Fashion is everywhere

Chez Larsson

Confession Time

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Ok, are you ready to confess?! What amenities if any do you bring back after a stay at a hotel? Do you clean out the place like Ross and Chandler or are you picky and only bring a single mini designer lotion home if available?

I'm kind of in between. I used to be greedier but after tossing out old lotions and unused mouth washes I started controlling myself. A little.

This was the amenities tray at the hotel in China back in October. Loads of goodies; loofah, bar soap, vanity kit, sanitary kit, bath salts, two combs, two dental kits, emery board, razor, sewing kit, two shower caps, shower gel, shampoo, conditioner and lotion. And if you stashed them in your bag there was a new set upon returning to the room later. Maybe they compensated for the lack of internet access?! I promise I didn't put this into a system but a few things did come with me back home.

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So this is the basket that's on one of the shelves in the bathroom. It holds extra razors, dental floss etc but also my stash of hotel tooth brushes…

… yup, guilty as charged. I completely clean hotel rooms of these kits. The reason being that these actually get used. Wille who uses an electric tooth brush at home takes a kit when going on trips and Martin who's allergic to rubber has problems finding tooth brushes he can hold. Did you know that virtually all tooth brushes have rubber grips and features nowadays?! EXCEPT for these cheapo hotel ones.
The side pocket of my cute Baby Dwell toiletry case holds part of rest of my hotel loot…

… like these little vanity and sewing kits. Perfect for those hotel nights where the management isn't as generous as the five star China version. The shower caps are for my mom :).

Please remind me that I don't need any more sewing kits though. After I took these photos I found the rest of them (yes, very plural) in a drawer in the sewing nook…

The main compartment of the toiletry case holds those little bottles that are so difficult to resist. I've realized that no one in this household wants to smell like the generic male so I make sure to sniff before pocketing. These sure passed the test. Lovely scents! I also take any small not-to-perfumey lotions that can go into my work bag. Loved getting mini versions of Vaseline Intensive Rescue Lotion at the hotel in King of Prussia in December!

So, please do confess!


  • chrystelle says:

    So funny—girls will be girls! We stayed, during a conference, at an Hyatt Regency Hotel in California which provided Portico products that included Citrus Lavender shampoo, conditioner, and lotions. The lovely scent (I imagined) was like having oranges on a veranda in the South of France, so I swiped every bottle every day we were there! I checked the Portico site and a sample hotel size of just the shampoo is 12.00 USD. We did generously tip the housekeepers!

  • great post! my mother travels frequently for business staying at some pretty posh hotels and does the same thing – except she gives most of it to me because she knows I like products, but now I have BOXES of hotel mini items!!!

  • Anne says:

    Never lotions and soap, as you say, you’ll never use them. But always sewing kits and shoe polishing dito.

  • Judith says:

    It’s so funny – this always feels like such a dirty little secret but it seems like everybody does it! I used to take everything, but after realizing I haven’t used a shower cap since I was 5 and those little sewing kits just gather dust in their little holding box/graveyard in the utility room, I’ve stuck to the shampoo, soap and lotion when they seem interesting. They go straight to our travel bag and they do get used, since half the time when we travel we stay at hostels instead of hotels and don’t get the freebies.

  • Maiken says:

    I grab almost everything, but since I never use shower caps, those do get to stay behind. But as far as soaps, shampoos and lotions go then they are great to have around when you suddenly run out of something. I also like to deck out the guest bathroom with these mini items when people come to stay over – just gives it a little extra flair. 🙂 And small soaps are good for the toilets with a small sink. However, now I do realize that I have a ton of lotion and should probably refrain from taking too many in the future. 🙂
    These mini versions are also great to pack along when you are not checking in any luggage (like for a week-end trip) – they are the correct size and why carry anything extra anyway? I also have a mini pump bottle (from Target) for hairspray.
    I am definitely glad to see that I am not the only one hoarding these cute little things. Now I just need a friend to come and stay with me to put a dent in the collection. 🙂

  • Lori says:

    I have two guilty secrets to confess:
    1 – I have a Vaseline Intensive Care lotion (hotel-sized) in my coat pocket. Swiped it (I mean…*cough* received it) from a hotel just this weekend.
    2 – I have the entire series of Friends on DVD. I got on board late, as I rarely watched TV until I was up nursing a newborn at all hours, but those 11 pm reruns reeled me right in. They cheer me up when I need to laugh.

