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26 Year Old Belly Button Lint Collection Sets Guinness World Record

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by hearit

hearit's picture
In The News

A man began a bizarre and (some would argue, gross) collection at age 19--a “collectable” originally "discovered" at a youth hostel now paying off. A museum’s bought 25 years worth of belly button lint, and the Australian’s won himself top title in the Guinness Book of World Records. Barker’s also has a “collection” of bogus names used throughout his 45-years stint on earth.
Professional librarian Barker keeps his house in as meticulous order as the library where he’s employed: the man organizes “navel fluff” by color and year—storing the collected lint in glass jars. The Australian, Graham Barker, says he began “harvesting” his navel fluff over 25 years ago—starting in 1984.
The place it all began—perhaps aptly in terms of cleanliness—is a youth hostel in Brisbane, Australia. 26 years later, Barker’s mission has resulted in what he deems a complete collection of the belly button fuzz: .77 ounces (or roughly 22.1 grams). Guinness Book of World Records agrees, for now anyway. Barker’s not concerned—the man’s still gathering the navel fuzz daily.
“I became curious about how much “navel fluff” one person could generate, and the only way to find for sure was to collect it [the belly button lint] and see,” Barker writes on his online “Fear God” blog. Those intrigued can view the attached link for Baker's latest and greatest”in the world of belly button lint collection and preservation.
“Millions of people collect stamps and coins, but as far as I know nobody else collects navel fluff. That makes my collection unique!,” boasts Barker.
“Unique” is one way to describe the navel lint collection. While some ponder how the universe came into fruition, this Australian’s wondering about lint in his bellybutton. The collecting “habit” may have been a bit easier to understand when Barker began—at age 19—maybe a bit harder to understand at age 45.
Every day, Barker plucks lint from his navel—before showering--and stores the “harvest” in a clay pot. Year’s end is apparently a time to celebrate, the point in time when the Australian adds the navel fuzz harvest to his main collection of lint. Each year’s collection of bellybutton fuzz is stored by color in glass jars, and labeled by date.
“Over the last 20-plus years, my navel has accumulated an average of 3.03 milligrams of fluff each day,” Barker says via blog. “I doubt that many people have done this, so it’s not known whether the volume of fluff generated by my navel is any indication of what is normal.”
So how does belly button lint come to be? Navel lint is basically stray or shed fibers from an article of clothing, mixed with some dead skin cells and strands of body hair. Men are more likely to garner a collection of belly button fuzz because women have finer and shorter body hairs than men. Some may additionally argue cleanliness habits come into play.
It’s believed that belly button fuzz actually migrates upward, from underwear, instead of downward from shirts or tops. Navel fuzz finds its way to the belly button as a direct result of frictional drag of body hair on underwear, dragging fibers up into the belly button.
Well, at least the world can rest assured that Barker wears underwear.
The Australian may already have earned top title in the Guinness Book of World Records title, but Graham Barker may really just be heading toward his “prime” at this point: men accumulate more belly button lint as they get older, when body hairs become coarser and increase in number.
Who says old age doesn’t have its advantages?
Others may scoff or view the collection as gross but it appears that Barker’s got the last laugh: the Australian has proven a knack for entrepreneurialism, recently selling three of his “navel fuzz” jars to a museum—for an amount of money that no one’s revealing. The Australian is now one-quarter of the way to filling a fourth jar with belly button lint.
Records are made to be broken, and Barker’s not resting while someone could possibly take his spot in the Guinness Book of World Records: he’s continuing the navel lint collection, with hopes of filling another five jars with the valuable fuzz.
“Most days my [navel fluff] lint collecting gets as much conscious thought as other routine tasks like putting on socks,” says Barker. Perhaps, but those socks he’s putting on are (hopefully) clean—the belly button lint and potential bacteria factor, meanwhile, remain in dispute.
“If my belly stopped producing lint tomorrow I might feel surprised but not disappointed,” says Barker. The rest of the world might be highly surprised if Barker’s “belly stopped producing lint”. It seems the librarian may need a primer, or some time to read up on the subject, while he’s in that library—with the human body and magical appearance of belly button fuzz, no “producing” is involved.
Barker says, “Some people gaze into their navel for inspiration: I look into mine and see navel fluff. Also known as navel lint, it is that fascinating fluffy substance that forms mysteriously in the belly buttons of special people.”
The fuzz grows for ”special people” according to the lint collector himself—but considering that belly button fuzz is actually a wonderful mix of dead skin and the belly button lint prompted by coarse hair, some might not consider it the same, extraordinary gift.
“Like uncirculated banknotes or stamps, my navel fluff is in mint condition. When harvested, I remove any body hair from the fluff then store it immediately in a jar, where it [belly button lint] remains uncontaminated.”
Perhaps Barker means “uncontaminated” by any further contaminants—but considering the combination between body hair and sweat, bacteria levels might be a realm best left uninvestigated. It’s probably a good thing that the Australian stores the stuff in glass.

Barker doesn’t seem to view his navel fuzz habit as bizarre or gross. He’s got a separate collection going simultaneously: beard clippings, also labeled and stored in plastic bags.
Perhaps Baker’s oddest collections, however, are those concerning the respective areas of bakery bags and bogus names he’s used in the past.
The desire for anonymity—and bogus names--seems worthy.


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