What do you do with those little mini one use size bottles and bars of soap you get in hotel rooms? Most folks who travel regularly already have a bag with their personal toiletries. We bring from home our preferred personal care products for an assortment of reasons. You like to use the same face cleanser you use at home. You are trying to get the most mileage from your last salon visit and use a special shampoo and conditioner. You may have sensitivities to ingredients or scents. No matter what the reason those little bottles either go unused or worse yet brought home and still never used. There is an alternative. Bring them home and turn them in to a local shelter. You can collect all those little odds and ends in a box in your home and turn them in a couple times a year to a shelter. That is what I used to do when I lived in Minneapolis years ago and traveled lots.
This job has put me back on the road tons and once again. I found myself collecting hotel toiletries. I got to thinking about the local woman’s shelter, and how I imagined many of them left with little and what extra they did take was likely for someone else, their kids. I know that organizations that help folks in these circumstances are prepared to help and work with people who leave with just the clothes on their back. They have donations and supplies that they give out to the folks they help, and the folks they are helping are probably keeping things in garbage and zip lock bags. It inspired me to take a different approach to my travel goodies this year. Rather than just turn them in, I wanted to put together not only a travel kit, but a bag that might be used to keep things together for them. I know how much I appreciated my travel bag that keeps all my personal care products together.
First I had to make or buy the bags for this use. I had some odds and ends of fabric from quilts I had made, zippers from projects planned never finished and some quality vinyl that I had no idea how it ended in my stash. I worked up a design and made personal toiletry bags. Each was unique, some bright and some with more subdued natural colors. All of them were designed to zip tight for storage. One side had the vinyl so that you could see all that was in the bags. It was a little bit of a trial, but I loved making them and seeing all the wonderful fabrics that were sitting around collecting dust take on a new life.
Once I had finished the bags, RangerSir and I loaded them up with the hotel goodies I had brought home this summer. It was then we then we realized that we had several collections of dental visit “prizes.” There were not enough dental kits to do all the bags, but we added them to as many bags as possible. This was the moment we realized it was in our power to make these more than a bag with hotel freebies in them. We headed to the local K-Mart to shop. We got darn lucky in that they had some full-sized toothpaste for $1 each. It was more than the travel size and less expensive. We had gotten nice things for less than we had planned to spend. We were now inspired and on a roll. We stocked up on single package toothbrushes. We found a dental floss on sale. We found multi-pack combs and bought a couple sets so we could tuck combs in each of the bags. RangerSir found travel pack Kleenex that I had not thought to include. Finally we added razors to each one.
These bags will be going to a woman’s shelter here in the local county. I was thinking of lots of other things that could be added to my bags, but we know not if the recipient will be young or old, alone or in the company of family members. So I stopped and hope that this is enough to get a person started and know somewhere out there someone is thinking of them and wishing them the best in what is likely a very bad situation.