Day 51: Five Reasons To Get Rid Of Clutter – Or Why I Want To Live In A Hotel

I’ve been wanting to write a post about the most compelling reasons to get rid of clutter for a while now. In fact, I’ve been writing and rewriting that post in my head for the last few days of my vacation. The trouble is that unloading my stuff has affected my life in such an enormous and personal way that I couldn’t possibly reduce it to a list.

The last stop on my vacation was Silver Star, BC where I was coaxed (by well-meaning friends) into launching my body down a mountain on a bicycle. I believe the sell went something like this: “You could do this trail on a cruiser bike with a picnic basket.” Needless to say I’m glad I splurged on the rental of body armour and a full face helmet. But I digress.

The Silver Star trip reminded me of just how much I love living in hotels.

Last year we stayed in the Firelight Lodge and the “contemporary mountain” suite had me wanting to trade my super-sized house for a 650 square foot studio.

It’s genius design and connecting doors had me playing a 48-hour game of “Where’s Mommy?” with the kids. And the well thought out storage areas meant we didn’t once have to play “Where’s Mommy’s keys?” But the best thing about the Firelight Lodge (or any hotel for that matter) is that we each checked in with only 1 suitcase each full of our favourite things.

And that has to be the single most compelling reason for getting rid of clutter that I can think of. Seriously, have you ever walked into a hotel room and thought: what this place is missing is a whole lot of my crap?

Sure, sometimes a comfortable bed or a sharp knife would be a pleasant addition, but do you miss your 46 tea towels or your laundry day underwear? Do you ever get a hankering to fix that broken flashlight you’ve been hanging onto?

I didn’t think so.

And that’s why my list of the five most compelling reasons to declutter is also a list of the five reasons I want to live in a hotel.

1) Empty Drawers = Rich Life:

There’s just something about using a whole drawer for five pairs of underwear. All that space tricks my brain into thinking that I have plenty. On the other hand, if I’m constantly sifting through ratty panties to find the good ones (which are probably at the bottom of the laundry hamper), I tend to buy more just to balance out the dreadful pairs.

2) One Suitcase

When you only have one suitcase, you are forced to be very selective about what you put in it. I’m going to start thinking about our stuff in terms of packing for life. For example, would I pack my back-up ski jacket for a weekend at Whistler? Would I take broken goggles on a beach holiday? Would Squirrel pack a suit to go anywhere? No. No. No. Without exception, I only pack our favourite things to go on vacation while at home I don’t hesitate to store 58 cleaning rags, 25 tea cups with saucers, and a pair of culottes I can’t stand the sight of myself in.

3) Maid Service!

Professional Organizers claim that decluttering your home can reduce your cleaning time by at least 30%. While it’s not quite as good as having someone else do it for you – I am willing to do anything to cut down on the time I spend cleaning. Hotel rooms are designed to be easy to clean. That means nothing but furniture on the floor and almost nothing on horizontal surfaces.

4) Family Time:

Sometimes when we stay in hotels, the kids have to share a bed or we have to share TV time. It forces us to negotiate middle ground between Angry Beavers and Criminal Minds which can be an important life lesson. Plus I never have to worry if what they’re watching is appropriate because we’re all right there in the same room. My boys never mind sharing a bed – I guess it just saves them time scampering across the hall to find each other in the morning.

5) Getting Out There:

I never expect to sit around a hotel room all day. It’s more like a launching pad for what I really want to do. For my family that usually means spending an entire day pursuing our various passions. I would like my home to be just that – a peaceful place to start and end our days. In a hotel we don’t trip over mountains of our stuff or spend hours searching for lost keys or socks and that makes checking in and out so much easier.

So my focus for the remaining 50 days and 5,000 things of my project is hotel living. I can’t think of a better reason to get rid of clutter than to check back into my life.

By the way – I thrive on humour and encouragement so if you have any hotel stories or anything else to share – I’m all ears.

