What do you do when guests break / ruin something?

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  1. I have been running into this problem a lot recently and am not sure if I should be handling it differently. I have been on a huge decluttering kick and keeping and using only nice things in my home. However, when we have guests and something goes wrong, the item involved is usually fairly expensive because I just don't hang on to cheaper items anymore.

    One guest broke a couple of our wine glasses which were a little expensive, but not horribly so. I passed it off as "no big deal, that's ok" but I was actually quite upset that they did not even offer to replace them.

    I've always read to use the best items for guests, so when I bought new towels and had another guest visiting I thought I would put them in the guest bathroom. This guest got hair dye all over my new $$$$ towels. They were ruined. I about died inside, but I also know that most people don't think twice that towels might be expensive. So I also let this go.

    Should I continue to use my nice things with guests? Right now I am feeling like I should put out my older towels and get plastic dishes! I would like to get some cashmere throws, but I can't help but think "What if someone spills wine on it?"

    What do you do? Do you dress your house up or down for guests? I know if I have friends with kids or pets visiting, I will absolutely put away breakables. But I would think grown adults should know better. Am I being unreasonable?
    prepster likes this.
  2. Wow, if I ever broke/wrecked something in someone else's home I would most certainly offer to replace it. That being said, if you told me it was a $9,000 rare Bigfoot-fur-spun throw that I spilled wine on, I might feel differently. :smile:

    Perhaps keeping a small supply of items you wouldn't be upset about if they were damaged by guests is a good plan.
    prepster likes this.
  3. Hmm.
    Is the same person breaking/destroying things repeatedly?
    Or just several small accidents, different guests?
    prepster likes this.
  4. I would also find it quite rude to break something by accident in someone else's home and not offer to try to replace it somehow, or to put some money towards it? If it was something like a 9,000 throw I might offer to pay for a drycleaner or someone (whoever) to try to get the stain out, but would not be able to afford to pay for a new throw even in smaller payments. However, wine glasses--I would offer to replace them if I broke them.

    That being said, I completely understand wanting to showcase beautiful home goods and things when guests come over but what I would do to save my items is for example, if you know a guest is going to be sleeping over in your home take your fancy towels down and put up cheaper towels that appear fancy/appear to be high quality from Target or somewhere. Yanno, things that look nice but are inexpensive. This way you won't have your towels ruined again. YOU bought your items so YOU know how expensive they are, but guests probably do not. (I'm a very watchful, considerate person when staying in someone else's home but I also know several guests who are not this way.) After said guest leaves, take down your high quality Target towels and replace them with your fancy ones.
    prepster likes this.
  5. I would always offer to buy a new item if we messed up something in a friend's home. Always. I once broke a weird kitchen gadget in my friend's home and ordered a replacement for her that night. I couldn't find the exact model so I ordered the higher end model which she appreciated greatly. My best friend is the same way. However, we have another friend that isn't quite like us. She always manages to stain things in ways that are permanent. Once, I asked her to consider replacing an item after we were talking about it at lunch. She said that she would replace it but she never did. Now, I reserve nice things for CERTAIN guests only. Friends that respect my things get to use the nice things. Some people just aren't raised the same way. Some of our friends can be downright tacky and rude about other people's things. We still love them but have learned our lessons the hard way.
    frick&frack and prepster like this.
  6. Yes, I kind of think you're being unreasonable. If you're going to own and use expensive things you need to let go of the "they are expensive and therefore precious" mentality. A home shouldn't be a museum, even the pretty, well-decorated ones. I think it's rude to expect guests to offer to replace glassware. Glassware breaks, that's life! The towels are kind of a different story as it seems awfully negligent on your friend's part, but she may genuinely be clueless about her hair dye or just thought it comes out in the wash. You need to let go and accept these little things as a part of having guests. Now, if a guest becomes belligerently drunk in your house and pukes all over your couch and knocks over a vase or punches a hole in the wall... that's a different story.

    If you have things are are really irreplaceable or one-of-a-kind, then yes, put them away for guests. I'm really particular about my house but I want people to feel at home and cozy here, so I hide that trait of mine and let people relax when here. For instance, nearly all of my upholstery is white and I know that will show age quickly, so whenever I lay on a couch I put a blanket down first so my skin oils or clothes aren't touching the couch. I put a blanket behind my head so there won't be a mark from my hair after a few years. But that's because I sit on those things for hours and hours a day. But I put all those protective things away when guests come and embrace that a home is meant to be used.
    kbell and lulilu like this.

