The Ultimate Spring Cleaning Guide (Part 2)

Written by: Dan Weisman

After last week’s Spring Cleaning post, we asked the FlipKey team for their tidying tips, and the most common response was: “Hire a cleaning service!” There are some parts of a spring clean that you will have to do yourself (organizing your belongings and throwing out stuff that you don’t need anymore), but don’t be afraid to call in the professionals when you get to the scrubbing, dusting, and shampooing of a deep clean. It’s no sign of weakness to let the pros handle the serious grime while you focus on getting your rental ready for this season’s guests!

If you are going to take on the challenge independently, here are some tips to keep cleaning under control:

Start at the top
Use gravity to your advantage by starting on the top floor and working your way down. Also, start each room from the top, cleaning ceiling fans, lighting fixtures, and high shelves first. On windows and walls, working top to bottom will help prevent streaking.

Wise window washing
Wash the insides of windows with horizontal strokes and the outside with vertical strokes. When the windows dry, you will be able to tell which side requires further attention based on the direction of the streaks.

Re-purpose products

You’ve always used fabric softener dryer sheets (i.e. Bounce) for the laundry, but did you know that they also dissolve soap scum from shower doors and pick up pet hair off of upholstery? You can also use alka-seltzer or denture cleaner to scrub the insides of containers that are too small for hands.

Take your time
Chances are that cleaning the entire house is going to take a lot of hard work. No one says that you have to get it all done in one day, though. Spread your chores out over a few days, taking some time each day to get away from the house and do something fun. However, once you’ve started a task, don’t allow yourself to get distracted – finish whatever you’re working on before starting something new.

Go outside
Remember to clean up outside as well as inside your home. If you have any outdoor accessories that have been in storage all winter (bikes, boats, lawn/patio furniture), then now is the time to revive them. It’s also a good idea to thoroughly clean out your car while you’re in a the spring cleaning state of mind.

Make your own cleaning solutions
Generally we like to keep cleaning simple, so here are some basic, but effective, cleaning solutions that you can make at home:

  • For walls: Add ½ cup ammonia, ¼ cup white vinegar, and ¼ cup baking soda to 1 gallon of warm water. Use a sponge to wash and dry with a clean cloth or towel.
  • For windows: Add 3 tablespoons ammonia and 1 tablespoon white vinegar to a spray bottle of water. Use newspaper to shine.
  • For the bathroom: Combine ½ cup vinegar, 1 cup ammonia, ¼ cup baking soda & 1 cup warm water to clean the shower and tile. 1/3 cup rubbing alcohol and 1 cup water is great for cleaning mirrors.
  • For wood floors: Mix ½ cup white vinegar with 1 gallon warm water. Ring out the mop before wiping the floor to avoid leaving puddles that can cause damage

Good luck with your spring cleaning!

Please feel welcome to share more tips and stories in the comments below…

Posted in Rental Management, Tips & Tricks | Tagged , , ,

Tips and Tricks for Not Scaring Away Your Guests this Halloween

Written by: Noelle

Before you know it, Halloween will have come and gone, and being named creepiest house on the block will no longer be a compliment. While vacation rentals offer privacy, more space, superior amenities, and better value than most hotels, there are some unique home features that can be off-putting to an unsuspecting guest.

Spider ridden cobwebs, mounted animal heads, and unfamiliar sounds are some of the house features that are likely to scare off visitors, especially once Halloween has passed. Don’t let one small thing spoil an otherwise great property review! Use these tips and tricks to de-spook your home this holiday season:

The Creepy:

“Deer head above fireplace, creepy. I think it stared at me the whole time!…[but] Overall we had a great, relaxing vacation.” –Anonymous vacation rental review

Hanging an occasional hunting trophy on the wall is alright but covering your walls from floor to ceiling with everything from dead rodents to bears could potentially be overkill. When decorating, try to find a balance between giving your property character and creating an environment that might make some of your guests, especially animal lovers, uncomfortable. If your taste does gravitate towards taxidermy inspired décor, post as many pictures of your property and its furnishings as possible to give prospective renters a better idea of what to expect.

The Spooky:

“First night was a little “scary” as you hear every noise echoing about – it’s all wood floors – no carpet – and you hear every pop & creak…[despite the noises] I would stay again & I would recommend this cabin!” –Anonymous vacation rental review

Many older houses will undoubtedly have some creaks and squeaks. Drippy faucets and squeaky door hinges on the other hand are a quick fix with a little help from the plumber and a can of grease. Remember, unfamiliar noises can seem a lot scarier in the middle of the night than they do in the daylight so try to identify and address any strange sounds that could be unsettlingly to a new house guest.

The Scary:

“We checked in late at night, so I think the most difficult part of that was finding which unit was ours, in the dark, without assistance… [However, based on the rest of our stay] We would definitely consider going back!” –Anonymous vacation rental review

While you may not be able to personally welcome your guests upon their arrival, there are still ways for you to make sure that they feel safe and secure while staying in your home. Keep in mind that many guests may be visiting your property for the first time. Prior to their departure, provide directions that are as detailed as possible to avoid any confusion. For houses in more secluded or wooded locations, install motion sensor lights to help guide those arriving late into the night. Don’t forget to check that the locks on all windows and doors are working properly. Finally, if your house has a home security system, make sure to leave clear instructions on how to operate the alarm.

While the creepy, spooky, and scary mentioned above can make some travelers uncomfortable, the good news is that many renters are forgiving as long as they enjoy the rest of their stay. So, in the spirit of Halloween, make your guests feel extra special by leaving them a treat—a candy bowl on the coffee table or a goodie bag filled with local specialty items is always a nice surprise!