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!
Thank you for this post.
We have an Airbnb rental that is used full time for guests. We are struggling with both having the space be completely clutter-free and guests being able to find amenities.
We keep items like extra rolls of TP, additional towels, and so on tucked away in cabinets. In our welcome book, we let guests know where things are and our welcome email encourages guests to reach out if they can't find things. However, we've had a few guests leave 4-star reviews lately because they perceived amenities to be missing. The amenities were on the property - they just didn't know where to look and didn't ask for help.
Do you have any tips on what else we could do to clue guests into finding things when they are stored in really obvious places? We've thought about adding labels to the outside of cabinets but that doesn't feel stylish or cozy... it feels institutional.
why not try a pre record video walk through..or a video call upon their arrival provide earphone though.. is the small things of warmth that make us different in a good way.. make it entertaining.. make a video.. a great welcome already win half of the battle.. the rest is made them feel ok..
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