25 Things Your Parents Had in Their House That You Don't See Today

25 Things Your Parents Had in Their House That You Don't See Today

Half the stuff in our parents’ homes remains an unpleasant memory—from paper doilies everywhere to the incessant chirp of a cuckoo clock. While we’d like to leave that all in the past, today’s the time to go down Memory Lane.  

1. Answering Machines

We still have answering machines on our phones nowadays, but there was a time when it was a separate device. Hooked up to an equally archaic piece of technology, it just kind of sat around with a creepy robotic voice to tell you when someone called. 

OldpeoplesphoneReno Laithienne on Unsplash

2. Shag Carpets

Just about every home back in the day had shag carpets (with little maintenance rakes to match) and we’re glad the look is obsolete. They were pretty unappealing and far harder to take care of than the ones you see today.

Leighann-Blackwood-Ulteyeksfgg-UnsplashPhoto by Leighann Blackwood on Unsplash

3. Doilies

We’re not sure why these things were everywhere in our parents’ homes. Dishes and VCRs alike sat atop them…maybe to protect the wood surface, maybe because they were “chic,” but whatever the reason, these gaudy items belong in the past.

Crochet Doilies 1925-1940 GermanyVitavia on Wikimedia Commons

4. Loud Wallpaper

There’s nothing wrong with nice-looking wallpaper, so long as it doesn’t come with dizzying floral prints or a clash of designs. Our parents took wallpaper a step too far when they coated every room with it.

Sebastien-Le-Derout-94Tm7Uyuvxo-UnsplashPhoto by Sebastien LE DEROUT on Unsplash


5. Figurines

Whether it was Precious Moments or those terrifying (and probably haunted) porcelain figurines, our parents displayed these proudly. It’s hard to say why though because those beady little eyes followed you wherever you went.

Igor-Shalyminov-Jchk97Lbuee-UnsplashPhoto by Igor Shalyminov on Unsplash

6. Ashtrays

It’s not like you don’t see any ashtrays anymore, it’s more that the prevalence of vaping and e-cigarettes pushed them to the past. Chances are the only ones that exist now are lost relics in your parents’ house. 

Daniele-Fotia-Afqhzu4Np U-UnsplashPhoto by Daniele Fotia on Unsplash

7. Ceramic Tissue Box Holder

Because obviously, the tissue box needed this much protection. These were often found in bathrooms, akin to decorative soap dispensers, but neither are necessary. Let the tissue box be free!

Diana-Polekhina-Azkx 56P-Kq-UnsplashPhoto by Diana Polekhina on Unsplash

8. Cherub Angel Art

Much like the figurines, cherub angels were all the craze. Find their weary faces hung above the dining room table or peering down at you over the mantle—wherever they are, they’re too close. 

Boston-Public-Library-N8Bts8Twfe4-UnsplashPhoto by Boston Public Library on Unsplash

9. Potpourri

Candles, wall plugins, sprays…so many better options than a bowl of dusty potpourri. Parents everywhere had this in one form or another, stuffed into vases or just loose in bowls. Either way, potpourri doesn’t hold a scented candle to today’s options.  

Ju-Desi-Cfby6Ena8Gc-UnsplashPhoto by Ju Desi on Unsplash

10. Corn Holders

Whenever corn on the cob made an appearance, count on someone’s parent to whip out these little numbers. All you had to do was jam ‘em in either side of the cob to keep fingers clean from butter and herbs. Come to think of it, we kind of miss these.

Wouter-Supardi-Salari-He Mjmwh9Eq-UnsplashPhoto by Wouter Supardi Salari on Unsplash


11. Fake Fruit

A classic decorative display, fake fruit misled mouths for many years. The waxy little grape bushels or apples often sat in a bowl somewhere in the kitchen for aesthetic purposes, but there was nothing really aesthetic about it.

Nordwood-Themes-Ukaxvvagdaw-UnsplashPhoto by NordWood Themes on Unsplash

12. Dried Flowers

As if potpourri wasn’t bad enough, dried flowers were plastered all over the walls of our parents’ homes. Sometimes they hung in the hallway, other times they were above doors, all left to crumble all over the floor. 

Cary-Bates-8Lgvmnzv15O-UnsplashPhoto by Cary Bates on Unsplash

13. Phone Book

Nothing screams security like everyone’s name and phone number in one circulated book. These were massive and the tiny font made them hard read—though they were great for squashing bugs.

