time capsule installed in a basement in a home in new jersey in 2024
colonial farmhouse,  DIY

Basement Time Capsule Has Been Installed

We installed a basement time capsule in our almost 250-year-old home and I’m giddy with excitement about it.

Why would we do this?

Hold onto your Swatch watch and I’ll tell you.

It was time.

I have been looking for treasure ever since we bought this home. Every time we dug a hole or opened up a wall while renovating, I hoped we’d find something amazing.

Gold coins.

Prohibition alcohol.


I wasn’t picky.

What have we found?

Nothing of note unless you’re into rats’ nests and lost paperclips.

I decided to channel this treasure-hunting energy into something more productive and forward-looking. If I’m not going to find anything of value, maybe I can hide something for someone in the future to find.

That’s where the time capsule comes into play.

repointing the stone walls in a basement in new jersey

We’ve been repointing the stone walls in our basement. This is a task future homeowners should appreciate that we did on our and their behalf because it has been a time-sucking doozy of a project. While chipping away (literally and figuratively) at this task we found several hollow cavities INSIDE the stone walls.


A little bit.

Why were there holes inside a stone foundation wall? One of them was from where an old pipe had been inserted and it wasn’t filled correctly when the pipe was removed. Other cavities could have been caused by old mortar crumbling, which caused rocks in the walls to shift. It should be noted that we only found these cavities on an interior wall.

hidden cavities found in a stone wall in a basement in new jersey

If you know me, I can turn a disturbing finding into an amazing idea that creates a whole bunch more work.

One of those hollow cavities would be a great spot to hide a time capsule!

Imagine if you were the unlucky homeowner 100 years in the future who had to repoint the basement. You’re questioning all of your life choices while chipping away at the old mortar. It’s hard, dirty work. Then all of a sudden, your hammer hits on a loose piece of mortar and you discover not a rock, but a time capsule hiding in the wall.

I’m not going to say this moment would be so profound that the earth would shift and angels would sing. But if you were me, you’d probably need to seek medical attention for how excited you’d be.

Basement Time Capsule Has Been Installed in a stone wall in a home in new jersey how and why to install a time capsule in your home

I set about researching how best to seal and store items in a time capsule.

I decided if anyone knew a little something about preserving items for future generations to be able to appreciate, it would be the United States Library of Congress. I used their suggestions to select the right ink pen, paper, and photo sleeves to use in my time capsule.

If it all goes badly, I won’t be around to care.

Our time capsule is pretty small at less than 8 inches in length, so I had to be judicious with my choices of what to store inside.

I included pictures of the house that document how it looks today. We’re in there too! I was able to fit 25 interior and exterior photos in the time capsule that captured the house from all angles so that a future owner could see what had been changed from this point forward.

I included a handwritten note because that felt the most personal. (I did blank out some identifying information on the note for this blog post.)

Along with the note was a short list of what utilities cost in 2024, including heating oil. There will be a point in the future when people are horrified at the idea of heating any house with heating oil. Frankly, I’m a little horrified and I live here now and pay that bill, but at least it isn’t coal…any longer.

The last thing I included in the time capsule was the closest thing I could think of to treasure. We were gifted a silver coin as a wedding present. It was worth $5 then and $25 now. Who knows what it will be worth in 100 years? Silver is a commodity, so it could be back down to $5 for all I know.

If it goes up to $10,000, I might have to dig it out of the wall myself. Ha!

Basement Time Capsule Has Been Installed in a stone wall in a home in new jersey how and why to install a time capsule in your home

Speaking of where we hid the time capsule in the wall, it wasn’t in any of the hollow cavities we found in the basement’s walls.

We decided that filling in those cavities with stones and mortar to make those walls structurally sound was more important than hiding a time capsule. Boring and responsible, I know.

There was one spot above a doorway that had already had some stones removed to run water pipes and electrical wires.

That seemed like the best spot to tuck away a time capsule because we wouldn’t be creating any new structural deficiencies.

Basement Time Capsule Has Been Installed in a stone wall in a home in new jersey how and why to install a time capsule in your home

After I added new stones and mortar, the time capsule was successfully hidden.

If ever there was a “now you see it, now you don’t” situation, this is it!

Basement Time Capsule Has Been Installed in a stone wall in a home in new jersey how and why to install a time capsule in your home

The time capsule won’t be easy to spot, but it will be easy to extract.

The likelihood of someone finding that time capsule is high if work is done in that area of the house. I think this is a good thing. I didn’t go to all of this trouble for it to never be found.

On the other hand, if we ever redo plumbing or electrical around here, we might be the ones to find our time capsule. Haha! At least I have the skills now to put it back.

I don’t know about you, but sometimes we get lost in the “work” of homeownership, especially in a house as old as ours that needed and continues to need a lot of love. Installing this time capsule was just as much for us as it was for whoever finds it. It sparked some joy and excitement in what has otherwise been a tedious, neverending repointing project.

Someday we’ll sell this house and we’ll have this happy little secret about what we’ve hidden in the wall of our basement. I may never know if our time capsule is found, but it will be fun to think about it.

What do you think of my time capsule? Have you ever found anything good hidden in your home? Tell me all the juicy details. Leave a comment on this blog post, email us here, or reach out via Instagram or Facebook.

P.S. If you’d like to purchase a time capsule, this is the one we got. It is stainless steel and supposedly waterproof. It also comes in different sizes. Ours is the 7.6 inch.

Thank you for coming on this journey with me. I appreciate you. If you’d like another blog post to read, I’ve got you covered.

Living In Ireland: When To Move Back to the U.S.

Get Caught Up On Why We Are Repointing Our Stone Walls and What That Even Means

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