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Considering a different approach on leaving clothes behind when you return home.

Several years ago, there was a thread in this forum about packing worn-out "throw away" clothes for your journey and then leaving them behind in your hotel when you left. The general consensus, which I agreed with, is that we shouldn't leave such clothes behind because it just creates trash for the country you were visiting. IMHO, it also doesn't reflect well that American's would leave their trash for someone else to deal with.
I find myself now with some very nice clothes that I simply don't wear very often. I am considering the idea of wearing them on my upcoming trip to Europe and then leaving them behind with a note to hotel staff to either keep, give away, donate or sell them through a re-sale shop. Whatever they might want to do! Some of them are designer clothes like Michael Kors, Burberry, or Ralph Lauren, but I find them a bit itchy or the color isn't the right shade of blue, etc.

I'd be interested in this group's reaction to this idea. It would certainly reduce the weight of my luggage coming home, and maybe I could even buy a few things to wear that I really like!

Posted by
580 posts

The idea is okay but I’m not sure about the execution. Would you wear the clothes, then wash them, then leave them? Even if they’re expensive and very nice clothes, if they’re not clean you’re in essence asking the hotel staff to wash them and then find someone to give them to…which could be a lot of work. Maybe asking the hotel staff if there’s somewhere you or they could donate to, rather than passively leaving them with a note? I see what you’re trying to accomplish, but I question whether the end result would be a new home for your clothes or whether they’ll just be thrown away because doing anything else with them would be extra work for someone?

Posted by
8062 posts

While I dont object to the idea of leaving old clothes behind (and have done it) I would object to leaving detailed instructions to hotel staff on what they can do with them. I think they can figure that out for themselves.

Posted by
7036 posts

I think your idea to "re-house" the unwanted clothes would work best right here at home (with you taking the lead to either sell or donating them items). Otherwise, it just seems like involving others in taking care of a problem and/ or assuming that they would be interested in doing so. In worst case it could turn out to be a major faux pas or miscommunication where the hotel staff contact you and ask to have the items reclaimed, thinking you forgot them.

Posted by
154 posts

Went to church with a woman who took in used clothing to distribute to people in need in the community.

Her comments, "some people donate absolute rags thinking they are good enough for poor people".

My Mom also used to donate used clothing to a local charity. The manager of the charity would salvage the buttons, zippers, etc. from clothing too old to be worn again and re-purpose them or sell them. She also had people (employees?/volunteers?) who would turn the "less worn" portions of fabric from old clothes into quilting squares and make quilts for local shelters.

I'm okay with this approach.

But just leaving your "trash" behind just seems more along the lines of "it's good enough for poor people".

If it's too worn out for you to wear again, why would expect someone else to?

Posted by
2321 posts

If you aren’t wearing the clothes at home, why don’t do you just give them to a charity, sell them at a reseller, do what you suggested at home, instead of asking someone in a country you are visiting to deal with the problem. You say you don’t agree with leaving clothes behind behavior but because they are designer clothes it’s ok?

I know there are Goodwill stores in Vancouver and a lot of homeless near the train station. There is Sonesta Suites or the Heathman Lodge at Vancouver Mall if you feel hotel staff wants your clothes.

Just like the rule in camping, boating, hiking: if you haul it in, you haul it out.

Posted by
1874 posts

Knowing someone who's a cleaner and 99% of your clothes will probably end up in the trash. Cleaning staff aren't charities and don't have time to sort through your clothes. They clean up the mess, vacuum and change the sheets. Period. Don't make extra work for them.

Donate your clothes at home and maybe take less clothes on vacation.

Posted by
2080 posts with the donations in your own country by either selling and donating the proceeds OR by donating the clothing to a second-hand shop directly tied to a not-for-profit.

Posted by
122 posts

Every mid-size and large European city I've been to has had clothing donation bins around town (often near recycling bins, in parking lots, near stores or schools). I often get rid of spare shoes, t-shirts, etc. so that I have more room to take souvenirs home, and I feel comfort knowing that I'm not just abandoning or thowing things away.

Posted by
2202 posts

Why would you want to wear clothes you don't wear usually--which means you must not like them as much, even if they are nice, on vacation? I would dump the clothes at home and wear things you enjoy wearing on your vacation.