  • Leena says:

    My boyfriend has taken allkinds of stuff from hotels and from long distance flights. I used to yack to him about that but nowdays I’ve noticed that that stuff is actually really convenient. I use those pathetic sized toothpastes and shampoos on my travels. Our friends have used the toothbrushes, when they have stayed over night at our house after a party and they had not maybe planned to stay. They seem really thankful for that small cleaning supply when little hangovery 🙂

  • Messy says:

    Hahaha, this is brilliant!
    I will tell you a secret. I had an little fling with an airline pilot a while ago, and he sleeps in hotels most nights of the week, and he still swipes all the bottles and other stuff. For his kids. 🙂
    I don’t, and the weirdest thing is, it’s because of you, Benita! You inspired me to purge the bathroom, and I found dozens of them, from Greece (two years ago) and even some from Australia (five years ago). So I used them all up and decided to not steal them anymore to keep the clutter down. Should have known you’d be able to tackle that issue. 😉
    Then, last week, I finally found I could put one of those sewing kits to good use. I am moving abroad soon, and I had already packed my whole sewing corner, but now I found I needed to hem my pants. The sewing kit from the Santorini Princess Luxury Spa Hotel to the rescue! 🙂

  • Messy says:

    By the way, I’ve never seen those toothbrushes in hotels! I would steal those in no time… Especially the little paste thingies!

  • quinn says:

    Never soaps or hair products, and lotions only if not strongly scented – I know they would never be used. Sewing kits, shower caps, shoeshine kits, yes – things that might come in handy but which would otherwise never be bought. (Or even found in a shop! Can’t imagine trying to buy a tiny shoeshine kit.) Toothpaste or toothbrushes, definitely. Useful for travel.
    By the way, I recently saw a post on a baking blog that recommends using a plastic shower cap as a cover when letting dough rise! I just use a linen kitchen towel, but I suppose the plastic cap would keep moisture in, and maybe prevent the top of the dough from drying while the ball is rising. Just a thought, for anyone who has been gathering hotel shower caps 🙂

  • We loooove Friends. It what Wille and I watch if we’re bored and we immediately get into a good mood 🙂

  • I was thinking the same thing yesterday, that one could use them to cover food, but then I rememberes how some plastics aren’t safe with foods so I probably will still give mine to mom 🙂

  • Franziska says:

    I didn’t stay as often as you in a hotel by now. But I usually don’t use or grab the things they have there because I like my own things. I like the little boxes with dental floss. I haven’t seen similar ones here. I also like the case. Really sweet.

  • Hey Benita, are we identical twins and we don’t know it?.
    Are you describing me when you say “I’m kind of in between. I used to be greedier but after tossing out old lotions and unused mouth washes I started controlling myself. A little.”?.
    Hahaha. Brilliant as always.
    I keep in order all the toiletries I have putting them in different zip bags. They are useful for the office, the purse, trips to friend’s houses and specially when you have guests at home and you surprise them with their own toiletries basket like in a five-star hotel.

  • Lisbeth says:

    I love the dwell toiletry case!
    If the products are very nice I will stock up on shampoo, conditioner, lotion and soap for future travels and if cleverly packed, also cotton balls and cotton tips. But if they are just generic products I will rather bring my own refilled on handy travel-size containers.

  • Sara says:

    I steal everything, though with the cost of hotel rooms, I’m not sure it’s really stealing. 🙂 I especially love the little sewing kits… I have them in my car, my purse… everywhere. They’re really handy for when a button is loose or the kids need something repaired quickly.

  • mary says:

    I don’t think it’s stealing ~ all those items are part of your nightly rate and would be replaced if you used them too. It’s akin to leaving half your meal on a plate and not requesting to have it boxed…you paid for it! I think if pillows or towels get taken that it’s stealing, but those items are paid for by YOU for YOUR use.
    Having said all that, I always take them too, and use them for future carry on flights, and all the rest I take to the Caribbean and leave for the housekeeping staff. In places like Cuba (especially) and the Dominican Republic, hygiene and luxury items are rarely available, even if you have the money, so I leave them out with their tip, and I’m told they are always appreciated.

