What really happens when you rent your home out with Airbnb? Queue very funny story by Ailsa who has sent in this guest post!
When my husband announced he had been researching about Airbnb and that it seemed a perfect way to supplement our holidays and get someone to house/pet-sit, I agreed. Simply because I assumed he would never get round to putting the house details onto the website and going through the registration process.
Process clearly very simple. Register with site. Upload description of house and photos and nearby activities. Check that there is insurance cover.
By some miracle this all happened very swiftly. Following on from this, I didn’t worry too much as assumed we wouldn’t get any bookings. However, within days of putting the house on we had an interested party. And only 4 weeks until we were going away to see family in Somerset. Complete random strangers wanted to sleep in my filthy house full of junk. Admittedly it’s very, very pretty – on the outside. [You can see the house here!]
So, of course he declares that it won’t be much trouble as ‘we’ will do it all together.
Bare in mind that we had 3 kids in 15 months and I am yet to declutter the vast amount of stuff that we/ they have accumulated in the last 6 years. Also please be aware that although very organised on paper, I am not a tidy person. Hence the huge anxiety and total panic.
I read an article about zero waste and promptly purchase a book about decluttering. You go about your house room by room. The kitchen takes me a WEEK but the cleaner remarks how much easier it is to tidy up when there is half the stuff around. This accelerates the process.
For the first visit the priorities are the kitchen and the kids rooms. We declutter bin bags of stuff to charity shops, clothing recycling and pass on boxes of toys and clothes to neighbours and to the school and Cubs for jumble.
Our extensive collection of 5 wheelie bins are filled to the max each week (we inherited 3 and somehow got additional ones for the 21-a-day nappy habit we had and the need to recycle a million medical journals a week due to us being doctors. The council never removed them).
I fill so many clothing recycling bins I have to keep moving to different supermarket car parks. Friends mention they see identical objects in charity shop windows that I own and have on display (had).
I have to purchase new bed linen as all ours is full of holes and the towels I use to mop the flooded washing machine are really not up to standard. Even the mother in law brings her own from Newcastle on the train as mine are so grim.
All these purchases are somehow acceptable as they will be paid back in full by this new rental income. I spend twice as much as we will earn.
I find a dead pigeon up a chimney and a calcified mouse in a toy bucket but manage to get the house to a vaguely acceptable level.
We manage to get an instruction sheet laminated as the house comes with the added bonus of three cats( 2 fairly mental ) and multiple menopausal chickens who sleep in trees and lay eggs in holly bushes. Most important emergency phone number is my friend Jeanette – in case of unexpected animal death please call this number to arrange a funeral.
Our friends are very curious and think the venture foolish and amusing. They are convinced that a party of 20 teenagers will descend, throw a rave, destroy our house and steal everything we own.
In reality we have little of value except replaceable electronics as three small children have demolished most ornamental and precious items already.
I don’t hide anything of sentimental value as assume if somebody want to steal everything they will make less mess if it is on display.
I make numerous to-do lists: must vacuum treadmill, sweep shed, polish chickens and remove all poo remains from chicken coop. Cats must be defleaed as God forbid we get no stars because somebody sees a flea.
Shower drains and dishwasher drains must be cleared and dodgy sewage outlet must be cleared at least 3 X in week before departure for fear of a sewage explosion while the guests are in situ.
Husband only concerned about invisible cobwebs that nobody else can see and spends hours with a duster marking the paintwork on the spider eradication mission.
Rewash bed linen a few days prior to arrival of renters just in case they think it hasn’t been washed. Purchase lots of smelly stick things as become convinced there is an odd damp smell in the spare room.
Renters arrive and seem lovely. Small child gets stung by nettles within minutes of arrival. Apparently not all children are aware that nettles sting. Husband has to clear said nettles in manly fashion with spade after I tell him where the spade lives.
We go on holiday. I am torn between being worried my house is being robbed and that they think my house is a messy compost heap. I have friends drive round daily to ensure there is not a removal Lorry on the driveway.
There is a moment of panic when I realise we don’t actually know how we get paid for their visit.
And then money appears in our account and a positive text communication and review and we have successfully rented out our house and made some money while on our holidays.
Each subsequent rental venture becomes slightly easier. The house has less stuff and so takes less time to organise. We gain confidence with each positive review we receive. We accumulate less stuff as a result of not wanting to declutter more! We get lots of little things done in the house that we have been putting off as they were not that important before. Pictures are hung, broken locks and benches mended, wobbly shelving fixed and carpets are laid. I get to make little purchases using ‘but it will be good for the renters ‘ as the best excuse ever.
Overall, I am reluctant to admit, taking the leap of faith and going with Airbnb has been a decluttering mission, and a funds accumulator that means you can justify the little treat that make a family holiday extra special.
NB: This post has not been created in collaboration with Airbnb, but has just been sent in by the owner of the house.
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Karen Beddow founded Mini Travellers in 2014 while doing what she loves most...going on holiday!
Mini Travellers is for parents looking for holiday ideas, destination reviews, days out and things to do with the kids. We also have family travel tips, activity ideas and all other things family holiday related. Take a look at some of our latest reviews for holidays and day trips in the UK.