Posted by
6158 posts

Hi Elizabeth, If you want to give the hotel staff something beneficial, make it a nice monetary tip left on the desk or bed of the room.

And be kind to yourself, too. No need to wear your least favorite itchy clothing on a fun vacation! Just donate them to a local charity.

Posted by
1971 posts

If you want to donate the clothes so you are not burdened with either the excess weight or clothing you no longer want, take the next step and find where YOU can personally donate them in your last destination. Don’t burden hotel staff with that chore. How would you like someone to walk into your place of business and drop off their unwanted clothes, even with a note saying “do what you want with them”?

Posted by
7786 posts

As someone who retired young, I no longer wear sport coats, pants and button down shirts. I wear golf shirts and jeans most of the days--and dress up in khaki pants. I rotate shirts daily and go thru 3 rotations before I get home. My heavily starched pants can be worn a week and they still look okay.

I travel so light that there's no reason to leave clothes behind. And I pack lighter every trip I take. If I cannot make it in a 21" rolling bag, it doesn't go.

And it's said, "They'll never see you again." That's right. But it's possible to look acceptable without wearing designer anything.

Posted by
2 posts

These area excellent points and tapped into what concerned me enough to get some feedback. I will pack comfortable clothes that I will take home with me.
One place we are visiting has Salvation Army drop boxes, but giving up that time when we are only in the city for two days seems silly. (If you calculate home much money your trip costs per waking hour, do you really want to be spending it on finding a drop box?)

Posted by
859 posts

Don't leave your clothes in your hotel room! We have a friend who works at a big hotel chain and he said that if anything is left behind in a room then the housekeeping staff are required to hand it in as lost property and then the hotel tries to contact the guest to reunite them with their belongings.

He said that if any housekeeping staff were caught with a guests belongings it would be treated as theft. No-one knows who wrote the nice note saying "keep it" and so they have a zero tolerance policy for anything left behind in a hotel room.

You are just creating problems for the hotel staff by leaving your things behind.

Posted by
8931 posts

Indeed the room cleaners are there to clean your room, not run errands for you. Their days are long enough as it is.

Posted by
2566 posts

Why would I want to tour in clothes I "find a bit itchy"

I don't get this? I don't want to go out at home looking like a homeless person in throw away clothes. I don't want to go out at home in clothes I don't like or uncomfortable. Why is this suddenly a good idea in Europe?

Posted by
10075 posts

Give clothes you never wear to a charity in your hometown. Why do you think hotel staff in Europe want to deal with your old clothes? Do you think there is more need in Europe than in your town?

Posted by
1198 posts

if you have too many clothes, have a garage sale or donate them to a non profit before you leave home.

Many years back, I had. a very embarrassing and painful experience in Mexico. I learned from it.

I went to San Miguel Allende with a group. I had a pair of very nice shoes that I did not want to take home with me because I did not need them.

I gave them to one of the staff in the hotel and told her that I did not need them. I asked her if she could give them to someone for me or donate them.

She looked at me very unfriendly and coldly but said ok. None of the staff at the hotel spoke to me again. Apparently I had insulted them although that was not my intention.

Fortunately I was leaving that day.

I learned from that experience.

Posted by
168 posts

If they are itchy and uncomfortable at home why would you even consider taking them on vacation? When I go out of town I only wear what I know I love and am comfortable in. Definitely do your closet cleaning at home. Tons of places to donate here. If you were able to afford designer clothes in the first place surely you have the money to buy new for your trip in a color you really love.

Posted by
1683 posts

I've occasionally left clothes behind as I depart, but I always wash them 1st and take them to a charity shop or collection bin. I didn't just leave them for the maids to deal with. I've only done it when I really needed to reduce my luggage coming home because of too many purchases.

Posted by
59 posts

Hi, Elizabeth. You certainly hit the jackpot for replies to your question about leaving clothes behind! I think you were just wanting to be helpful to others; but my advice is to take your things to the local shelter or Goodwill rather than having to wear itchy, uncomfortable things on your trip. We have in our small town a large store that sells just used things, including some nice clothes like what you want to give away. There's probably such a place near where you live.

Posted by
1259 posts

I’ve left behind items that had been destroyed or otherwise no longer useful. Properly binned. Same as I would do at home with hopelessly useless clothing, shoes, outerwear.