  • Annapolitan says:

    Benita, my mother buys those shower caps at the dollar store and uses them to cover plates and bowls of food in the refrigerator.

  • Annapolitan says:

    Oops, someone already pointed that out! Nevermind.

  • Robyn says:

    Fortunately for me I know someone who works at Gilchrist & Soames (the 2 bottles in your last pic) so get all the bits without having to stay at a hotel!
    Like the shower cap idea though so will be getting those out.

  • Robyn says:

    Oh I forgot – I didn’t take anything from the hotels on a recent trip to Australia, but I did help myself to 2 pairs of eye masks from the 1st class section of the flight there. They just didn’t supply the cattle class with the obligatory mask and stretchy socks!

  • Angie says:

    I confess, I do exactly the same :-))) Anyway, I think we are still far away from Ross’ behaviour, hahaha 😀
    Xxx Angie

  • Cyn says:

    I clear them out because I then bring the stuff home and donate it to the street missions to hand out to homeless people or I give it to the women’s shelter for abused women to hand out to new arrivals. These groups welcome these products. Also, I don’t know about other places but here where I live taking these items is definitely not stealing. First of all, it’s part of what you are paying for in your room and secondly, it’s illegal for them to keep those products in the room (yes even if they are completely sealed up and unused). It’s required by law that fresh products be put into each room so the ones that are there are all discarded. I hate that waste when someone out there could really use these items!

  • Jenifir says:

    I do not get to stay in hotels very often but when my husband does (he plays in an orchestra that occaissionally still does international as well as national tours), he tends to bring home quite a few of the toiletries or what he has not used while travelling. The best hotel toiletries that I have brought home were L’Occitane and I wish that I had been more greedy. Lovely organization as usual and I like your little bag!

  • Cheryl says:

    I, too, steal and hoard these little wonders only to throw many of them out because they have gone bad. I’ve gotten better. Promise.
    I keep one of the little sewing kits in my purse. The kits have actually come in really handy more than a few times.
    I use the shower caps too. They fit perfectly around a pair of shoes! I use them in my gym bag to keep my sneakers from getting dirt in my bag and on my clothes.

  • Diane says:

    If they have good stuff, I take it all! Daily, so they keep refilling it. And if the stuff is really good, I tip housekeeping to give me more. If you do this, housekeeping can be quite generous.
    If it is regular cheapo stuff, which it usually is at the places I stay (also cheapo), I leave it. It’s probably made from something that would corrode human tissue.

  • Nancy says:

    I recently helped my elderly aunt move out of her apartment after living there for 32 years and sure enough, in the back of her bathroom cupboard was a box of hotel soaps dating back to the 1970’s! Thankfully she was happy to let them go.
    I have become more conscientious about what I take and if I haven’t used it after a year or two, then I will donate it when I get the chance. I find that I have my favourite products at home, and I’m trying not to clutter up my life with things that I am not likely to use. The limits that airlines place on the amount of liquids that you can take on board helps with paring down too. (We have also pared down our luggage and we now travel with just two carry ons each for a week.)

  • Dusa says:

    Hotel shower caps make great bowl covers for salads/cold dishes/desserts when we need to bring a dish to a potluck. So when Mom doesn’t need hers, send ’em my way!

  • Catherine says:

    I think everyone does this. I am loving that little bag! (love the idea to use the shower caps to protect shoes!)

  • jorid says:

    Last time I stayed at a hotel, there was no more room in the suitcase for those little things. So I actually left a box of tampax (those individually wrapped in plastic), in hope that the maid would not just throw them away.
    But I’ve never stayed in places that had loofahs and shoe polish and vanity kits and such – I would definetly bring some of those home! The only thing I’ve “stolen” (recently) was a bottle opener, because we did not have one at home.

