Returning items left by guests

My cleaning checklist includes:


  • under the bed
  • in the closet
  • in nightstand drawers
  • dresser
  • refrigerator
  • kitchen cabinets
  • under the bathroom vanity
    …for items left behind

If they are food or socks/undies I just throw them away, however other items like significant clothing, such as a dress or sweater, etc. I will contact the guest and ask if they want it shipped back to them, it’s only a few dollars to ship and the post office is two blocks away, so no trouble.

Now I have finally found the first item that I’m a bit uncomfortable with asking the guest about…

Worst part is this is a repeat guest that has stayed with me a half dozen times already and is staying again this weekend.

What should I do, how should I handle this?


put a bow on it and leave it showcased in the middle of the bed…??


Or …. Put it back and see if it travels home with its owner.


One of my fears with that is this could have possibly been missed by the cleaner and doesn’t belong to the previous guest (my repeat customer that was the last guest) but the guest before that, which could spark some concerns about my cleaning practices.

I feel like I need to ask if they are missing “any personal items” or something along those lines. I also don’t want to make this uncomfortable since I see this guest all the time, they stay twice a month.


This is sensitive (so to speak)!

I wonder if you should say nothing but put it back where you found it (?) or in the main bedroom table drawer (?).

That way they might find it on their own.

My concern if I were you is that they become embarrassed and choose not to re-book with you again, out of embarrassment.

I wonder if your pre-checkout note should include a statement like " Please be sure to check drawers, closets and electrical outlets (decided not to say ‘plugs’) for personal items, charging cords, clothing and the like.


Throw it out; I doubt they will ask about it. If they do ask, say sorry, the cleaners are instructed to throw out personal items left behind unless they are jewelry or other obviously valuable things.


Gotta say I don’t quite understand your “look for” list. I wouldn’t have to “look” in any of those places. They all get cleaned, every time. To be fair, I have a private room/private bath listing, and guests share the kitchen with me, where they are not likely to stash personal items, but bedside drawers, under the bed, the closet and shelves therein need to be cleaned at each turnover, IMO. If you or your cleaner aren’t doing this, that’s pretty slack cleaning.


Absolutely not, since he isn’t sure which guest left it. Good way to lose a repeat guest, to find someone else’s sex toy in the room that was supposedly cleaned before their arrival.

I don’t think they’d view it as a “promise less and deliver more” amenity.
“This host thought of everything a traveler might need!” :rofl:


If you do throw it out I think there should be something in the listing about that policy, although my sixth sense says that they’ll not pound, pound, pound away that you did not return an item and that your listing was silent on your policy.

We say: Property Left Behind: Property left behind after a rental is deemed abandoned and the Host can dispose of it without restriction. If costs are incurred to remove such property the Guests agree to pay all additional charges as incurred.

As a practical matter when we find things like sweaters and such we notify the guest and ask how they’d like us to handle it. Half the time they say that a family member in the area will pick it up; the other half they ask us to send it it to them always offering to pay postage and we volunteer to send it at our expense. [Not expensive; creates (I hope) a lot of goodwill. If it’s clothing we usually wash it first.]

Yeah, I’d probably throw it away. If it was the repeat guest, they’d probably be embarrassed to ask just as you would be.

I had a guest that messaged me after leaving and asked if I’d found a tongue scraper. I thought, what the hell? Had to look it up and no I didn’t. He finally wrote back and said he found it.

Good point!

[I missed that and just read it in the subsequent post.]


On second thought then, I think I’d go with @Justarock 's thought to write something like: I don’t know if you might possibly have left a personal item while you were last here. If so, we’re leaving any personal items in [fill in]."

Maybe they won’t be embarrassed but later have a laugh about it?

I could see going either way.

If you don’t mention it at all they might be able to conclude that they did leave it here, that the Host knows, that the Host threw their personal item away when they could easily have saved it for them.

If it’s theirs and you put it in the drawer they might be appreciative, or be embarrassed. Who knows?

If it’s not theirs and you put it back or in that drawer they might conclude as @muddy says that your cleaning practices are shoddy and might even be shocked, though if you have that swinging chair over the bed how can they be shocked?

Let’s see what others say.

@muddy I run few businesses and have learned that if you don’t explicitly says something and document about processes and procedures to your staff then they will find ways to ‘not be responsible’ when things get missed. So yes, they should see all these areas when they clean, but it really helps to make it explicit. I have a four page cleaning manual for each unit, here is a small section of that:

@HostAirbnbVRBO Yes! Guests are so grateful when I send their left items back, I always cover the cost myself. This is a service industry after all.



This is great!

Would you mind sharing your 4-page cleaning manual?


Ask the last guest if they left it behind. It’s a $150 item, basically an electronic (it has a remote). They’re obviously adults and adults are not embarrassed by things like this. Don’t be silly about it.


True. It’s an expensive item. I certainly wouldn’t just throw it away, considering it might belong to the repeat guest, and yes, adults shouldn’t be embarrassed to ask or claim it.

Only as the OP said, he didn’t know if it was left from the last guest which is soon to be a returning guest.

Maybe he could donate it to the salvation army thrift store. ha!ha!

LOVE this. I am SO tired of guests leaving stuff behind (nothing so interesting as the original poster, alas).

My policy for return has evolved to, they have to send me a shipping label to get it back. I’ll box it up and tell them the dimensions and weight, and then they email me the label, and I take it to UPS or wherever.

I found a pair of earrings and the guests all said it wasn’t theirs.


I think I can share some screen shots of it, this is a template I purchased so I don’t want to get into any copyright issues. It’s a Canva template that let’s you enter in everything with nice formatting, etc.


Some adults are not as good at adulting as you might hope. I can see many paths for this ending in a bad situation and only one good path, which is why I am unsure about how to handle it.

Everyone masturbates, it’s completely natural, but few want that to be confirmed by a person standing next to them.


er… vinyl gloves?