  7. Hm. As a host I wouldn't ask for a guest to replace something, but a good guest should, even if it is a glass.

    That said, it can't be the same for really expensive objects, so we have to accept the risk when we let other people use them.
    prepster likes this.
  8. It's funny that you used this example because this happened to me (see above). It was a nightmare! My friend was wasted and ruined my mattress. This was quite a few years ago. For some reason, I would not have asked her to consider helping me replace it if she was just sick but she got really drunk and this was the outcome. In the end, I bought a new mattress.
    prepster likes this.
  9. Thanks for all the responses. Remainsilly touched on something that I think is definitely clouding my judgment. The first scenario with the wine glasses was done by a friend who has broken many of my things and is... generally clutzy and messy and never offers to replace. I think I am especially annoyed because now I perceive it to be a repeated pattern. She is the type of person who borrows clothes and returns them unwashed. :nogood:

    The second instance was just so unexpected because the guest was a MAN! I didn't expect hair dye!

    In any case, I think both of these situations must have been really embarrassing for the guest, so I minimized it to help them save face. In the first, she not only broke her wine glass, but dropped it on mine, and they both smashed shards all over the whole chicken fresh from the oven... At a dinner party with other guests. We all had to eat something else!

    There have been a bunch of other instances but mundodabolsa is right that I should not be treating my items as if they are precious, and they really aren't. In all the other situations, I've always thought "I could have done that, no biggie." whether someone borrowed and dinged my car or spilled wine on the rug. But almost everybody at least apologizes and offers to do something. I don't get upset at all and honestly don't want them to worry about it because I don't think of my home as a precious place but as a place where I can relax.

    I am going to move my nice towels to my bathroom though!
    kbell and frick&frack like this.
  10. Wow, how awful!
  11. I only allow others to use things I have little attachment to or I am willing to part with. It would be nice if people were as careful with our things as we would be with theirs but unfortunately, this isn't always the case.

    I would not ask or expect anyone to replace a glass or a towel.
    lulilu likes this.

  12. Honestly I don't understand why anyone would dye their hair in someone else's house. Was he a long-term guest?
  13. I go through something similar mentally. Haha. I always end up telling myself that I have these things for people to enjoy and "things" can always be replaced. If it's something really expensive then I make sure I put it away before people (or children) come over. I also make sure to scotch guard the couch.

    If something does happen I just clean up and move on and make the best of it. I also use a lot of melamine cups now for big parties and keep the glassware for smaller parties.
  14. These instances can also help us determine who we wish to keep in our lives long-term. I had a very flakey, party-girl friend once (very, very flakey... like 2 DUI's flakey). She asked to borrow a brand new silk blouse one evening. I didn't want to let her borrow it because I knew she was a mess but I caved. I'm to blame for not saying "no!" She was a size larger than I was and it had some fitted areas. Well, as expected, the top came back ruined. It was wet, stained, stretched out in smocked areas with seams ripped. It was not salvageable and I never got to wear it. Of course, I told her that it was ruined and she didn't offer to replace it. She ended up missing her rent that month to buy a new Bal bag. Shortly after buying the Bal bag, she had already trashed it by spilling drinks on it and she always had crumbs all over it. She's just not someone that's careful with anything. I'm type A and she's a type B artist. She's not someone that I would break out the great towels, glasses, or sheets for. She's settled down now but we'll never be close because she's not dependable in any area of her life, even after settling down and having kids. It's not just the silk blouse that showed me this but several things over time. That being said, I have a lot of other type B, flakey friends but most of them are at least somewhat dependable and considerate.

    One of my closest friends is a complete mess but she always apologizes and offers to pay for anything that she breaks. I would never ask her to pay because I know it's always an accident. Sometimes just an apology is enough and that's where consideration comes in.
  15. I wouldn't use expensive items for guests. They get the older towels etc. I have no problem with this and I wouldn't notice if I were the guest. If I was the guest I wouldn't want to be using and possibly destroying someone's really expensive items. Those items are for the owner of the place not a guest.