  • Cat says:

    I only take the stuff in hotels if it is good quality. I use the shower caps to put over my face and head when I have to put on a tight turtleneck shirt or a white t-shirt with a small neck, that is if I already put make up on my face. Or if my hair is wet, I put the cap on before donning the shirt, I can’t stand the feeling of pulling a tight turtleneck over wet hair.

  • Natalie says:

    First of all, I LOVE the Friends clip {the husband and I have the complete series and watch it every day!} and that Dwell bag is too cute!
    I get a secret thrill from having fancy hotel soaps in my bathroom, so I always make sure to snatch up everything I can find whenever we stay at a hotel. Plus, it’s nice to have those little bottles and extra toothbrushes for when guests come to stay. My husband always brings hotel soaps home for me whenever he goes on trips. It’s a fun, free souvenir 🙂

  • Kari says:

    I will take the stuff I will actually use. So if it is a brand of soap or shampoo I can use (I have some skin sensitivity problems) I will take it daily. I’d say this only happens about 1/3 of the time I travel.

  • Vicki K says:

    My habits have transitioned like yours, Benita. Once when we stayed at Disney Hotel it was SO exciting to have those cute little Mickey shapes on the soap – the other things lasted for years. So now I only take what I know I will use (like the heavenly plumeria shower gel from Hawaii). I did, however, find those Mickey toiletries on Ebay once – didn’t think of that!

  • Vicki K says:

    By the way – Diane mentioned tipping the maids. We always tip at the end of our stay – so it would have no effect on their leaving generous amounts. So does that mean you’re supposed to tip daily?
    Once, we booked a family stay at a primarily Business Class hotel in Los Angeles area. The woman who was head of housekeeping I think was so happy to see a family in the hotel that every night she gave excellent advice on sights and restaurants, brought fluffy bathrobes even for the kids, gave us the fancy desserts from the restaurant (chocolate dipped strawberries, for example) and on our last night, gifts for everyone from the gift shop!! My husband had won the hotel stay in the first place – it was luxury!!

  • Marianne. says:

    I am only saying this. Guilty!

  • Wow, you must travel a lot! 🙂 I don’t travel enough for it to even make a difference so usually I don’t really take or even use anything from the hotels. 🙂

  • xin says:

    NICE! I am not the only guilty one out there. I keep those little lotions (really nice ones) in my purse, use the bar soaps in the guest bathroom. Love the shampoo and lotions I got from Renaissance Aruba Resort several years ago. I also take the toothbrushes, but only use them to clean tight places. They are not as soft as I like. Never touch the shower caps, since I couldn’t find a use for them. Haven’t seen many sewing kits yet, but will definitely grab them if available. Oh, I love those disposable slippers! They are really convenient when throwing a big party (yeah, guests need to take their shoes off in my house).

  • Michelle says:

    I leave the products I know I won’t use, but I definitely take the nice-smelling things or bottles to refill for my travel kit. Lately I’ve been taking all the products because the pediatric hospital I work at is always looking for donations of travel-sized toiletries to give parents during their child’s stay.

  • Deirdre says:

    I love the friends episode! I always take the bathroom suff from the hotel, I grew up with it. My dad travels for work and every time he took it home for me. I loved it!
    Now I also take it, but when I unpack my suitcase I always trow it away because I dont know what to do with it xD But thanks to you I’m going to save it in my bathroom 🙂
    p.s. I found your website via Chrystelle flickr and I love your blog! It’s amazing and fun to read.

  • tandsköterskans dotter says:

    Tips till maken: på Apoteket finns tandborstar av märket Te-Pe, gamla trotjänare som funnits i urminnes tider, billiga, väldigt bra – och utan gummi i sikte.

  • ana v. says:

    I get all these things, I paid for them.
    For those who do camping that kind of stuf are very helpful and never sold as small packages.
    My children love camping.

  • ana v. says:

    they are also very useful when we have visitors. We can offer a hygiene kit for an oversight

  • moi says:

    på apoteket finns det utan gummi 🙂

  • m.winter says:

    I usually take the sewing kits and the lotions. I have very sensitive skin and every hotel I have ever stayed out always has lotions for sensitive skinned people.
    During my most recent hotel stay I took nothing, because I saw they will charge if they find stuff goes missing. 😐

  • Stash Haus says:

    I take all the items as I then give them to local homeless shelters and battered women’s shelters. The folks who use these services often have nothing and the smaller size is more convenient.
    The exception is the one time I stayed at a 5 star resort – I kept the lotion, it was great and bigger sizes were sold in their spa. Also if I’m abroad I don’t take the amenities – I don’t want to add anything to my suitcase that’s not needed.

