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 the same issues. My husband says I have too much explanation. It is their responsibility to read the info sheets I provide. I have two sheets laminated for check in and instructions.
We have a guest (Baltimore)give you a good review, but in the private comments informed us that she and her husband really wanted Cable - although we don't list cable on our listing....we do however, off WI-FI; Hulu, and Netflix though.
Anyway, are you coming all the way to Baltimore to watch Cable - or Vacay and enjoy all that there is to see and do(?)
I guess the positive is, your guest did private message you. This is good so you can evaluate whether the majority of your guests want cable. I also don’t have cable. Only one guest said they would have preferred it but it wasn’t a deal breaker.
You can get Airbnb to remove a stupid review like that.
if you’ve been completely straightforward in the listing, the guest HAS to take some responsibility for reading it or not!
Hi Ive just read through your post and was interested that airbnb invited you to be listed as a Plus. I called airbnb to do this and I was told that I have to have at least 4 properties in order to qualify. Is that right? Many Thanks Jacqui
Wow! that's soooo crazy to have to have a TV to be Plus! So many people want an "unplug" get away!
Need to have a category in the Plus Division for "unplug" getaways!
I believe all vacation rentals should have a TV and if anyone doesn't want to watch it, then they have the option not to turn it on, but at least it's there for the rest who want some entertainment. I don't agree on watching TV all day long but it's their vacation. It takes me a while to fall asleep so watching TV in bed is something I like to do. Just saying.
If it's a small space, then they should have no problem exploring a bit and finding things. Also, your place sounds like the kind of place I wouldn't mind lighting with candles rather lights, heating with a fire, playing a board game instead of watching TV ...
(We have no TV at our place and the only comments have been positive ones)
I agree with the electronic thing, I have found putting the information in a guidebook in the room helpful. I felt good reading one from a home we vacationed in. It answered many questions quickly:)
I tried to post a video on the Airbnb listing site but there are no videos allowed.
It would be great to walk our guests through by video.
My daughter is a host and she created, using Airbnb's Check-in link, a step by step picture instruction from Address location to Self check-in code for building; self chk-in code for Apartment; Wifi passwords; and General instruction for and amentites info. Works out very very well.
She even asks ant the very end - if they'd be kind enough to msg when they are locking up to leave - for Cleaning Srv purposes...(this serves 2 purposes...you actually see when they leave; and for cleaning purpose! Lol)
Really obvious place for you might not be obvious for some guests (it is not you, it is them, but I need to put this inside the parenthesis - don't tell guests I said it :P) And many guests don't read, and often those people are not communicative.
I completely feel you about not adding labels as well.
What about leaving a note under the toilet paper holder, where it would be covered with toilet paper, but they would be able to see it when it is all used.
This idea might help you.
Take a picture of the cupboard.
Edit the picture and add words like towels etc what is in there.
Put this in your welcome booklet with all your other information.
I have done this for my kitchen as people soon forget what you told them.
Hopefully, this is helpful.
Lynne NSW Australia