I did this for a summer a number of years ago, and there was one house in particular that will always stand out.
A family of four. Normal looking people. 2 story single family home, no basement. Thought to myself ‘Thank God, an easy gig today.’ Oh no. No no, I was very wrong. We walk in and were told to head to the kids’ rooms first.
Apparently, this 12-year-old kid likes rocks. REALLY likes rocks. Like, is obsessed with rocks. There are rocks EVERYWHERE in his room. Big ones, small ones, gravel, sandstone, bits of clay, seashells, bits of concrete, asphalt, and a pile of what looked like bone fragments. ‘He’s a rock collector,’ the mom says.
No kidding, there were so many rocks in the room that you could only see narrow paths between the door, the bed, and the closet (which, indeed, was full of rocks).
We shoveled the rocks into wagons to clear the room. Dad was upset that the shovels were going to ‘stretch the carpet.’ Ok, dude. We loaded several hundred pounds of rocks into our truck that day.
Business as usual after that but it felt odd that the family didn’t seem to be bothered by it. At least they gave us each an extra hundred in cash for our troubles.”
That Smell, Make It Go Away
“Managed a moving company and occasionally worked on the truck.
- Moved this home that was actually pretty sad, this is all in Arizona where there’s a big crank problem. Before I walked in I could smell they must’ve been making some there. Guy, girl and a baby probably a year or two old. This place was filthy top to bottom and smelled the awful stench of chemicals and body odor. I was close to walking off the job it was so bad. We moved them to a much nicer neighborhood and their credit card processed, which I didn’t think it would, so I convinced myself that they were trying to get out of a bad situation and be better parents
- I did an estimate and this average looking male in his 50s had his toenails painted a sky blue. Cool guy but only had a son and no grandkids, so I was really curious.
- Moved a high end home and found a safe with about 20 pounds of weed. The guy was part owner of a dealership, at the end he tipped me double, $200, he knew I saw and I didn’t say anything so maybe that’s why the heavy tip?
- Moved a spoiled bratty kid whose mother paid for it. The place was a mess and found many discarded rubbers under his bed.”
A Thousand Pound Delivery
“I made large deliveries. This was back in 2003/2004ish. Smartphones weren’t really a thing yet, so every morning I would use Mapquest to plan out my route of deliveries. Looked up one address, it is in a residential area. Not unheard of but not super common.
Almost always a pain in the neck with a 53-foot trailer. A glance at the bill for that delivery… A THOUSAND pounds. It’s going to be a bad day.
So I call the phone number on the paperwork. The guy is going to be home. Assures me that unloading it won’t be an issue. I get there and he’s sitting in the driveway on a forklift looking at me like an excited kindergartner. Sure enough, unloading is fairly easy. Guy slips me a $50 for the headache of having to maneuver through a residential area.
What was in the crate? A super heavy duty solid steel precision machined table. The guy was making holograms in his basement and the table was going to be the new work surface he used to line all the mirrors and stuff upon.”