But the tiny bottles of shampoo are so cute.

Elizabeth Lee posted on 8th June 2009    CATEGORY: Organizing
clutter control, clutter management, help me, hotel mini soap, hotel shampoo bottles, seattle organizer, seattle organizing, What to do with hotel mini shampoo, Why do I take hotel soap?,

Not all good things come in small packages.

Recently I was in Las Vegas.  I went for a girl’s weekend with one of my closest friends.  We went to escape the rain and cold in Seattle, our children and husbands and the laundry that they create and most importantly we went to sleep in the sun.  When she and I travel we have really only one rule…”speak when spoken to”.  I am not quite certain how this rule came about or even how it works, but it does work and there are long long stretches of time when I am alone with my own thoughts (typically just a hum).  It was a most perfect trip.

Upon return to Seattle I unpacked my bag, put my dirty clothes in the wash, put the books I had finished reading back on the shelf AND put all of the soap, shampoo, body lotions and pre-packaged Q-Tips I had swiped from the hotel into the container of other soaps, shampoos, body lotions and pre-packaged Q-Tips that I have swiped over the years.

This is my stash. Pathetic isn't it?

This is my stash. Pathetic isn’t it?

Show of hands.  Who takes the bathroom swag from the hotel?  One, two…okay; I see another hand over there.

Ever since the Four Seasons placed complimentary shampoo in its guest rooms in the 1970s, travelers have come to expect mini bottles of personal care products in every hotel bathroom.  At first my habit started out of amazement.  When I was younger and we would travel it simply amazed me that the hotels would GIVE STUFF AWAY.  I would bring home the tiny bottles and line them up in my bathroom on a wash cloth just like a hotel would.  As I got older the habit became more of a need.  If I could afford to travel I needed the free goodies.  Even poor quality shampoo was better than anything I could afford.   Later, I convinced myself that the smaller sized items were perfect for camping, yeah that’s it.  When we go camping I will take the tiny bar of soap.  Must remember to go into the closet and open the container with all of the mini-products and the system will work.

As a professional organizer I meet clients all of the time that have the same “issue”.  Now the standard excuse is that the small bottle is the perfect size to get through airport security and with a handy dandy funnel you can put your own product into the bottle.  I don’t do this, you don’t, and NOBODY DOES!  We are liars and thieves with hundreds of bite sized bottles of mouthwash and Finesse shampoo and pocket sewing kits in our homes.

When I finished cramming in the last bottle of hotel mouthwash into the storage bin I had a long talk with myself (mostly humming again).  While I am not certain that I can stop taking the soap and lotion from the hotels that I visit, I believe that I can be more selective in what I take; better to go with the Bliss products at the W Hotel and avoid the Dial soap at the Doubletree.

Knowing my weakness this is what I am going to do with my version of the Hilton’s Maid Closet.  Might I suggest you do the same?

Women’s shelters and homeless shelters are usually happy to take donations of the soaps, shampoos, conditioners, moisturizers, etc., from hotels.

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