Expectations around Personal Belongings (not concerned about theft or snooping)

Level 1
Edinburgh, United Kingdom

Expectations around Personal Belongings (not concerned about theft or snooping)

I've seen this topic discussed here, but about slightly different concerns than my own. So: I've spent most of my adult life in Airbnbs, so I have a pretty good sense of the norms. We are now beginning to list our house and have some bookings. However, we do actually live here and have lots of personal belongings - too many to pack up and stow every time we rent the place out. I have made it clear in the listing that this is the case, and that those who (understandably!) prefer a more hotel-like feel should probably book a different place. 


But, I'm still not sure of the standards here. I am not concerned about theft, snooping, etc. I know this is the main concern for most, but for us it's just not a big issue. My question is more about what level of feeling "lived in" is ok. The house will be professionally cleaned beforehand, and we'll have drawers/shelves available for guests to use, but what about the other stuff? (Examples: toiletries, makeup, photos, food in the cupboards that we're fine with them eating.)



5 Replies 5
Level 8
Hardys Bay, Australia

I have homestay guests. My crystal is locked in a display cabinet. There is a separate fridge. The wardrobe in their bedroom is empty. Toiletries are in the vanity. They use our crockery, cutlery etc. Our bedroom is out of bounds. Works fine. 

Hi, i've stayed in a range of properties over the years and a long time host. I think it was ok some time ago, but I think expectations especially in developed world countries have changed/developed and people don't want to see or use your personal stuff. And COVID and hygiene has also changed how people feel about opened items as well. My brother in law has tried to do what you do and it was not successful for all the reasons listed below. 


I think you will lose out on bookings (good that you make it clear on your listing) so its a choice you make ultimately. There isn't a tick box option on an airbnb listing for guests to filter out properties in your scenario so some people still might book not realising. And some guests might still rate you down even if you do make it clear.


So as a long time host, here are my suggestions:


Lets talk about fridge. Tomato and bbq sauce bottles labelled with my property are ok as  guests will understand thats common use (but many still use their own). If you don't label for example, on the opposite scale, guests will think they can take it away with them. I kept losing sauce bottles until i labelled them. So anything you leave in your fridge with either be fair game to be taken or not used at all, and gets in the way. A fridge filled with other people's stuff is a complete turn off. And it means the fridge probably won't be spotless. You might get rated down on cleanliness as a result. If you want the benefits of the income, then I think you need to setup another small fridge for your own stuff to lock away. 


Makeup, toiletries etc, absolutely pack away in some easy to move caddys. Bathrooms need to be clean and tidy. Same reason as above. It means it won't be as clean if you aren't packing them away and no really wants to use someone else's makeup.


Pantry items less of a concern. They will be grateful and think its for them. Photos don't matter so much but some guests might turn them face down. What about clothes in drawers and wardrobes? Surely you are packing them away somewhere?


I just don't think you can have your cake and eat it too, unless you are willing to sacrifice something in your rating reviews and that will affect how many bookings you get as a result. Otherwise you need to make the effort to do the clear out of your personal items.


Just my 2 cents worth

Kind regs Mary

Level 2
St Andrews, United Kingdom

Hi @Sarah6019, I have the same concerns as you-- we don't mind people using our stuff, but don't want them to feel like the space isn't theirs. For us, since most people only book for 1-3 nights, we've cleared out a few cupboards/drawers and left our stuff in the others (as neatly as possible). We've also tied a few cupboards shut with ribbon so guests know it's not for their use.


I took a quick look at your listing and the house looks amazing! It does seem quite expensive, though. With the extra fees, it's coming up as £900 a night, while similar properties seem to be more like £300-600. I've personally found that to get bookings for our primary home, the best way is to undercut the competition. It helps that we're in a very popular tourist town, so I've priced us a bit lower than average (£150 rather than £200), and we've got a decent number of bookings this summer.


Personally, I'd be happy to stay in someone's primary home (especially one as beautiful as yours!) but I would expect it to be cheaper than comparable stays. 

Level 10
Helena-West Helena, AR

Our rental space is left without our personal items. It can get confusing if they open a drawer or cupboard and there are personal items left behind..opened cosmetics, toiletries, etc. Remove those items and leave the guests with a streamlined, clean aura 🙂 They are more comfortable with empty drawers to use. Guests need to feel the space has fully be cleaned/dusted, ready for them. Leftovers don't really belong in that sort of atmosphere. If you live there, how are you renting those same rooms out ?


Community Manager
Community Manager
Port Moody, Canada

Hello @Sarah6019, welcome to the Airbnb Community Center, and thank you for introducing this interesting topic to our community.


Have you had the chance to read the suggestions from our Hosts? Let us know which one you find most useful.


Best regards.



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