Tips for Organizing Your Hotel Room and Making it Feel Like Home

Discover the secret to a more relaxed getaway with my tips for organizing your hotel room. Stop the mess of crumpled clothes and misplaced chargers. I’m here to help you create a space that feels more like home even when you feel like you’re constantly on the move.

Key takeaways

  • If you stay three nights or more, unpack to make the room feel homey. For shorter stays, just set up a luggage area to keep it tidy.
  • Use the hotel safe for small valuables, keep expensive items out of view, and always use the privacy lock or door chain for added security.
  • Assign specific areas for each traveler’s toiletries and towels to avoid clutter in the bathroom.
  • If you work in your hotel room, use different areas for work and leisure to help you separate the two mentally.
  • Bring items from home like a pillow to make your hotel room feel more comfortable and familiar.
Hotel room with a balcony overlooking the beach
Marriott Hilton Head Resort and Spa. Photo: Plan, Ready, Go

Set up a luggage area and/or unpack

When you arrive at your hotel room, deciding whether to unpack or live out of your suitcase can impact how your stay “feels” to you. I always think it’s worth unpacking if I’m staying in one place for three nights or more. It makes things feel a little more stable and settled. 

For a one or two-night hotel stay, I create a luggage area. This is a dedicated space just for my suitcase, ideally on a luggage rack or spare armless chair. If neither of those are available, an out-of-the-way corner of the room can work well. I keep the lid of my suitcase closed when I’m not actively using it to keep the room’s appearance tidier.

For hotel stays of three nights or more, I recommend unpacking to make your room feel more like a temporary home. I find it much easier to settle in if I don’t always feel like I mentally have one foot out the door already.

  • Immediately hang any clothing that’s prone to wrinkle.
  • The remaining clothing can go in dresser drawers. I like to divide things similarly to how I do in my dresser at home. Still, I use less drawer space than I do at home.
    • Underwear, socks, and pajamas together
    • Pants, sweaters, and sweatshirts go in a second drawer
  • Stow your empty suitcase in the closet or tuck it away in a corner.

Regardless of whether I live out of my suitcase or unpack clothing, all of my toiletries move from my suitcase to the vanity area.

The main point is to find a simple system that works for you to make your hotel room a relaxing retreat at the end of a long day of sightseeing.

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Securing valuables

Of course, keeping your valuables safe is a priority. Your peace of mind relies heavily on knowing that your items are secure while you enjoy your destination.

  • Most hotel rooms include a safe, but that can depend on where you stay. It’s ideal for small valuables like jewelry or cash. Make sure to remember the combination.
  • I like to keep pricey items out of view. If you have to leave valuables in the room while you’re out, tuck them away in a discrete location such as inside locked luggage or under clothing in a drawer. Just make sure you remember where you hide your things.
  • Use the privacy lock or door chain for safety when you’re in your room. This extra layer of security prevents unexpected interruptions.
Two beds in an old-fashioned hotel room with wood-paneled walls and ceiling.
Old Faithful Inn, Yellowstone National Park. Photo: Plan, Ready, Go.

Keep dirty laundry separate

Keeping your dirty clothing separate from everything else is a small but necessary tip to keep your room tidy and organized. Having a dedicated laundry bag on hand is a must.

Other options include using a pop-up laundry hamper. A collapsible laundry hamper is lightweight and can be stored easily when not in use. These hampers are great for road trips because you don’t have to make room for them in your luggage.

A mesh laundry bag is also a good option, especially for delicates or other small things like socks. You can even buy small mesh bags with zipper closures that can go straight into the laundry. These mesh bags can help prevent losing socks and underwear at laundromats or hotel laundry rooms.

Stow your filled laundry bag or hamper in the closet. This not only keeps your room tidy but also makes repacking a breeze when it’s time to leave.

Here’s a quick tip: If a laundry bag wasn’t on your packing list, a pillowcase or spare plastic shopping bag makes a handy substitute.

