Survey on USA Today's travel site, via Veronica Stoddart.
USA Today's survey is far from scientific — but I was still interested in the results, showing that more than 50% of the people who took this survey said they took hotel toiletries with them. And back in March 2010, Christopher Elliot wrote, "A recent Travelocity survey found 86 percent of hotel guests admitted to taking toiletries, like oatmeal soap and lavender body gel."
If you're really going to use those toiletries, then sure — go ahead and take them. The hotel certainly won't mind. But if they're just going to take up space in one of your closets, how about just leaving them behind?
Here are a few tales of people who found they had accumulated a bit too much. (You may want to read the full stories; I'm just including a brief excerpt from each one.) The first is from a story in Time called The Simple Life: Goodbye to having it all:
For Karen Glance, 36, it came down to all those little packets of shampoo. She remembers the morning she opened her bathroom cabinet in St. Paul and counted 150 that had followed her home from hotels in dozens of cities.Joshua Becker of Becoming Minimalist writes:
i forget exactly why i ever thought it was a good idea to take home the hotel shampoo/conditioner/lotion. i think it was because i thought it would be good for weekend travel, which it is… but last year when i cleaned out my bathroom, i realized that i didn’t need a whole shelf full of little bottles of shampoo.And Moata Tamaira writes:
I go nuts about anything that could be accurately described as "complimentary". I'm talking lotions. I'm talking shower gel. I'm talking funny looking plastic shower caps. Whatever is on offer, regardless of whether I will use it or not, I take. ...Finally, Eric on A Penny Closer point out that, for many, there's something about the psychology of free:
What I do have to admit to myself, and to you all, is that it's really not about the usefulness of the products ... it's really just about me acquiring them. Take the shampoo and conditioner, for instance. I'm quite fussy about my hair and I'll pretty much stick to using my usual products. Certainly I'm not going to risk my locks on some unknown hotel branded stuff. ... But I still take the stuff home with me, which means I've got a lovely collection of random tiny-sized hair products in my bathroom cabinet that I pretty much will never use.
I have to admit, I’ve been guilty of hoarding free stuff. Specifically hotel shampoos and soaps. Not out of frugality. Not out of need. It was really because ... I felt I had paid for them, so I better take them. It makes no sense. But I did it anyhow.If you find you've got a stash of unopened toiletries that you're not going to use, you may want to donate them to a shelter for the homeless, or one for battered women. And remember that even shampoo goes bad over time, so do that donating while the products are still good. Real Simple says shampoo and conditioner last 2-3 years from manufacture date, while bath gel and body wash last 3 years.
We went to dinner with some friends over the weekend. ... My friend brought up a point I hadn’t considered: You know, if they charged you a penny for those toiletries, I bet you wouldn’t take them.
Immediately, I knew he was right. A penny. A single stinking penny.
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