  • Tae says:

    I have a toothbrush recommendation for you and your husband!! (although I’m sure you’ll be set with your stash for a little while 🙂 My husband and I use Fuchs toothbrushes ( which don’t have any rubber on them! (We use the Ekotec version with replaceable heads – it’s awesome and reduces waste, because the handles can last a really long time. You can double check the rubber-free aspect, but I know the handle is rubber-free and I can’t see any rubber on it elsewhere). Anyway, thought you might like to check it out! (and I don’t work for them, just a fan.) Thanks for all your great posts – I read your blog every day!
    all the best from New Jersey.

  • Diane says:

    You do the tipping right. You’re supposed to tip at the end of the stay. We do some at the beginning so they will fall all over us with service, or slip them some cash and ASK for toiletries. We’re very shallow!

  • chrystelle says:

    Forgot to tell you, Benita, I had a friend, Annie, who was French. She always placed bars of Savon Marseille in her bath cabinet on the towels to make them smell sweet. Ever since a time I stayed with her family I use the nicer paper wrapped hotel soaps on my folded stacks of bath towels and wash cloths in the linens cupboard. It’s a breath of fresh air!

  • Wow, illegal huh?! I won’t feel guilty in the future then. Moe like doing them a favor!
    I really like the idea to pass them on to shelters. I’ll have to check of the shelters in our area are interested!

  • Great idea! Again I need to check if those places accept donations over her.

  • Te-Pe brukar ligga i såna där masspack har jag för mig… När man får en gul, en ful och en ännu fulare? Jag ska kolla! Tack för tipset! 🙂

  • My mom does that! And with perfume bottles! I noticed that when I helped her organize her coat closet last time I was there 🙂

  • Sharna says:

    I rarely travel but hubs travels every week-for the last couple months he leaves the country once a week! I asked him to start bringing back all the “goodies” and he balked. I said-well do you think they are free? You pay for it with each night’s stay right-hey calculate it into the cost of the room. So-you’ve PAID for it, right? Well, my reason for wanting them is that a local community center passes them out to those in need. My Girl Scout troop does a drive to collect hygiene products for this center. The center prefers indivdual sizes to pass out so the hotel goodies fit the bill.

  • MiaKvack says:

    Om du skulle råka resa lite mindre i framtiden och få slut på gummifria hotelltandborstar så har apoteket sin (BRA!) standardmodell TePe. Vi kör bara med dem här hemma, inte för att de är gummifria utan för att de är prisvärda och håller sig fräsha längre än de urdåliga superduper-stylade som säljs styckförpackade. Både jag och mannen sliter tandborstar rätt hårt, men med dessa behöver vi iaf inte byta varje vecka…

  • Vicki K says:

    Thanks – actually it makes a bit more sense to do what you say. Otherwise they have no incentive to ‘make nice’. Also, I always wonder what happens if the maids change by the time we leave and the first maid is not fairly tipped.

  • Sarah says:

    I’ve only done this twice, one time when the hotel was stocked with Aveda and the other when we stayed in the Disneyland Hotel.
    Benita, not sure if you can get these, but Preserve Products makes wonderful tooth brushes, no rubber in sight. The handle is 100% recycled plastic and the bristles are new nylon, the shape is very comfortable and they come in their own little travel case. For folks in the US, Preserve will pay for postage to take the used brushes and cases back for recycling.
    Love your blog, you inspire me.

  • jenny says:

    Hi! I love your blog!
    I always take the stuff in the bathroom, like schampoo, condotioner and showergel… I don´t know why because I almost never use them..
    I have a tip for your husband, at the pharmacy you can fint toothbrushes without rubber. They´re called TePe, I think they´re great!

