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Christine Wei

How can such a light packer be such a hoarder? My boyfriend asks me this every time we travel together. Because I’m totally that person. The one who runs around every morning to stash any toiletries in sight before housekeeping arrives to restock. The one who has occasionally tipped extra to get a few more goodies. The one who’s even trained her other half to collect toiletries from his work trips…

It might be a sickness, but I’m sure not the only one afflicted. These are ideas are for everyone who’s ever spent a weekend cleaning the house and was shocked by how many products they’ve collected over the years.


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1. Use them.
This is difficult for hoarders, because it goes against the very nature of hoarding. But actually using the products you’ve collected in your regular routine means not having to buy soap, shampoo, or conditioner for a very long time. Bonus points if you’re able to get to a place where you only take products and brands that you want to use, not every single item on the bathroom sink.


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2. Take them on your travels.
As savvy packers, we’d never suggest toting a full set of toiletries on all trips across the board. But not all lodging will have all the bath products you need, particularly bed and breakfasts, guest houses, or vacation rentals in various regions of the world. In some countries in Europe, conditioner isn’t always guaranteed even at three- and some four-star hotels.

3. Stock the guest bathrooms.
If you have a guest bathroom.

4. Put them on display.
If you’re not going to use them, at least toss the toiletries into some clear jars and let all the pretty packaging and colors liven up the home.

5. Sell them.
This works best if you’ve snagged very nice products from a fancy hotel. Coveted brands include Aesop, Aqua di Parma, Blaise Mautin, Bulgari, Molton Brown, Aveda, Asprey, Khiel’s, Hermes, Guerlain, and Aigner. Consider this:

  • A set of five 1.7-ounce products retails for $35 on Molton Brown’s own website (a $45 value, they say). On eBay, a single one-ounce bottle is easily priced between $2 and $5.
  • Four 1.7-ounce Aesop products can go for $25.99…or more.
  • If you’re the type to take even the combs, apparently you could get $15 for three from Asprey.

6. Gift them.
Again, the higher-end the product, the more this means. We wouldn’t necessarily recommend doing this for a birthday or other special occasion — that’s a bit cheap, guys — unless you have some limited distribution scent and it’s for fellow hotel nerd. But for stocking stuffers, souvenirs, and other small gifts, it doesn’t cost a lot to get a nice box, organza pouch, or clear cellophane bags with ribbons from the craft store.

7. Donate them.
Now for the charitable option: We like the idea of paying it forward to local organizations at your vacation destinations, and in some countries, lotion and conditioner are commodities — a nice way to thank hosts, guides, and people you meet while traveling. But if you don’t have the time or means to go out of your way, the homeless shelters and women’s shelters in your hometown almost always take these donations. You can send toiletries to the troops abroad, too.

8. Trade them.
Tired of the same old scent — or simply didn’t fall in love with a popular brand? There are now tons of ways to exchange your samples for new items you want to try (partly thanks to the abundance of beauty subscription services like Birchbox). eDivv is a popular swapping platform, and there’s even an entire Reddit forum dedicated to exchanges. Or if you don’t want to deal with the hassle of shipping, you can find a swap event in your hometown — or host one.

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