House Niches That Are Completely Obsolete

Have you ever looked around your house and just thought “Why do I still have this?” From house phones to ice boxes, this is a list of different items in your house that are completely obsolete.

Phone Niche


Every house used to have a landline. And these niches were used to house the landline. While still nice and rustic-looking, these niches go practically unused in the modern day. People barely even use home phones anymore with everyone carrying around smart phones.

Icebox


These wooden safes were created in order to keep objects cool before the invention of the refrigerator. They were known as iceboxes. Of course, since we now have better ways to keep things cold, and even transport them, the icebox doesn’t serve much of a purpose.

Solitary Basement Toilet


Also known as “Pittsburgh potties” due to their frequency in the city, these toilets are a relic of World War II-era America. The toilet wasn’t actually designed for use, but to prevent sewage overflow. It would just happen whenever a pipe was clogged. The extra toilet made it easier to detect clogged pipes while not risking any other toilets or bathrooms.

House Beehive


Believe it or not, these beehives were actually an intentional part of the design. Close bees just mean close honey. It’s been a practice since 60 AD, but with beekeeping methods, it’s not much of a necessary risk anymore.

Laundry Chute


It’s a fun chute, dropping clothes down from one floor to another. But these chutes don’t serve much of a purpose outside of saving time when transporting dirty laundry downstairs. And people have washing machines now, so they can just get their clothes cleaned quickly and easily.

Razor-Blade Disposal Slot


That small slit at the back of your medicine cabinet is actually made for disposing of razor blades. It’s kind of strange to think that there might be a ton of razor blades behind your bathroom wall. These slits technically still have a use, just that nobody uses them anymore. People can still just throw them in the trash anyway.

Hidden Passages


If touring a mansion or some other old house, you may find that there’s more to the building than meets the eye. Hidden passages and rooms served as the servants’ living quarters. This also allowed them to move more quickly and easily to attend to their masters’ needs, while staying out of sight when necessary.

Button Light Switches


These just didn’t last very long. The light switches we use today were simply a superior design. It didn’t help that these buttons would often get stuck. It’d take extra effort just to turn something off.

Coal Chute


Back when coal was still used to heat homes, these chutes in place for coal delivery men to dump into a patron’s house. However, after people switched to natural gas for heat, the coal chute became obsolete.

Dumbwaiter


Did you know that some dumbwaiters actually move horizontally? They were designed to carry food from the kitchens to the bedrooms. While not a common fixture in normal homes anymore, they’re still used in hospitals, retirement homes, and restaurants. Albeit, they’ve been updated.

Boot Scraper


Sanitary conditions in rural and urban areas used to be a lot worse than they are now. It’d be easy to get mud and grim all over one’s shoes. So the boot scraper was designed to help alleviate this problem. Because the streets are a lot cleaner now, they don’t serve nearly as much of a purpose as they once did.

Milk Chute


The third chute on this list, this one was for, as you could guess from the name, milk. Milkmen would often arrive early in the morning before their customers were awake. So, in order to not disturb them, they’d put the milk into this chute. Depending on your deal, you could also get other groceries, such as eggs, cheese, butter, or even soft drinks. However, as there are no longer any milkmen, this chute doesn’t have much of a use anymore.

Hoosier Desk


The Hoosier desk was designed for multitasking. It would allow someone in the kitchen to perform food prep or just do anything else they might find necessary. They also served to provide more counter space. However, when built-in cabinets and counters started becoming more prominent in homes, the Hoosier desk became completely obsolete.

Murphy Beds


Murphy beds are beds that can be folded up into the wall or otherwise stand vertically when not in use. They’ve actually had a resurgence for use in smaller homes. However, most people prefer to use the foldout couch when having guests stay the night.

Transom Windows


Homes would often get dark and gloomy at night, at least before the advent of electricity. The only way to keep things light without candles or lamps was to use windows. As such, transom windows would be used to add just a little extra light. They’re those little extra windows over the main one. However, since you can now light your house at any time, they don’t have much use. Some people still use them to increase natural lighting, but they don’t open like the originals did.

Outdoor Kitchen


These small kitchens are most common in New England. The kitchen often produced the most heat in a house, so, for use in the summer, this smaller kitchen would be used to keep the main house cooler. Although, a novel idea, the creation of air conditioning made it completely obsolete.

Cold Closet


A lot like the ice box, the cold closet was a sort of refrigerator/pantry hybrid. It was used before fridges were widely available to the population. While it couldn’t freeze foods, it could keep them cool, and primarily housed meat, fruits, and vegetables.

Phone Plug


This is one everyone’s likely familiar with. Even so, not a lot of people have a use for landline anymore, as mentioned before. As a result, plugs dedicated to housing landlines are quickly falling out of favor.

Floppy Disk


The floppy disk went from being one of the most utilized products for storing data on electronics to completely outdated in less than a decade. The amount of data they can hold is less than a modern-day email. Even if you have a floppy disk in your house, if you don’t have something to read it with (which you likely don’t), they’re practically worthless.

Flip Phone


Most people that use flip phones either only want to call and text or don’t plan on keeping it for that long. The flip phone’s really just been left in the dust by smart phones.

VCR


The VCR’s been on its way out the door since the CD player was invented. And CD players are considered obsolete now, so what does that say about the VCR? The only purpose for really having one is to play any only tapes you might have from when you were a child. But if you grew up in the post-VCR era, then there’s essentially no reason to get one.

Fax Machine


It’s a little strange that the fax machine is still around. Its method of communication was immediately taken over by texting and email. People still use fax machines in businesses, but other than that, they receive practically no use.

Phone Book


The phone book has practically no purpose in the modern era. If there’s a phone number of a business you don’t, you can look it up. If you need to call a friend, you probably just put their contact information in your phone. The phone book’s only real use is to look up active phones for prank calls. But with caller ID, this isn’t even a good use of the phone book.

Compact Disks


More commonly known as CDs, they simply have just a decrease in use since the advent of streaming. Why keep a physical copy of something you can just download or watch online. You certainly wouldn’t have to worry about scratching the disk. Some people still use them for emergencies, but they don’t get much more use than that.

Radio


The only place where you might listen to a radio normally is in a car. Otherwise, using a handheld or home radio is more trouble than it’s worth. You need to worry about tuning, power, and making sure you have a radio signal to pick up on. It’s just a lot simpler to use Spotify or another similar app.