Cringe-Worthy Household Mistakes — and Lessons I Learned the Hard Way

Cringe-Worthy Household Mistakes and Lessons I Learned the Hard Way

Memories from one of my DIY experiences will last forever — on the garage floor

Everyone does dumb things, right?  Over the years, I’ve learned lessons the hard way from these harmful household experiences.

1) Not cleaning the bottom of the stove right after a lot of food ran over the edge of the baking sheet and spilled over. The next time I used the oven, smoke billowed through the house and set off all the smoke alarms!

2) Not using larger, sturdier drop cloths the first time I tried to stain a piece of furniture in the garage. Permanent brown stain ran over the edge of the cloth and pooled beneath it while I was in the house waiting for everything to dry, and now – 12 years later – I still have big brown spots on my garage floor that will never come off. (Tried various cleaning products on it right afterward, to no avail…) And, on top of that,  the project looked horrible and I ended up throwing the piece of furniture away!

3) Not being careful coloring my hair. Spots of red hair color got all over the bathroom walls and on my favorite shower curtain (looked like a scene from Psycho!)

4) Allowing my son’s then-teenaged friends to drink cans of soda in the living room during a youth group meeting there. A girl overturned a full can of red soda right in front of my fireplace, which permanently stained the wall-to-wall carpet there. Had to use a big throw rug over the spot for years until I eventually replaced the carpet!

5) Using a thick piece of plastic (instead of fabric) as a drop cloth at the top of a staircase. While home alone, straining my arm to hold a roller on a super-long rod to paint the ceiling at the top of a long staircase, my foot slid on the slick surface and my body wavered precariously back and forth. Thank God I ended up backwards instead of forwards — cause I came very close to falling down a long staircase!

6) Using a bucket for a ladder. While standing on it to reach up and fix a garage door that wouldn’t close, I slid off and broke my foot, resulting in surgery, a pin in the foot, and five months in a wheelchair. (A ladder was right next to me, but I was in a hurry to get to work on time and too lazy to use it…)

7) Dripping bleach on the carpet. After we lost everything in Hurricane Hugo, we rented a furnished house an hour and a half from home, since everything closer was rented by other displayed hurricane victims. We’d recovered only a few possessions after our apartment a block from the beach was destroyed — and every day for weeks, when my toddler took a nap each afternoon, I’d go outside and bleach the few items we salvaged, trying to save anything I could. One day, I must’ve had bleach on something I carried in to the house, and when I looked behind me, there was a trail of golf-ball sized white bleach spots that had removed the color from the dark green wall-to-wall living room rug. I was horrified!

Made a frantic drive 25 miles in to town the next day and bought every dark green marker I could find, to try to match the carpet color. One of them worked, and I  “colored in” the white spots so the carpet looked normal again. I was an at-home mom, we were dirt poor, we’d lost everything we owned and the insurance company refused to pay, and we couldn’t possibly tell the landlord what happened and pay to have the carpet professionally recolored or replaced. That incident has always bothered me, since I’m a pretty honest person. But sometimes you have to do what you have to do… and I did learn from the experience.

What household mistakes have led you to learn things the hard way?

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