Do your guests really need three bottle openers? What about all those trinkets on the bathroom vanity? Chances are some of the things you’ve been holding on to are just taking up valuable space. And although clearing clutter may be time-consuming, overwhelming, or even emotional, it can go a long way toward making your space more comfortable for guests and more manageable for you.
Whether you welcome guests in a private room or an entire home, get inspired by these host tips for tidying up.
Even if you don’t take a minimalist approach in your personal life, it’s helpful to embrace one when you host. “I find that the less clutter there is, the more clean and tidy the space looks,” says host Kath from Albany, Australia. And guests care a lot about cleanliness—according to Airbnb data, it’s one of the top reasons for a negative review. Less clutter can also make things easier to clean between stays since there’s less to dust or put away.
Most guests need a place to put some of their clothes, toiletries, and other personal items. So if your own wardrobe has spilled over into the guest’s bedroom, it might be time to let a few things go. “If I haven't used it or worn it in a year or two, it gets chucked,” says host Sarah from Sayulita, Mexico. You may want to free up even more space, especially if you welcome guests for long-term stays like host Jessica from Seoul, South Korea. “I’m sure they’ll have books, souvenirs, family pics, and their own ‘clutter’ of stuff they want to keep on the bedside table or desk or on a shelf,” she says.
Kitchens and bathrooms need to be super functional, and yet they’re often the first areas to accumulate unnecessary items. “I personally don't like it when it looks like everything in the kitchen in the listing is from a jumble sale or stuff that was discarded from elsewhere,” says host Alexandra from Lincoln, California. Think about what guests will really need in those spaces, and remove the rest. Most will appreciate a bottle opener in the kitchen, but they likely won’t need a banana slicer. Conditioner is a nice amenity in the bathroom, but guests probably don’t expect to have four different brands to choose from.
Sometimes, guests leave behind perfectly usable supplies (think plastic bags, canned food, or condiments). You might be tempted to hold on to these, especially if they’re unopened. Keep in mind that guest leftovers can add up and that future guests may not feel comfortable using them. Host Michelle from Chicago only keeps “sealed-as-originally-purchased” food and drink items, like “bottled water, soda, single-use condiments, etc.” Consolidating certain things can also help control the clutter: For example, move extra plastic bags into one dispenser, or combine salt from different containers.
You don’t want guests to miss out on all the wonderful amenities you provide simply because they can’t find them. Host Kelly from Austin, Texas, says to “let the space dictate what is there” and not the other way around: “So, if the shelf can artfully hold five towels, then you should not own six towels.” Go through linens and other supplies regularly, and donate or discard anything that isn’t in great shape. Once you’ve streamlined your amenities, think about the best way to display them. Host Chantal from Yvignac-la-Tour, France, has a guest-dedicated cabinet: “It's got everything from small water bottles to toilet paper … all arranged by shelf and category in separate baskets.”
“Everything in the room should have a purpose with no clutter or unnecessary frills,” says host Kelly from Austin, Texas. “Having said that, it doesn't mean the room shouldn't be stylish or have a lovely, warm, cozy feel.” Of course, there’s no one-size-fits all approach to this—the right balance can depend on your space, property type, and host style. But here are some guidelines to consider:
With these tips in mind, you’ll be on your way to a tidier, more welcoming space guests will love. Happy decluttering!
I have put labels on all the cabinet doors and switch plates to help guests find things and I have received numerous comments that this was appreciated.
One thing that has been of help to myself, and the guests coming from other countries, is translating my amenities and such on a single sheet in their language. Naturally it's off Google translation, and they get a good laugh from that! The guest may say they understand English but I have found that one may understand to a degree, but the other guest probably doesn't. It helps to breach the language barrier that can exist.
You could using a nice fonts framed in each area for Guest i.e.
guests are oblivious
i put notices in the check in routine.
but put spares in the open just like the hyatt.
trust me they will look at it and not see it.
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I have seen labels on the outside of cabinets that were small and decorative. I didn't mind it. Thought it was helpful and then I didn't feel strange opening the drawers to find what I needed
My guests have said they appreciate the little nicely printed notations I've made throughout the bathroom, bedroom and food area to assist them. I think it can feel homey if it's worded in a light, friendly manner. Keep it short and specific.
On the front door, eye level...
Remember to turn on the porch light if you're going to be returning after dark!
Next to the cabinets...
Fire Extinquisher in cupboard below.
Thanks @Airbnb for your contribution.
I was expecting to see those Hosts listings in Plus who have made contributions to your article alas it took me to primarily Chinese Host's listings where I understand there's currently a ban imposed there due to Corona virus by World Health Organization.
It appears as if many of those Plus listings may be the same Host as the apartments tend to look the same style.
Perhaps it would be helpful to include a wider cross section of listings from multiple countries so as to not have one country dominating over others.
Thanks in advance
I have decided that the whole idea of Airbnb Plus, although it may work for some, is a scam...
I have a very unique and stylish 5 star lising, well actually 4 listings outside Portland, Oregon. I also live on site. It's a farm actually... And the idea of listing exclusively with Airbnb to achieve 'Plus' status, is unrealistic.
As a designer, I am rarely inspired by the 'Plus' spaces in the U.S. They all looked staged to me... Nothing very original, unique or special about them... And the nightly rates are way too low to make a profit.
I am a full time professional host. My expenses are HUGE. I spend at least $60. per booking for on flowers, wine, bathroom amenities, etc... And airbnb wants me to lower my rates?
I tried that and got no thanks from guests, so I stopped doing it. Waste of money.
A chalkboard saying welcome (name) is my limit now.
Lower your prices are they kidding. Mine prices are already low.
I am a Superhost and I have put wine/champagne, chocolates etc and have gotten no thank you from most guests. Airbnb are constantly telling me to lower my price and they base me on properties in Ipswich. I am nowhere near Ipswich! Where I live there is a shortage of accommodation too.
Hi Kristin. I am a Plus host, & unless I’ve missed something, you are not required to be listed exclusively with Airbnb. There are some limitations to being a Plus host, but hopefully Airbnb is working these out. I don’t think that I’ve been encouraged to lower my rate, either. In fact, they say you should be able to raise your rate, though so far I haven’t felt that is the case at least with my listing. But sounds like you are doing a great job of taking care of your guests already & I’m sure your rating will speak to the value you offer. So you keep doing you!!