Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Spring Cleaning Leads to Pampering on the Cheap!

I didn’t realize how many little bottles, tubes, and envelopes of travel and trial size shampoo, liquid soap, conditioner, and toothpaste, etc. I had until I pawed through the linen closet looking for the backup bottle of liquid castile soap for the shower. This was in addition to the stash of travel toiletries I keep with our suitcases for easy packing.

I grabbed most of this stuff from hotels when we travel. Some hotels donate unused toiletries or leave them in the room for the next guest. Other hotels toss out the unused stuff after guests leave so I make it a point to take it home with me. Check with the hotel if you are concerned.

In order to use up those toiletries during travel as I planned I’d have to take a multimonth transcontinental vacation. That doesn’t sound bad after the rough winter we’ve had but not very feasible due to that silly little thing called work. Do you realize that they actually want you to show up and work for weeks on end in order to get a paycheck? Wacky, no?

The unopened items I could easily donate to a women’s shelter but mine were mostly opened. The few items that weren’t open I wanted to try.

I had a crazy thought. What if I used these travel toiletries in my bathroom instead of letting them collect largely unused in my closet?

I can’t pamper myself with a multimonth vacation, but I can pamper myself by using a different shampoo or whatever every other day if I want at no extra cost. I can make every day spa day and I’m totally OK with that.

I’ll keep a few of the nicer bottles to refill with my own toiletries for our guest bathroom and for travel. The rest will go into my recycling bin. True, that in the short term I will have more items going my recycling bin than normal but it’s better than letting a bunch of clutter sit around unloved and unused. (Yes, I watch Horders. The show makes me so sad and a little grossed out that I’m on a clutter clearing rampage.)

I will turn in the hard plastic caps to Aveda for their plastic cap recycling program. If the store isn’t busy, they often give you a free cup of tea and a hand massage as a thank you for recycling your plastic bottle caps. I wish every recycling program gave free massages!

I’ll find a good reuse for any item with some not so friendly ingredients (or just make my hair go all wonky like those combination shampoo and conditioner products) I find in my stash. I’ll talk about those reuse ideas in a future post.

What about you? Do you pack rat sample and travel toiletries or do you use them up right away after you get them?

Updated 3/25/10 11:55 PM: I took Blitzkrieg outside for a potty and it's starting to hail. The weather guy said it's going to snow this weekend after having 60 degree days last week. I think I could use the pampering vacation after all. Somewhere warm. I'll bring my own toiletries. I promise.