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To Express Gratitude, Put the Do-Not-Disturb Sign Back Where It Belongs

When I check into a hotel room (something I do 100+ times a year), I immediately put the do-not-disturb sign on the door. I don’t want to be bothered while working or napping, and unless it’s a really nice hotel, I don’t care about turndown service.

Over the years I’ve tried to follow a routine when unpacking. The short version is: everything belongs in one or two places. A few things by the bed, a few things in the bathroom, and a few things on the desk. I try not to spread out, because that makes repacking difficult and I’m more inclined to leave something behind.

I don’t clean the room before I depart (one benefit of hotels is that someone else that), but I’ve developed a new ritual. Upon walking out with my bags and heading downstairs for check-out, I take a moment to replace the do-not-disturb sign back on the inside door handle.

This takes a few seconds, because I have my bags in one hand and I’m holding the door with the other. My natural inclination, and what I used to do, was to just take off the sign and drop it on the floor. Much easier.

Leaving it on the floor, however, would leave one extra task for whoever cleans the room. It’s no big deal, I suppose, but I check out of a lot of hotels. The cleaning staff attend to a lot of rooms. Some people are messier than others, and I think it’s an established fact that most housekeepers already work pretty hard.

So I figure if I do this one thing, and do it consciously, then it matters—maybe not to the housekeepers, who wouldn’t know otherwise, but to me. Selfish as I can be, this small action helps me to be mindful of unseen others in my life.


Also see: Be Nice to the Cleaners

Image: Quinnaya