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Hotel Living: How to Make the Most Out of Small Spaces

It took the kids and I less than a week after fleeing for safety to realize that our time away from home was not going to be short.  

A fun, vacation-like hotel stay was turning into a cruel reality of our new hotel living circumstances.

Emotions were high.

Having absolutely no control over what was going on with Sunshine's placement to a new residential treatment center (RTC), I turned my attention to trying to make this situation as tolerable as possible for my other kids.  

Minimalism has always been a passion of mine. Hotel living with three kids for who knows how long was going to be the ultimate challenge. It was definitely time to figure out how to make the most out of small spaces.

Hotel Life: Making the Most out of Small Spaces

Hotel Living: How to Make the Most Out of Small Spaces

Due to our financial circumstances, and the reality that we had no idea how long we'd be living in a hotel, staying in a suite with a full kitchen just wasn't feasible.  

We had stayed in such places several times before. They were far more expensive, yet appliances never seemed to work well enough to justify the cost. 

Our best experiences in the past came when we used the tiny hotel microwave and mini fridge.  So that's what we did.

Hotel Living: Food Storage & Food Prep

I ordered a tiny set of shelves from Amazon to store our groceries that didn't need to be refrigerated.  

Loving friends, and sometimes strangers who were aware of our situation, sent us a second set of shelves, and all we needed to prepare and eat food.

Hotel Living: Food Storage and Food Prep

I ordered pot holders and a magnet from the Walmart closest to our hotel. We learned very quickly they were necessary as we were microwaving almost all of our meals.

Dinomite, Bulldozer and Princess were pleased with the set up and happy to know that just like at home, there was always food on hand if they were hungry.

The four of us would meal plan together and place an order from one of the local grocery stores to be delivered to our hotel room about once a week. 

We'd order take out twice a week to make up for items we couldn't store in our refrigerator and for a little variety.

Once we had our food and food preparation needs taken care of, next on our list of things to figure out was how to wash and keep belongings clean.

Hotel Living: Kitchen/Bathroom/Laundry Room

I think the biggest advantage to our hotel room was how big the bathroom counter was and the storage space it provided.

Originally it was filled with the coffee maker, towels, washclothes etc. 

We moved towels to hooks behind the door and on the wall.  

The coffee maker was put away (hidden behind the TV) as I don't drink coffee. 

Washclothes were put in the drawer by my bed for safe keeping so I always had one when I needed one.

Then I worked my magic!

Hotel Living: Kitchen/Bathroom/Laundry Room

The countertop from left to right, stored the kids' toiletry bags, mouthwash, handsoap, Germ-X, bleach solution, dishsoap, drying rack, and toaster.  

Dinomite and Bulldozer don't eat bread unless it's toasted. A toaster did not come with our room, so I did purchase one.  It was a minor splurge I could justify as our toaster at home needed to be replaced as well.

The shelf under the left side of the sink was home to my toiletry items and extra toilet paper.

The shelf under the right side of the sink was where we kept prescriptions and first aid supplies. I put all of the bottles on the tray that is usually home to the ice bucket and extra cups. It worked perfectly when I needed to pull out everyone's meds each day.

Under the sink I kept two laundry baskets that I had picked up at a local Target. One was for lights and one was for darks.  In between the baskets, where the sink pipe was, I stored our laundry detergent.

This set up served us well our entire stay of five weeks.  The small laundry basket worked perfectly for transporting laundry to the laundry facitility on the first floor of the hotel multiple times a week.

Hotel Living: Dining Room

It only took a few days to realize that we NEEDED a table in our hotel room.  I spoke with the hotel manager. She was more than willing to have staff bring us up a table from downstairs with two chairs, but the space wouldn't fit more than that.  

With four of us in the room, we needed four chairs.

Hotel Living: Dining Room

This resulted in us obtaining a folding card table and chairs set.  The kindness of strangers and friends surrounded us.  I literally cried the day we received this table in the mail.

To protect the table from the heat of our microwave meals, I purchased four placemats from the local Walmart.  The table was perfect for tucking away when not in use, and could easily be pulled out when all four of us needed it for meals and games.

Hotel Life: Storage and Organization Ideas

It's fairly easy to arrange a hotel room to accommodate one or two people, but when you're sharing one room and there are four people, storage and organization are a lot harder to come by.  

Surprisingly, we made things work.

Each kid received one drawer under the TV to fit all of their clothing in.  I took the shelf on the top of the closet.  Coats were hung on hangers as well as all of our facemasks. Suitcases were stored in the bottom of the closet.

Hotel Life Storage and Organization Ideas

Once we realized we were going to be living in a hotel for a while, we obtained library cards for the local library where the kids could check out as many books as they wanted.

Because we had no shelf space, we stored these books under the desk on the floor.  The sides of the desk were perfect for keeping the books upright and in place.

School books and materials were stored on the bottom shelf of the nightstand in between both beds.

Wet swim clothes were hung on a drying rack next to the boys' bed.

Hotel Life: Book Storage

The second table that came with the hotel room, under the desk was moved to another location in the room.  Under it we stored a bin of toys and other personal belongings for each kid. On top of it we placed a Christmas tree, as it was November when our tree at home usually goes up.

If we had still been living in a hotel come December, we would have hung stockings off of the front of the table. Gifts would have gone on the table next to the tree.

Hotel Life: Finding Personal Space

When four people live in one room for an extended period of time, it can be very hard to find personal space.  Surprisingly the kids did really well with this.

Princess' bubble was the couch. When she wasn't sleeping next to me, she chose to sleep on the couch. During the day, this was her space to play, write, read, do homework or whatever. 

We added throw pillows gifted to us by others and a blanket to provide a more comfortable and safe space for her.

The boys shared a bed. When one needed space from the other, he would move to the desk, table or bed, depending on where I was.

If we found ourselves struggling to be in the same space, we'd run errands, or go participate in an outdoor activity.  This worked wonders. 

We started a collection of annual passes, so we didn't have to hesitate about finances, when we needed to leave our hotel room.

I can't say that I'd want to live in a hotel for another five weeks any time soon, but I can say that the four of us, my three children and I, grew so close during this time together.  For that reason, despite the circumstancs I cherish this experience.

Making the most out of small spaces while living in a hotel went a LONG way to help them feel okay during one of the most traumatic experiences of their lives. 

Now that we've been successful at hotel living, I now know that any time we go on a vacation, we can really make the most of any room, to make it feel more like home.

If you enjoyed this post, you may also enjoy the posts below.
A Minimalist Montessori Home Tour: The Kitchen A Minimalist Montessori Home Tour: The Dining Room A Minimalist Montessori Home Tour: The Living Room

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