What I tossed Today: 100 items of clothing that would never make the one suitcase cut


16 thoughts on “Day 51: Five Reasons To Get Rid Of Clutter – Or Why I Want To Live In A Hotel

  1. OK… you wouldn’t REALLY want to live in a hotel room would you? I mean it would be nice for about 24 hours, but I think it would make me totally crazy. I guess I’m just too much of a homebody… I really HATE not being home all day. Even if I’m off doing something I enjoy, I just don’t feel grounded when I’m not here all the time. I wonder what that says about me…

    • I’m the opposite of a homebody so I would actually love to live in a hotel. I guess I live mostly in my mind – I wonder what that says about me! Squirrel, on the other hand, has stated emphatically that he is never moving out of our house. He grounds me.

  2. i LOVE being in hotels too! I love leaving everything behind and having just one suitcase of stuff. I also like the fact that someone else cleans the bathroom. 🙂 We currently use our condo as a launch pad for all the fun things we like to do – walk to the parks, walk on the seawall, walk over to play at Granville Island… Yes, it’s a good life. I’d love to live with very little, but I do still have to consider the feelings of the rest of my family. But I seriously do think they are getting used to a minimalist life, as they are starting to recognize the benefits (even the 6 year old!).

    Welcome home and can’t wait to hear some more inspiring posts!

    • Erin, I want your life! I spent the first five days of my vacation in New York and I completely understand how people raise families there. You’d spend the first 10 years of your children’s lives in Central Park, but it’s doable.
      Having all those places near you must be wonderful! We spend every winter weekend at Whistler and most of our summer in Osoyoos. We’re fortunate to have grandparents in both places but it makes me wonder why we maintain a house when we’re never in it. I guess Squirrel just likes to have a place to keep his “stuff and stuff.”
      I’m going to make sure I’m properly subscribed to your blog. I don’t think I’m getting regular updates. Take Care!

  3. Pingback: why living small is great | dreams you dare to dream

  4. I totally understand what you’re saying! I am extremly organized in a hotel room. It’s the limited choices and I PUT THINGS BACK! It was a real breakthru when I realized I could also do this at home. It hasn’t happened yet but I am doing my own declutter journey – only 1 thing a day but it’s progress!Love the blog

  5. I enjoy the hotel living but I do believe it would get boring after awhile. It is nice to get away from all the clutter in your home and just have a few things to keep up with. It is that time to unclutter your home or maybe just get it organized and I use laundry baskets to help me store things that I want to keep.

  6. It’s so true! Whenever I travel I feel such peace because I have only what I need and love! Thank you for the great article! It’s recharged my decluttering goal!

  7. Oh to live in a hotel room is my ultimate dream! I am in the process of moving and the accumulation of stuff has been absolutely and completely overwhelming to me – in fact I almost think I could literally get rid of 1000 things a day…….but you know what? I am getting there and off with two more bags to Goodwill right now. I plan on moving in approximately 1 month with 10 sterilite containers (I can see what is in them) and my bedroom set (we love my Cal-King cherry sleigh bed. The rest I am shedding from my life to move to a cabin in the foothills!!! I am so excited but I do need to declutter the darn cabin as it is where 30+ years worth of the family’s OLD (but supposedly still useful?) stuff has managed to accumulate. I will get there, I will be free and I will make sure my bedroom looks just like the one in St. John (one dresser, one bed, one nightstand, two pictures and 7 DARN near empty drawers in that high boy dresser!) Thanks for inspiration and wish me LUCK! God knows I need it with 28 years of clutter to wade through and donate or purge.

  8. Thanks so much for commenting! I’ve been absent from the blog for a long time because I’ve been completely overwhelmed by the process of selling, renting (two different places), buying, and moving in (a month ago and we’re still not done!). Plus, for some reason, I thought it would be a good idea to start back to work. But you have completely inspired me, in fact, I’d like to stow away in one of your sterilite containers to your clutter free existence. Best, best, best of luck with your move and the 28 years of clutter to purge. I will be thinking of you – sounds like an enormous job! Please send updates of your progress.

  9. This post and the memorable words “Seriously, have you ever walked into a hotel room and thought: what this place is missing is a whole lot of my crap?” were what drew me to your blog, which I’m fully reading through for the second time now. Recently stayed in a motel studio room on holiday and the words came back to me, made me smile, and re-evaluate a lot of things here in my home. Your posts are inspiring, thank you! Best wishes from NZ.

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