Returning stuff left behind, a query.

My sister got married last week. My parent’s place was filled with guests, over 20 (and yes it was packed like sardines, thanks for asking), from what seemed like the four corners of the globe.
The guests have (almost) all gone now. Several of them left various assorted items behind.
At my mother’s request I catalogued and identified the owners of most of the stuff. Question is, how do I get it back to them, and I need to do this quickly before I go back myself. So basically the weekend.

So in no particular order:

  1. Do I courier or just a normal parcel in the mail? Couriering over half a dozen packages, including some overseas, sounds expensive.
  2. Leftover toiletries I can just dump, right? But what about someone’s half used container of face cream?
  3. In two cases, the stuff belongs to the grown up kid of one of my parent’s guests, who stayed together for the wedding, but AFAIK, live separately. And I hardly know the kids, who do I send it to?
  4. Do I need to get the clothes washed/pressed before sending?

I’d certainly not courier anything unless someone had already contacted you and expressed an urgent need.

Personally I’d never send something that would cost more to send than it was worth unless it had sentimental value. So face cream probably not.

I’d certainly not have clothes cleaned or pressed.

Personally I’d not send anything until contacting people – I realize this doesn’t work for you.

IMHO, worth what you paid for it:

  1. Actually putting it in the post at all, rather than in a cupboard waiting for “the next time they’re in town” puts you ahead of the game. If they needed it tomorrow, they should have remembered to take it with them (full disclosure: I’m a chronic Leaver of Stuff - I would never expect anyone to take heroic measures to return my stuff to me, when it’s through my own dumbassery I lost track of it in the first place)

  2. Dump the face cream. See “they should have remembered to take it with them” above

  3. Send the kids’ stuff to the parents. We can assume the kid will be seeing their parents some time between now and next christmas, right?

  4. Hell no. They wouldn’t have gotten free laundry services if they’d remembered to take their stuff with them, right?

Stash the stuff in a box,

Unless they ASK for the stuff to be returned, then you are under no obligation to return it. And if they do ask for a return, make sure they pay the postage, up front.

Face creams can be very expensive. I with stashing the stuff and awaiting a call for its return. Unless it’s medicines or jewelry.


If you want people to think of you as an asshole with horrible manners, then sure that’s the way to go. :rolleyes:

Just a thought: It was your sister’s wedding. It’s her responsibilities to handle stuff like this. Give her a big box with everything in it, and wash your hands of the whole ordeal.

Unless it’s really valuable or important (wallet, ID, life saving medication etc.), courier seems like overkill to me. If they haven’t got in touch in a week to say ‘Did I leave x? It’s of real sentimental value!’ odds are they don’t need it urgently and won’t miss it if it takes a while to get back, or they have to pick it up next time they (or someone who can collect) are in the country. Unless they’re a bit crazy, which you’re more likely to know than us.

Some toiletries may be expensive, but most of them aren’t going to cost much more than the price of overseas postage. Maybe have a quick google to see if any are some kind of $200 serum with Real Magic Beans blessed by a Himalayan monk, otherwise chuck, unless the owners are going to be visiting in less than a year, in which case maybe put them to one side (many of them have a time limit to use once opened, which some people care about).

Or, for a simpler method, do you have any other sisters who aren’t married? If so, them to get married and the same people should come back and can then collect their own stuff. Though this may just delay the issue, as they’re likely to leave new stuff, possibly requiring a never ending supply of sisters.

I would 100% only consider acting on items that are inquired after. No one calls to check on said items, inside of say, 30 days?
It’s s off to the donation and/or waste bin!

Pay to clean, package and post left behind items to persons who have expressed no desire to see them returned whatsoever? Mmmm, nope.

A diamond ring, A camera, Personal photos, sure. But leftover clothes and face cream no one has even inquired after! Again, a great big nope from me.

She is off on her honeymoon.
Plus she lives and will live 300 miles away.

“Aunt Betty, thank you for attending our wedding, and thank you for the generous check! We will put the money to good use furnishing our apartment. Oh, and thank you for the face-cream. It means so much more, knowing you tried it out first to check the quality!”

Since you know who the stuff belongs to and have contact info, why not just give them a call and ask them what they want done with their stuff? “Hi, Aunt Betty. It was great to see you last week! You left behind a few toiletries/shirt/porn mags, I think. What would you like done with them?”


Perhaps Louis C.K. could “re-purpose” the face cream whilst working out the kinks trying to come up with a load of fresh material he could share with his fans…

Contact the people that you think it belongs too, for anything that has real value. Medicine, jewelry as was said.

Toiletries? Um, I guess hang on to it for a month or so, but really, that’s disposable stuff.

If I forgot something at someone’s house, I’d consider it on me and either write it off or explicitly ask for it and make my own arrangements for its return (paying postage or whatever). I fucked up, I’m an adult, it’s my own problem to fix.

I would never consider the hosting party an asshole for “merely” keeping my stuff safe in the meanwhile. That’s kind of bizarre.

Most if the responses in this thread are repulsive.

How hard can it possibly be to get in touch with people and tell them they left something? Your life can’t possibly be that busy and you can’t possibly be that important that you can’t carve out an hour or two to contact them.

Shame on you.

Certainly no easier than contacting your host and saying “Hey, I forgot my face cream”. Seeing as how it’s your face cream and all and you’re the one who forgot it.

If they don’t care that much about their own shit, why should the host care that much on the behalf ten different people? Show a little personal responsibility if it means anything to you and, if not, don’t worry about what happens to it.

At least my inbox is clean.

Repulsive? Really?

I probably wouldn’t even notice that I’d left my face cream or a shirt behind. If I did notice, I’d just shrug and write it off. And I’d assume the host would do the same.

I’d feel guilty if the host (or worse the host’s daughter) took the time and effort to call me.

So my vote is throw it in the smallest box possible with “Toss this in February” written on it. My bet is no one will call… and if they were going to, they’d have done it by now.

Did the person that couldn’t carve out an hour or two to empty his or her inbox get sent to the cornfield?

It’s weird to see all the quotes and no actual post to go with them…