Just because you’re out of your usual environment doesn’t mean that your room has to be chaos. In fact, settling into a hotel room can be a great way to practise your organising skills in microcosm. It’s also an easier place to get the hang of organising if you’re new to it, because you usually have a modest amount of items to store when you’re travelling and because hotel rooms are usually well equipped for the everyday tasks you do in them. Homes aren’t always well set up for the convenience of those using them, and if your natural tendency is to create chaos, then an environment like that will make it more difficult for you to break the cycle.
Setting up a good system right from the beginning is a really good idea even if you are only living in a place for a few days. Chances are, there will be mornings when you are rushed, and will want to find whatever you need quickly and easily. Even if you’re staying in a plush hotel, it’s always nicer to walk into a room that’s tidy as well as freshly made up. It helps you to appreciate the luxury all the more and it’s just a nicer way to live!
To start with, using the principles of ‘zoning’ and ‘completion’ that I discuss in more detail in my book, unpack so that you create mini ‘workstations’ around each of simple everyday tasks. Start with the obvious one i.e. brushing your teeth. You already know how that one works. Put your toothbrush and toothpaste in the tooth-mug by the sink. Then put your wash bag by it. But don’t bother putting your hairbrush there unless you’re happy to brush you hair straight out of the shower whilst it’s damp. If you’re going to style it then put it by the mirror in the bedroom. This is also a good place for your make up too, if it’s well lit by natural daylight. Far better than the bathroom, otherwise you’ll find items like your hand mirror migrating across the room because you’ve double checked the effect by the window and haven’t put the mirror back in its place.
Similarly, pick a drawer by the wardrobe for your underwear, so that you can literally stand in one spot to get dressed, reach out, and find everything you need for that task. Designate a carrier bag for laundry and store it somewhere near where you’ll undress at night. That will stop you spending the first 24 hours littering the room with odd small garments which need a wash that you fail to gather up. Don’t forget to ‘complete’ each task by taking a couple of seconds to put the items you’ve used back. Having them in a convenient spot close to the task you’re doing in the first place, makes this feel natural (just as it does with your toothbrush) and means you won’t have to have a formal ‘tidy up’ at all. Put your work papers and laptop out near the desk where you’ll be using them, put your pyjamas under the pillow and it’s often a good idea to tidy all that hotel information they clutter rooms with, into a drawer before you start unpacking.
It all sounds so incredibly pedantic and obvious, but never underestimate the average lazy human being’s tendency to take a short cut, or defer walking across the room to put something back when it has something more important to do! If you don’t set things up properly, then over time, and whilst you’re enjoying yourself, you’ll find that you just can’t be bothered. In a way, your rebellion/laziness is good thing. It’s a reflection of the fact that things aren’t arranged for your convenience. If you start out by creating rough ‘workstations’, that’s when the fact that you’ve arranged everything so that it’s easy to find and easy to drop back in the right place will pay dividends. A little organising now will save you a lot of clearing up later, and practising in a hotel room will actually make it easier for you to learn to be more organised when you get home…