“Oh, I could never!” wince…shudder. That’s the response that often comes to mind when one thinks of hosting an Airbnb. It’s difficult to envision a stranger sleeping in your bed or in your Home. I think people forget that often the strangers they once hosted are the friends they have today. Or, that they’ve slept in someone else’s bed lots of times before in a “hotel.”
I always want things to be as perfect as possible – not the sort of person who would open her Home to forty-nine Airbnb guests. But, as I was building Inleit, I had a tight budget – and I love to travel. I could either be an Airbnb host or stay Home. Travel is important to me so, I decided to change my mindset about the space that I deemed “mine” and become an Airbnb host.
To put my uber perfectionist mind at ease, I came up with a simple routine for preparing my house for guests and reclaiming my Home after the guests are gone. Here’s what I did:
Preparing my Home
- Identify one closet to hold items that you would like to keep secure. Replace the handle with one that can be locked.
- Move all checkbooks and personal information into a safe location off the property or, in a locked drawer or safe on the property.
- Take an inventory and photographs of your Home before each stay. Pay special attention to bookshelves and areas with lots of knick-knacks.
- Purchase 2 fire extinguishers for guest use in an emergency. Keep one under the kitchen sink and the other in the linen closet. Let guests know where they are.
- Install carbon monoxide detectors within 15 ft of all bedrooms.
- Replace your front deadbolt with a keypad deadbolt to minimize the concern that someone has a key to your Home. You can change the keypad deadbolt code upon your return after each guest.
- Place labels on the items in your kitchen that need handwashing.
- Purchase a bulk set of white towels and washcloths for guests. White towels can easily be bleached and sanitized after each stay.
- Purchase an additional set of sheets for guest use.
- Purchase additional comforters that can be washed. I prefer a hypo-allergenic white comforter, they are universal, comfortable, and easy to maintain.
- Provide a list of expectations for checkout cleaning (i.e. take out the trash, strip the beds). Download my house manual here.
- After guests have checked in, send this message to help set expectations, “I’m excited to have you! Nearly every guest, has taken great care of my Home and treated it as their own. I’m certain that you won’t be the exception. Thank you again for staying and enjoy your trip!”
Reclaiming my Home
I would hold my breath as I unlocked the door to my Home after every Airbnb guest. My worries quickly dissipated as most travelers took better care of the house than I would have. Only two of the forty-nine guests were less than cleanly. The following routine took about an hour and helped me to reclaim my space.
- Wash the sheets and comforters.
- Spray Lysol around the toilets, seats and shower curtains.
- Wipe down the kitchen countertops.
- Vacuum the couch (something about vacuum lines in things makes me happy).
- Wipe down the bathroom sinks and countertops with Clorox wipes.
- Sweep floors and vacuum carpets (see Item 4).
So there you have it, by proactively taking care of safety and cleanliness for your guests, you can reclaim your Home in about an hour once you return. You’ve provided an intimate setting where guests truly felt at Home. And maybe they’ve enjoyed your space as much as you’ve enjoyed your travels.