Tags: Guest Blog

By Janis Fisher Chan

Over 20 years of traveling, we’ve stayed in short-term rentals that were beautifully furnished and sparkling clean. But we’ve also stayed in places that were so cluttered we couldn’t even unpack, or so uncared for that we had to scour everything before we could settle in. The worst was the spacious floor-through flat in New York’s Upper West Side where every shelf and closet was crammed with the host’s things – she’d even stored her shoes under the kitchen sink – and there was an inch of scum around the tub.

It takes some work to make your home safe and comfortable for your guests. Here are the 3 most important tasks to complete before guests arrive.

Task #1. Fix anything that could be dangerous

Take a walk around your home. See any broken stair treads or electric wires that snake across the floor? How about carpets that slip when you walk on them? Smoke alarms that need new batteries? Chairs that tend to collapse without warning? Door handles that fall off in your hand?You might have grown so use to those kinds of hazards that you hardly notice them. But they can pose a danger to your guests. Set aside time to fix them before guests arrive.  

Task #2. Clear Away Excess Clutter and Make Room for Guests’ Things

I don’t know about you, but stuff seems to proliferate when my back is turned. Renting out your home gives you the chance to cull the stacks of old magazines and catalogues you mean to read someday, get rid of almost-empty shampoo bottles and cereal boxes, and clear away some of the bric-a-brac that makes it impossible to put things down on the shelves. Once you’ve done that, make some room for guests’ clothes and personal items in closets and drawers and on bathroom counters. If you’re short on space, tuck some of your own things away in those big plastic containers they sell at Target.

Task #3. Scour everything so it’s sparkling

If guests want nothing else from you, they want their short-term rental to be clean. Before you hand over the keys, scour everything so it’s clean enough for a visit from your mother.  


Janis Fisher Chan is a writer and passionate traveler who recently launched
TravelontheHouse.com to share information, tips, and advice about home exchange and short-term rentals. You can reach her at janis@travelonthehouse.com.