16 Things Superstitious Folks Refuse to Keep in the House

Could something you’ve introduced into your home bring bad luck, relationship problems, or even death? Legends from around the world warn us to keep various unlucky items, from bugs to birds to inauspicious colors, out of our homes. Considering that many of these seemingly capricious prohibitions could be rooted in practical concerns, it probably still pays to avoid these 16 things superstitious folk never keep at home.

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  1. A Broken Clock

    Broken clock

    Beware of that antique clock that doesn’t work—if it suddenly chimes, it's said that death is near! Keeping broken things around is also considered bad feng shui, a sign that your home (and soul) has clutter that should be cleared.


    Related: 16 Insanely Clever Ways to Reuse Household Junk

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  2. Fireflies

    Fireflies bad luck

    You may think it’s cute when your kids bring home a jar of fireflies, but beware! According to Victorian superstitions, when a firefly or lightning bug gets into your home, it means that someone will die soon.


    Related: 10 Genius Ways to Make Your Backyard a Blast

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  3. Lifeless Decor

    Dried bouquet

    Whether it’s vase of shriveled cut flowers, a taxidermied moose head, or even a seashell, dead things in the home can bring you bad luck—or so they say!


    Related: 20 Plants That Survive With or Without You

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  4. Green Paint

    Paint roller green paint

    In the old days, certain green paints could literally kill you. Paris green, as it was called, was used in everything from textiles to children's toys to paint and wallpaper—but it contained arsenic and could produce poisonous arsine gas. Eventually, doctors and paint manufacturers caught on and put a stop to the toxic practice, but some still consider green walls in a home unlucky.


    Related: 9 Paint Color Rules Worth Breaking

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  5. An Axe

    Axe superstitions

    Some legends hold that bringing an axe into the home can bring death. At the very least, we can all agree that an axe isn't the safest thing to have lying around the house!


    Related: 10 Emergencies Every Homeowner Should Know How to Handle

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  6. An Old Broom

    Old broom

    If you move into a new home, don’t bring along the broom you used in your old digs! Legend has it that an old broom will sweep away the good luck, and common sense dictates that using old cleaning tools could introduce pests and grime from your previous residence. So it may not be a bad idea to spring for a new broom, superstitious or not!


    Related: 10 Things to Leave Behind the Next Time You Move

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  7. A Garden Hoe

    Garden hoe

    It’s not deadly, but carrying a hoe into the house can carry bad luck with it. If you do accidentally bring one indoors after finishing your gardening duties, it's best to walk backwards out the same door you entered to try and reverse the bad fortune.


    Related: 10 Ways Your Backyard Can Hurt You

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  8. Red and White Flowers in a Vase

    White and red flowers

    Be sure to make your bouquets with lots of different blooms or keep them all one color, because Victorian superstition holds that displaying just red and white flowers together in a vase means there will be a death soon.


    Related: 8 Plants Never to Grow Indoors

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  9. Bird in the House

    Bird inside

    If a bird flies in through an open window, it is widely believed to be bad luck, often signaling a death in the family. To be extra careful, don’t even introduce them as pets or in decorative form as ornaments or finials.


    Related: A Dozen 10-Minute DIYs for a Pest-Free Home

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  10. An Open Umbrella

    Open umbrella

    It's often said that opening an umbrella indoors is bad luck. According to this superstition, which has roots in Egyptian legends as well as Norse traditions, when you bring in an item that protects your body from rain, you're insulting your home’s guardian spirits by implying that their protection doesn't cut it. Whether it's bad luck or not is up for debate, but it's still worth being careful with an umbrella in the house—you could poke an eye out with that thing!


    Related: 10 Sneaky Ways to Store Winter Gear

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  11. Scenes of Destruction

    Shipwreck painting

    Some believe that displaying a painting or photograph of the aftermath of a natural disaster, shipwreck, or battle could bring distress to your household. 


    Related: 10 Inventive Ways to Display Family Photos

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  12. Rocking Chairs

    Rocking chair

    If you’re using your rocking chair, no problem—but Irish legends say that an empty rocking chair invites evil spirits into your home. And if it’s rocking on its own, look out! The evil spirits are already there, and death could be lying in wait.


    Related: Seat Yourself: 11 Ways to DIY Your Own Chair

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  13. Cacti

    Cacti

    They may be cute, trendy, and great for brown thumbs, but according to the principles of feng shui, spiky plants like cactus and thorny acacia are bad luck and can lead to discord in your home.


    Related: 14 of the Best Plants for Your Drought-Tolerant Garden

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  14. Mirrors

    Mirror

    While you may like to do a lipstick check on your way out the door, some traditions believe that mirrors can steal your soul. And, according to feng shui, a mirror facing the bed can lead to relationship problems!


    Related: 11 Things Never to Keep in Your Bedroom

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  15. An Unmade Bed

    Unmade bed

    An American proverb holds that leaving your bed unmade could lead to a poor night’s sleep—and let’s be honest, it doesn’t look that great, either.


    Related: 10 "Under $10" Buys for Your Best-Ever Bedroom

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  16. A Leaning Ladder

    Leaning ladder

    Ladders have their place, but walking under them is bad luck! The origin of this legend is, however, disputed. It could have its roots in Christian tradition, where walking into a triangle formed by a leaning ladder could be seen as breaking the Holy Trinity. Another possibility is that the shape resembles medieval gallows. A more practical concern is that maybe it's just not that safe to walk under an unattended ladder. The takeaway is: Put your ladder away when you’re done with it!


    Related: 10 Safety Essentials That Most Homes Are Missing

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  17. Lucky or Unlucky?

    Leaf raking %281%29

    What do you think? Does your skin bristle when someone opens an umbrella indoors? Do you steer clear of ladders? There's no reason to feel ashamed for being just a little superstitious—after all, you're not the only one. 

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