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..
I am really struggling with all the the emphasis put on having everything electronic...
I have a very rural retreat property with limited internet and cellphone coverage.
My guests love the remoteness and feeling of escape.
I think it is the responsibility of the guests to look for the obvious!!!
I have a cottage in rural Wales, UK, and as we are under the mountains I also have limited internet and cellphone coverage. Unfortunately, most of my guests particularly those with children, perceive this lack of coverage as a negative. I wish they would share the "escape"!!
I have the same here in Australia. If guests read my home description, they will see that there is no air conditioning, no microwave. The home is natural, healthful, fresh aired, and restful. So just check your listing to be sure you have painted a clear picture of what you offer. Happy Hosting!
Absolutely! In my inquiry and confirmation messages, I stress reading the entire listing, and ask (not required) for confirmation that they’ve read it.
Being completely specific has saved me a lot of headaches!
Same here! I let guests now that it is "country wi-fi" and most people are fine. We have no TV, but so far only one guest out of hundreds have dinged us for that.
What really gets though is that we were invited by Airbnb to apply to have our place listed as a Plus listing... but to be listed as a Plus... you have to have a TV!! Whah....?? The whole beauty of our place is escaping from TV. Sigh.
And same here! We are situated in a valley between mountains in a rural area. No cell service and no WiFi. We try to promote it as an advantage but we have to list it like it’s a disadvantage...a place to escape is what we offer too. We try to be clear in our
listings but find that most folks don’t read everything, and yes we had a recent ding on our rating. They were mainly upset that it rained their whole stay and said WiFi would have been nice, ugh.
We too were invited to be listed as a Plus listing but without WiFi we don’t qualify...double sigh.
It really amazes me how little people read. I just got dinged on the fact that it wasn't clear that the house owners live upstairs. Since it is listed as a basement apartment, wouldn't people expect that the upper floors were not vacant? I have met a lot of wonderful people but some are so quick to be critical that they just don't use the brains they were born with. That being said, I am going to recheck the wording on my listing and make sure that it is clear.
I agree that some are very careless in their reading. After a booking occurs, and about a week before they check in, I send them a friendly message saying I'm preparing the house for their stay and that I'm confirming the following
** the number of people
** time of check in/ time of check out.
and that they understand that:
** no pets on the property inside or out
*** no outside guests allowed
*** the hosts living quarters are located adjacent to the garage and kitchen.
In other words, whatever is most important to me and have caused the most misunderstandings (because they didn't read the info carefully) I present it to them just a few days before check in to confirm that they understand.
Yes, I do that too. I send an email re-iterating all that is in the description of the house as I find that people don't read the description and details.
But then, they don't read my email so it is loose loose !
And very frustrating.
We are fairly new Airbnb hosts in the UK and so far we have found that 4 lots of guests have said in the "guest" to fill section, just one, (1) then below it is obvious that there are more than one. The pre arrival email from Airbnb is too late to tell them. A better way would be in the original request to stay, would be to have "Number of guests staying in property" rather than just "guests"
On one occasion the "booker" was very angry when I told her of my problem as three guests turned up (the "booker" and two others) all for different bedrooms and consequent higher cleaning & laundry costs
Yes, many people when searching for a stay don’t change the guest # box from 1 person - as it’s just a search and then forget to change it when booking. I almost always ask to confirm the number of people coming. One inquiry went from 1 to actually 4 people which is above my allowable amount.