The perks of staying at a hotel are thrilling and fun — for a while. But extended stays can get a bit stressful if you’re not careful about how you live in your temporary home, especially when you tend to be a bit … well … on the messy side.
You know what we mean: Pizza boxes, fast food bags, and clothes that you can’t remember if they’re clean or dirty without the dreaded sniff test. It’s all part of living in a hotel room when you haven’t been blessed with a neat-obsessed personality.
Avoid the take-out container and clothing disorganization that happens on the road by following these expert organization tips. You’ll enjoy the benefits of a hotel without the hassle of long stays away from home.
1. Make (and Stick To) a Packing List
A packing list sounds a little obsessive-compulsive, but hear us out. You’ll spend 10-15 minutes planning and composing a list of your must-haves. And then you’ll check off each thing as you pack it and save countless minutes stressing about whether you remembered or forgot it later.
If it’s not on your packing list, it’s not essential. And if you’re unsure about creating your own list, some apps do this for you! Download the app, tell it where you’re going and why, how long you’ll be there, and a few other details. The app will create a list of everything you need to bring and make suggestions for a few “should” haves. It’s extra helpful when you’re planning an extended stay but aren’t sure exactly how long you’ll be there. In those situations, we tend to overpack where we don’t need to and under-pack elsewhere.
The app factors in things like access to laundry, business meetings, shoes and accessories, hygiene, and other things that affect your luggage requirements.
Do you travel often? If so, make a few of these lists for your most frequent trips and print them out. Slide them in a sheet protector or laminate them, and use Expo markers to keep track of what you’ve packed.
Then, when you’re coming back from your trip, do the same thing to ensure you remembered everything.
2. Keep the Little Things Organized
Speaking of packing lists and organization, as you’re putting your suitcase together, pay attention to the little things. It’s easy to throw them in here and there willy-nilly but then lose track of them later during your extended stay.
Instead, use pill boxes to store your vitamins and medicines. If you have to keep them in the containers, use a zippered bag to keep them all in one place. For those mega-sized bottles, split them in half unless you really need six months’ worth of vitamins and medicine.
The same rules apply to packing makeup and other toiletries. Limit yourself to the sizes you need; if the item is too big, try to break it down into smaller containers. Then, store all similar items in the same area, and keep them together while you’re in your hotel room.
3. Limit Your Spending
You’ve packed your suitcase with precision detail, unpacked everything, and moved it carefully to its new home. Now what?
Aside from keeping up with your messes daily, the next tip is to avoid bringing more stuff into your room. If you’re in a tourist area, it’s tempting to go souvenir shopping and load up on goodies.
Before you do, ask yourself if you truly need that item and where you’ll put it when you head home if you buy it. Sometimes, those two questions are enough to talk you into putting the item back on the shelf.
When you do indulge, have a set place for all your purchases. This could be an empty suitcase (which also gives you an idea of how much you’re accumulating and how difficult it will be to take home) or a dresser drawer. As long as it’s all together, it’s easier to organize.
4. Keep the Surfaces Clean
It’s a fact of life that clutter piles up on flat surfaces. It’s why our kitchen counters, desks, and dresser tops get so messy so fast!
Make it your goal to keep those surfaces clean. It’ll help your housekeeper reduce the dust and debris in the room and remind you to pay attention to your stuff.
This does not mean “have a junk drawer.” In fact, we highly suggest avoiding the urge to create one! Use those organizers you brought with you for the little things. Invest in suitcase packing aids that double as drawer organizers, like cubes and pouches. While you’re not using your luggage, these aids can serve double duty in the closet and drawers.
Try to curb the hoarding habit that tells you to save every condiment, plasticware, and napkin that comes your way. Ask the hotel if they have a recycling program that collects these common items. If not, it’s okay to throw them out.
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Hotels have so many things going for them: Free WiFi, daily housecleaning services, fitness centers, pools … the list goes on and on. But living in one for a long time can bring with it a new set of struggles. Use these four tips to get and stay organized, and you can focus on the fun parts of hotel living.