Dominik-Hofbauer-Qqkjtrazoxs-UnsplashPhoto by dominik hofbauer on Unsplash

14. Water Beds

Looking back on the water bed, they were great fun as a kid. An entire mattress full of water? We get to ride a wave before bedtime? Amazing! But the more you think about it, these mattresses were prone to leaking and did nothing more than get us sick.

Cassidy-Dickens-Coalcjei7Py-UnsplashPhoto by Cassidy Dickens on Unsplash

15. China

Ah, the fancy dishes. The ones we don’t touch unless our mom’s favorite actor comes over for dinner (we’re looking at you, Russell Crowe). Parents’ houses everywhere had a set of fancy china reserved for special occasions, and sometimes they were locked away in cases where they never saw the light of day.

Shadi-Jix7Ykhbtnw-UnsplashPhoto by Shadi on Unsplash

16. Tube TVs

Our parents’ televisions had quite the behind on them, and we’re glad they’re in the past. Boxy with small screens, tube TVs made for great watching if you wanted to park your keister directly in front of it. 

Nathan-Dumlao-Cgni Yknoic-UnsplashPhoto by Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash


17. A Landline

Remember the answering machine? No one does, but they went hand-in-hand with the landline, that one phone line everyone in the house shared to ensure zero privacy. Heaven forbid a school crush called you. Talk about whispering sweet nothings—literally.

Sam-Loyd-8U81Oe2Gcku-UnsplashPhoto by Sam Loyd on Unsplash

18. Chest Freezers

Chest freezers were practical for parents because of all the food they bought (back when groceries were affordable). But nowadays it’s rare to catch them in someone’s home. 

Dev-Benjamin-Pwr2Utppz68-UnsplashPhoto by Dev Benjamin on Unsplash

19. Perfume Trays

You may still this in someone’s house, but they were typically found in our parents’ homes. For those unfamiliar, It was a fancy tray our moms put perfume and makeup on…and it took up half the counter.

Miska-Sage-0Bqccdaksti-UnsplashPhoto by Miska Sage on Unsplash

20. Candy Dish

These may only be in our grandparents’ places. We all remember them! You’d walk inside and an ornate dish would coax you over with promises of hard candy or those little pink mints. If you don’t see them anymore then it’s probably because we’ve taken to hoarding snacks now.

Nik-Korba-Pezfoqmejxs-UnsplashPhoto by Nik Korba on Unsplash

21. Hand Masher

Mashed potatoes used to require far more than water and butter. Kitchens had hand mashers to mash fresh potatoes, and while the end result was always delicious, we’re glad a simple side dish doesn’t need that much upper body strength anymore. 

Wouter-Supardi-Salari-Dotmokcauyu-UnsplashPhoto by Wouter Supardi Salari on Unsplash

22. Wall Clock

With our phones right at our fingertips, who needs wall clocks? Well, that wasn’t our parents’ mentality because nearly every room had a wall clock to loudly tick away. If you were particularly unlucky, some emitted a cuckoo or bell gong every hour.

Ocean-Ng-L0Xotanv94Y-UnsplashPhoto by Ocean Ng on Unsplash


23. VCR

There’s no way any incoming generation remembers the VCR—and for good reason. For those of us who do, however, we know them to be the clunky machines that played equally clunky tapes of our favorite movies. Here’s to hoping the last person rewound it. 

Bruno-Guerrero-Ozc7Xnoeeno-UnsplashPhoto by Bruno Guerrero on Unsplash

24. Plastic Slipcovers

Couches are not for sitting! Or, so our parents had us believe. Nobody but nobody wanted to sit on a sofa buried under a slipcover, but parents didn’t care. The upholstery needed protection and that meant discomfort forever. 

Phillip-Goldsberry-Fzuleefea1Q-UnsplashPhoto by Phillip Goldsberry on Unsplash

25. Cassette Tape Tower

With so many cassettes littering the home, parents needed a place to put them…and the tape tower is exactly what to expect in their basement. You probably won't see them around anywhere else, but to be fair, you probably won't see cassettes anymore either.

Cartist-Bq Grielfxk-UnsplashPhoto by CARTIST on Unsplash