A great reason to declutter and organize your home is the possibility of leveraging it to rent or share or swap. Seeing your home through the eyes of guests can motivate you to pare down essential areas, streamline your own living style and in the process and create a more attractive place to live!
House swapping (HomeExchange) is a great way to eliminate lodging cost from a vacation. Short term rentals (AirBnB, VRBO) are a great way for empty nesters to earn some extra income. It can take a lot to get your space prepared to share – even partially – but comes with the added bonus of giving your home a refreshing makeover to make it more livable for you…and your family and friends.
Imagine someone walking into your home and saying, “What a nice place to stay!” You can achieve this effect without turning your house into a hotel. A few improvements can make a huge difference…and inspire you to do more. Here are 3 strategies to make this happen:
1 – Simplify, Simplify, Simplify
On visible surfaces — in the kitchen, the bathroom and the bedroom — clear out everything but the basics
- Excess products put away or discarded
- Clear the nightstand of dusty books and paraphernalia
- Simplify the décor
- Develop systems for managing laundry
- Take care of any outstanding repairs that create safety issues
There’s quite a range from being very clean, neat, usable, but looking very lived in to making it look more like a hotel…very sparse. It doesn’t have to be perfect, but usable. If you are renting you can charge more for a more hotel-like environment.
2 – Create Space for Overflow and Personal Items
- Make the house easily transformable to reduce the hassle of preparing to share. When you want to make it “guest ready” for yourself, for a relative coming to stay, for a party, or for a short term rental or house swap.
- Make space in a closet or part of a room where you can secure your personal or valuable items for things you would put away when someone is using your space. You can even dedicate an extra room for this purpose and have a locking door.
- Make space in cabinets or closets to store overflow items neatly but out of the way.
3 – Making Key Supplies and Info Accessible
- Prepare an “Welcome to Our Home” cheat sheet with key emergency contacts, and basic instructions for things like TV use, internet access, and trash/recycling.
- Make sure you have clean towels and sheets available and visible
- Consider stocking the kitchen with a few basics such as coffee/tea to make guests comfortable
If you’re considering doing short term rentals, there are other considerations re supplies that renters might expect. Places like AirBNB provide convenient list of things you should have stocked in your home
Not sure where to start? An organizing assessment with a Professional Organizer can provide you a punch list of things you could do, give you advice on the viability of sharing and also give you tips on what to tackle first.
Filed under Decluttering, downsizing, Empty Nest, General Organizing, home organizing, Kitchen, Living Room, Memorabilia, middle-age, organizing, Perspective, Strategies
We’ve asked our design colleague, Rachelle Padgett of Synthesis Interiors and Color to share some tips. We hope you enjoy them as much as us!
Just like a doctor gains critical information using a microscope, an Interior Designer uses visual cues to assess the impact of what you may think is insignificant. We can take what seems small and make it grand in importance (“Your fluorescent overhead lights make this space feel like an operating room, which is why you don’t want to spend time in here.”) and we can turn what feels like an overwhelming prospect (“Our house is too small and we have to move!”) into a manageable project (“Your furniture is too big for the size of the room, and you need more efficient storage.”) While nothing quite substitutes for having a designer into your home, there are plenty of changes can you make yourself that will have a big impact, without breaking the bank.
- Get organized. Congratulations! Since you are already reading this blog, you are in excellent hands, and well on your way! Frequently on an initial appointment, a client will tell me they need more space, more storage, more something. Many times, my response is that I feel they actually need less. I give them homework of de-cluttering, after which we can re-assess their needs for that particular area. Sometimes this approach can save people money, if it turns out their current storage is sufficient once they’ve donated long-forgotten clothing and recycled all those old college essays!
- Repurpose. Revamp. The list of “re-” can go on and on! Have an old tripod you never use? Have it wired by a local shop into a lamp. A table you like that’s seen better days? Refinish it! An heirloom sofa from your Great Aunt Ida that’s in perfect condition, but doesn’t suit your taste? Reupholster! Pinterest is an amazing resource for DIY project ideas.
- Lighten up! Time and again, I’ll go to a friend’s house for dinner, and we sit down to a gorgeous meal under a single, glaring, overhead light. I’ve been known to covertly borrow bedside table lamps and set them up in the dining room while the host is still cooking! The powerful psychological and emotional impact of lighting cannot be underestimated. Think about how good you feel in the fading, early evening light of late summer, or how pretty candlelight makes you look.
Clean your light fixtures. Dust and dead bugs accumulate quickly and can dramatically decrease a fixture’s illumination.
Change your lightbulbs. I prefer these warm, dimmable LED alternatives to an incandescent 60W. Not only are they super energy efficient, they have a pleasant color temperature.
Put everything on a dimmer. Yes, everything. Even the bathroom. Try these from Lutron. They are easy to install with just a screwdriver.
- Paint. It’s the cheapest and easiest way to make a huge change! What colors make you happy? For cues, go to your closet and pull out what you wear and love the most. Look around at your art and your favorite things. Go outside. Thumb through National Geographic. Color inspiration is everywhere!
- Decorate with fabric. A beautiful textile can cover up a multitude of sins, and is one of the most affordable and easiest art objects to bring home from travels abroad. Etsy and Ebay have great deals, too. Don’t be bound by the description on the tag. Fabric is fabric. A handwoven Mexican tablecloth folded in half can offer fantastic color, pattern and texture to the end of a bed or the back of a shabby sofa. A table runner can serve as a wall hanging in an awkwardly narrow space. Embroidered or hand-painted napkins can be laid on the diagonal over a dresser, creating a perfect spot to rest delicate jewelry while protecting the wood.
I know good design isn’t just about making things look pretty (though, of course, that doesn’t hurt) but about having a sometimes profound impact on your well-being; from health and happiness to rest and productivity. Make a few changes in your home, and see what happens!