Designating space in the bathroom for each traveler

An organized hotel room includes the bathroom and vanity. Here are a few tips to make sure everyone has their own space and your travel essentials are always where you need them.

  • Designate a towel rack, shelf, or hook for each traveler staying in your room to hang their towels. This way each person uses only their towels and washcloths, avoiding any mix-ups.
  • Keep your toiletries in a designated area or keep them in your toiletries bag when not actively using them. Housekeeping might not clean your vanity if it’s covered with toiletries.
  • A hanging toiletry bag can work well if you’re sharing a bathroom with several people.

Personalizing your space

The more comfortable you are in your hotel space, the easier it will be for you to get the relaxation you need as you travel.

Here are a few things I like to do:

  • As we discussed above, I unpack clothes right away (if staying longer than two nights) and stow my suitcase out of the way.
  • I find a spot for my toiletries in the bathroom.
  • Dedicate room on my nightstand for chargers, the book I’m currently reading, etc.
  • Bring a personal bed pillow from home in a brightly colored pillowcase so it stands out from the white sheets and pillows on the bed. This helps prevent me from accidentally leaving it behind.
Room at the Inn on Biltmore Estate
Inn on Biltmore Estate, Asheville, North Carolina. Photo: Plan, Ready, Go.

Electronics and accessories

Keeping your electronic devices and accessories organized can save you time and hassle.

  • Designate a spot for your chargers and make sure to plug everything in each night so you can quickly grab fully charged devices in the morning when you need them.
  • Designate a spot out of sight for any valuable electronics that will stay behind in your room while you’re out exploring.
  • Before you check out, check twice to make sure you have all your chargers and devices with you. 

Optimize for relaxation

After a long day, you want your hotel to be a place of comfort and relaxation.

  • Bring a personal pillow from home to help you sleep comfortably.
  • Pack loungers or cozy pajamas to relax in at the end of the day.
  • Stock your room with comforting beverages that are okay to drink in the evening like decaf coffee or herbal tea.
  • Read a fun book or keep up with your favorite streaming shows while you’re on the road to give you some continuity from home.
budget motel room with a king size bed and a vanity area in the background
Best Western Plains Motel, Wall, South Dakota. Photo: Plan, Ready, Go.

Keep workspace separate from living space

If you work while you’re on the road, setting and keeping a clear distinction between your workspace and living space in your hotel room is quite important. An effective workspace can be as simple as the standard hotel desk with its chair, particularly if you use this space only for work.

For any serious work, I like to avoid grabbing my laptop and lounging on my bed while I work. This makes it hard to separate relaxation time from work time. This is about a mental separation between work time and relaxation time. When your workday ends,  you can put away work materials to help you mentally shift from business to leisure, even if the physical space is shared.

interior of a Residence Inn hotel room
Residence Inn hotels can be great for keeping work space separate from relaxing space. Photo: Plan, Ready, Go.

Repacking at the end of your stay

When your trip is over, repacking your luggage is a breeze if you’ve kept your things organized during your stay.

  • Check your room safe to make sure you’ve removed and packed any valuables you stored there.
  • Check the shower for toiletries and other personal items.
  • Check every drawer, cupboard, shelf, closet, and corner twice.
  • Check outlets for chargers still plugged in.
  • Check the refrigerator for drinks and any leftover food.
  • Keep dirty laundry away from unworn clothes in your suitcase as you repack. I pack my dirty clothes in a laundry bag inside my suitcase, and then just empty it straight into the hamper at home.
  • Gather any other personal items like your pillow, snacks, souvenirs, etc.
  • Make sure you have all of your electronics with you before you leave.
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Final thoughts on organizing your hotel room

A well-organized hotel room enhances your experience. Simple steps like unpacking, keeping your space tidy, and bringing comforting things from home go a long way in making your stay more enjoyable. The key is to find what works for you, so your hotel room doesn’t just feel like a messy stopover. By organizing your space, you turn your hotel room into a comfortable retreat.

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