Written by: Dan Weisman
It’s the most wonderful time of the year. No, there’s no time warp bringing us back to December holiday celebrations. I’m talking about spring: longer days, warmer weather, and the ancient ritual of spring cleaning. If you own a vacation rental, then early April is a key time for revitalizing your home in preparation for the summer rental season (or for recovering from the winter rental season).
The annual rite of brooms, buckets, and bathroom cleaners can be daunting. But have no fear. If you approach spring cleaning with a good attitude and a strong action plan, then you can not only improve the look and feel of your property, but you can also make future cleaning easier and more productive. To get you started on the right foot, FlipKey presents the following spring cleaning strategy session…
1. Make a Plan
Take charge of your cleaning strategy by planning in advance. Take a walk through your house and make a checklist of everything that needs to be cleaned, put away, replaced, and repaired. Then, determine the supplies you will need and the best order in which to take on your cleaning tasks. Planning in advance will save you time and headaches later.
Tip: You can go out and buy green cleaning supplies or you can make your own. For example, did you know that a mixture of 50% water and 50% alcohol makes a great cleaner for stainless steel, chrome, and glass surfaces?
2. Trash the Place
Don’t be afraid to make a mess when you start cleaning. Start by going through the closets, cabinets, and drawers in every room to clear out the clutter. Sort your findings into items to keep out, items to put into storage, and items to get rid of. Disposing of things that you no longer use can really open up a crowded room. Just remember to think twice before throwing anything away – unwanted clothes and other household items can often be donated to the charity of your choice (with a receipt, these donations could even be written off your taxes against your vacation rental income).
Tip: Spring is great opportunity to reach out to past guests. Send an email that shows off how great their vacation spot looks, and remind them to book early if they’re coming back. Also, consider including a “Lost & Found” section of items that have turned up over the last few months.
3. Keep it Clean
Now that you’ve taken stock of the situation, it’s time to get to cleaning. Before you put items back in place, be sure to clean up. Shelves and cabinets are easier to clean when empty, so wipe down storage spaces before you replace their contents.
Similarly, it’s always a good idea to clean items before you put them in storage. For example, if you are going to store winter clothes and linens, then make sure to put them through the laundry before packing them away. Then, pack them in plastic containers in order to keep them smelling fresh. Storing clean items will make later unpacking easier.
Tip: Wait until your clean linens are completely dry before putting them in storage for the season, and consider storing them in vacuum-sealed bags to keep out moisture and so that they don’t take on the musty characteristics of the storage closet.
4. Write Where You Want It
In your primary home, you can probably find a nail clipper or a new roll of toilet paper with your eyes closed. In your vacation rental, not only do you need to maintain higher degrees of organization, but also you need to let your guests know where they can find supplies (ok, they should bring their own nail clippers). Take an inventory of things like towels, toilet paper, and spare light bulbs, and write down where you keep them. You can then pass this information on to guests so that supplies can be found, and returned, to their proper place.
Tip: Consider keeping track of your belongings on a computer file to make updating and sharing with guests easier. If you put items into storage regularly, then you may consider purchasing a label maker to help keep things neat and organized.
5. Lights out
Check all the lighting fixtures in the house for dead bulbs and faulty wiring. Spring is as good a time as any to make sure that your guests won’t be left in the dark. Make sure you keep spare bulbs of appropriate sizes in an obvious place in case a guest needs to replace a bulb. Also be sure to dispose of light bulbs properly; like batteries, many types of lighting cannot be thrown out with the rest of the garbage. Contact your local waste services provider for details.
Tip: If you need to replace any bulbs, try using compact fluorescent bulbs – they last longer than incandescent lamps and use less power.
Check out the our next post for more spring cleaning tips!
Have some great cleaning techniques or tricks of the trade? Share them in the comments…