Travel-size shampoos, lotions, and soaps found in many hotel rooms are easy to accumulate when traveling and even easier to become clutter in your house when you return home. Since these items are consumable, can’t be passed on to a future guest once opened, and don’t have a price tag, it really is okay to take them. But, over time, an overflowing stash of these freebies can outgrow your space or take up room that other important “must-haves” should occupy.
Rather than throwing them in a bag in your closet (where you’ll probably never see them again) or putting them in the trash, you can repurpose them:
- Use them at home. Instead of saving them up, why not use them? Chances are you still have some half used bottles of shampoo, lotion, or even mouthwash, so start by using those partially consumed bottles first. You can also combine all the shampoos into larger containers (and then recycle the smaller bottles) or all your mouthwashes together, etc. You can also set them out in your guest bathroom in a “For Our Guests” box.
- Use them on your next trip. Extra bottles will come in handy on your next vacation that doesn’t involve staying in a hotel, so keep a bag in your suitcase (or backpack for camping trips) with the items you use the most. When packing, you can also put your shoes inside shower caps to help keep them for soiling your clothing.
- Use them at the gym. If you regularly shower at the gym after working out, travel-size toiletries are very useful and they don’t weigh down your bag.
- Keep them in your car. Are you a road warrior who spends lots of time in your car? Put some lotion, mouthwash, or sewing kit in your car’s glove compartment.
- Keep them in your purse or bag. Whether you walk, bike, or take public transporation to work, you’ll likely have a bag with you, the perfect spot for storing those items for easy access while on the job. You can also put some personal care items in your desk drawer at the office.
- Donate them. If you don’t have a need for the volume of items you have, donating them to a shelter is a good option. Clean the World accepts unopened and unused bars of soap and shampoo for distribution domestically and internationally to those in danger of hygiene-related illnesses. The Global Soap Project also collects and reprocesses soaps into new bars.
Of course, if you can avoid the temptation, you can avoid having to decide what to do with them by leaving them behind during your next hotel stay.