Managing Your Vacation Rental

The Problem with Clutter

Written by Elizabeth Weedon
5/5 - (8 votes)

Definitions for the word “clutter” include mess, litter, untidiness, disorder, confusion, and chaos.  Is this the environment that you’d like to provide for your guests’ relaxation?

The consistent feedback we receive in our vacationer surveys and from reading thousands of guest reviews from vacationers indicate that they overwhelmingly prefer a relatively stripped-down, clutter-free home.  A home with a more hotel-like décor allows them to relax without worry that kids will inadvertently break or misplace a knick-knack. They can unpack without being concerned about inter-mingling their possessions with yours.  And when they leave, they can more easily notice if they have left something behind.

If you have any personal effects (photos, for example), be sure to remove them. Remember that for the time that vacationers are in your home, it is essentially theirs. If, over time, your home has accumulated too many personal or even unnecessary items, put them into storage until you reclaim your home. It’s safer for your possessions and preferable to your guests.

It’s important to address clutter that is unseen as well as visible.  Make sure your kitchen cabinets, for example, as well as closets, dressers, etc., are completely clear and available for your guests’ use.  Thin out crammed bookshelves.  It’s fine to have an owner’s closet and a shed to store your own possessions, but they should be locked and specifically mentioned as “not for tenant use” in your lease.

Some of the listings on our site are very high-end, professionally decorated homes with original artwork and objets d’art. Unfortunately, beautiful as these homes are, they don’t provide an informal and relaxing home for vacationers to enjoy – especially if they have kids.  In some cases, there is hardly a free, unencumbered surface, preventing guests from even having a safe place to put their own cell phones, sun glasses, or other personal effects.

Don’t get me wrong, providing some color and beachy accents is wonderful! It subtly conveys an attractive vacation-like atmosphere that will be inviting and effective in your marketing photos and welcoming upon your guests’ arrivals. Just don’t overdo it!  Leave plenty of room for their stuff!

So before you take or update your photos, be sure to remove as much clutter as possible, and provide your guests with a tasteful but almost sparsely-decorated home.


About the author

Elizabeth Weedon

Elizabeth Weedon - Although I’ve worked for since 2008, I’ve been a loyal homeowner on the site since early 1998, just a few months after the website was launched by the Talmadges. I grew up summering on the Vineyard and managed my family's rental home there since the mid-1980’s. I’m passionately devoted to the Vineyard – and to WeNeedaVacation, which I credit with enabling me to hold onto the special property that has been in our family for nearly a century. An enthusiastic member of the WNAV Homeowner Support Team, I endeavor to keep my finger on the pulse of the Cape and Islands vacation rental industry so that I can provide homeowners advice about how to ensure their booking success with us. With owner Joan Talmadge, I am also responsible for editing and writing much of the text on our website, our monthly newsletters, and Homeowner Blog posts.