  • jja says:

    Nothing actually. Hotels up to 3-4 stars usually offered cosmetics I don’t like at all and in five starts I was only couple of times in my life.
    Sewing kits – I don’t know how to use them, but my husband would know LOL. And I like to save this weight in my suitcase for more shopping.:-))))

  • con-tain-it says:

    So funny…we always take the toiletries…we were traveling a lot and my stash was getting so large that I donated them to a women’s shelter…no use in holding onto them after six months and they start smelling bad…lol
    I always have a tall jar in my bathroom for guests to help themselves…for a while we were the “hotel of choice” when we had a big house and relatives came to visit…not now ;} I called it my “memory jar” and blogged about it here:
    btw…I use the “shower caps” to cover food when we are in hotels with microwaves and refrigerators…then when we bring leftovers back from restaurants we can heat and cover with the “caps”…hope this helps!

  • m.winter says:

    Hrm.. For some strange reason the comment i posted yesterday is gone. 🙁

  • But it’s not… It’s right there at 11.41 pm

  • Gosia says:

    It’s amazing to find kindred souls who partake in the travel size toiletries collection. I, too, take pretty much every item home and, like ana.v., use them when we go camping. Though I can see, the shower caps are the least favourite here, I still grab them and use them as covers for the bannetons, for my sourdough breads to rise under. Nothing really goes to waste, well, except the miniature packaging perhaps, but it still gets recycled.
    Benita, many thanks for visiting my blog and leaving a lovely comment.

  • I have never had a toothbrush given to me in a hotel. How cool!
    I had a bunch of travel stuff, I realized I would never use them so I gave them to a womens’ shelter.

  • Messy says:

    Aw, I’m sure they’re safe just as a cover… I love the idea!

  • Lin says:

    We always collect the “freebies,” and then donate them periodically to a domestic violence shelter. They’re always happy to have the individually-sized toiletries.

  • Lisen says:

    Greedy and guilty. I’m pleased to see others are just as bad as me, cleaning it out every day so they will refill. I think the lotions usually disappoint though, even luxury ones like my favourite: Molton Brown. If I had been welcomed by a kit like the one in your picture from a Chinese hotel, I would have danced with joy! A loofah- now that’s 5-star! I’m even worse though, I take the mini coffee things, and tea bags if good ones.
    I really miss the kits you always used to get on long haul flights, with the eye mask, socks and toothbrush. Now it seems that has been skimped on in economy. Lucky then I stashed a few eye masks. 🙂

  • nilla says:

    Te-Pe den bästa tandborsten! hoppas att det numera privata apoteket förtsätter att sälja dem… är orolig att mina favoriter ska vara för olönsamma och utgå ur apoteksortimentet.

  • jo says:

    I use a bamboo environmental toothbrush, might be good for Martin? can’t recommend them highly enough, I have found them to be excellent.

  • When I moved, I didn’t want to bring my huge collection of hotel toiletries with me to the new apartment, so I donated mine to a shelter as well. They were so thrilled to get them (I had a paper bag’s worth, which kind of amazed me) that they sent a volunteer who lived near me over to my porch to pick them up — to ensure I couldn’t forget to bring them in, I suppose. So now whenever we go somewhere I clean out the hotel room each morning and put the little bottles and whatnot in my purse, and whenever I fill a bin, I walk them over to the shelter. 🙂

  • Natascha says:

    I read about Martins allergy to rubber. I was curious and asked the german google. The Brand “Dr.Best” fabricates toothbrushs without latex or silikon.

  • Zoe says:

    I collect everything! I can’t help myself. I always imagined bringing them back and putting them in the spare room, but guests generally use what’s already in the bathroom, or bring their own. If I ever have a guest bathroom, then I’ll transfer what I have left into there, but I did have a big clean out recently. I got rid of an entire archive box full of them – but they didn’t go to waste! At Christmas time, my work collects groceries for the under-privelidged. I was able to donate these to people who may not be able to afford their own personal toiletries (let alone a stay in a hotel). It was a great feeling getting rid of the majority, and just holding onto a few dozen favourites!

  • Megan says:

    The hotel shampoos and soaps are also great to donate to homeless shelters. I live in the U.S. and all of the shelters around here pass them out to their visitors in need.