The sharing economy has grown enormously in the last few years, whether it’s sharing cars, houses, workspaces or other assets. Sharing your home with tourists has become a popular way to make some extra cash, and there are plenty of websites that facilitate this type of activity. If you’re lucky enough to be living near a tourist hotspot, you could give it a try.

One difficulty that arises from temporarily renting your home (or a room in it) is keeping your house organized and ready to receive guests pretty much all the time. You can achieve your goal by reducing the amount of clutter in your home, storing away non-essential items, and streamlining your kitchen and bathrooms.

Declutter Your Home before Booking Any Visits

Hosting strangers in your personal space might sound challenging at first, but it can be truly rewarding, and not only financially. You’ll also get to meet new people and learn new things along the way. To reduce the amount of stress and to maintain a sense of intimacy, make some simple, yet effective home adjustments.

Since you need to clear at least a few drawers for the guests, now is the moment to sort through your belongings. It’s simply easier to keep some drawers empty at all times instead of scrambling around to make room each time someone is coming to stay at your place.

A self-storage unit is very useful during this process, especially if your home is in a metro where living space is a hot commodity. Renting a self-storage unit in New York City, for example, will cost you about $172 per month for a standard 10X10 one, and you can store off-season clothing, sporting equipment, books, and much more in there. It’s also a good idea to put things into storage that you want to keep private, for example papers, family heirlooms or other items.

Aim for an Airy, Spacious Interior

Having books, magazines, and knick-knacks lying around will make your interior appear stuffy and uninviting. Keep to hand only those items that are true assets: a few well-chosen decorations, a couple of nice books on the coffee table, some cute pillows. You don’t want your home to look impersonal, but it should not appear to be a mess either.

Pay extra attention to the bathroom. If your home has two bathrooms, set up the small one for the guests and keep it mainly for that purpose. If you only have one bathroom, make sure it’s in good condition and you can get it guest-ready in no time. Set up enough storage space to always maintain a clutter-free bathroom counter, shower and bathtub.

The kitchen also requires some care. Go through all your cabinets and discard expired condiments and mismatched or damaged dishes, glasses, cups and cutlery. You probably have a junk drawer in there – let’s be honest, who doesn’t? Now is your chance to re-purpose it!

Maintain Your Privacy While Renting Out Your Home

People deal differently with hosting paying guests. Extrovert personalities thrive when meeting new people, while for the introverts this part is a little bit more challenging. Keep in mind that you can still safeguard your privacy.

When renting out your entire home for short periods of time, keep one room locked and out of reach for the guests. Put in there all the stuff you don’t want other people to see – personal photos, medication and anything else you would rather keep to yourself.

Don’t forget about moving important and expensive items into your self-storage unit. Most tourists are probably going to be lovely people, but it’s better to be safe than sorry. When on holiday, people tend to party a lot, or they forget to lock the doors – you certainly don’t want your most prized possessions damaged.

Maybe you decided to rent your spare bedroom while still living in the house. Make sure the doors to all the bedrooms lock properly, to ensure privacy for both you and your guests. Set up a system that allows everyone to see if the bathroom is occupied – use a funny two-sided door sign, for example.

Don’t leave personal things, including letters, journals, photos, pieces of clothing and so on lying around in the common spaces. Keep all that in your bedroom. Set up a schedule for using the kitchen, and make sure that there is at least one free shelf in the fridge for the guests.

Be very clear, right from the start, about the parts of the house that are accessible to guests and the parts that are not. Set up boundaries about the activities allowed at your place for the duration of the stay. And don’t forget to make the most out of this experience!


Maria Gatea is a real estate and lifestyle editor for Yardi with a background in Journalism and Communication. After covering business and finance-related topics as a freelance writer for 15 years, she is now focusing on researching and writing about the real estate industry. You may contact Maria via email.

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