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We move out again tomorrow, always a big project to prepare for the next 10 weeks when we rent from Saturday to Saturday. We have locked closets behind our closets to move our clothing into and a 12x8 storage room in our basement for the rest of our worldly goods. I am curious how many other owners live part of the time in their rental. This was our house full time for 14 years before we began renting it out.
I spend most of the year in my apartment, and like you, have things down to a science when it's "visiting time". I can make my home "guest-proof" in about 4 hours - everything personal or precious goes into the hall closets or in the storage cabinets in the laundry room ( all locked securely ), bed and bath linens swapped out ( I have separate sets for guests), fridge and cabinets cleared out and amenities laid out ( I keep a stock of non-perishables and bath supplies on hand ). The day of arrival, I run to the bakery for croissants - et voila!
Having separate sets of things makes coming home very easy - I just repeat the whole process in reverse. Except for the croissants!
We're "permanently" out for June-August. Other than that, we really enjoy going down and working on the cottage. We'll rent the cottage in Apr, May, Sept, and Oct, but most of those rentals are to folks who come every year or are especially carefully screened. We have a storage room where we keep tools, etc, but the best thing we ever did was to have locking cabinets built in along the end of the living room and at each end of the dining room. They're only 12" deep so not only do they not interfere with the space in the rooms, but they actually make the rooms look bigger! That's where I keep all our personal things like my Japanese knives, the liquor canned goods, Food Saver, printer, router and DSL modem, weather station base and its computer, etc. It makes for a quick getaway in spring or fall for the occasional renter. When we replaced the old still working but inefficient fridge, we put that in the utility room with locks on the fridge and freezer doors. We vacuum pack the stuff left in the old fridge, and things like cheeses last almost forever. We also vacuum and keep things like chili, marinara sauce, home made soups and stews in the freezer for a quick dinner when we arrive. This way we don't have to do so much hauling of perishables home and back when we have just one or two weeks of guests.
Here are before and after cabinets LR shots.
Here are closeups of cabinets in LR
The furniture was placed back exactly where it was before cabinets were built, so the space had been totally wasted. Cabinets behind the chairs are all lockable. Cabinets under the TV contain games, books, etc, for the guests.
Take a look around your VR and you might be surprised to find places where you tuck cabinets.
Linda: The cabinets are wonderful and such a clever idea.
And thanks to Holly for this thread. I've just retired and so next summer I may spend more time in my rental -- this is very helpful to get ideas of how to clear out quickly when we have paying guests. I think I will use my basement and put a few locking cabinets down there like Linda's. I could lock the entire basement off, but then the guests wouldn't be able to reset the circuit breakers if they need to. Of course, in 5 years of renting, that has never happened.
Now if only I had a dumb waiter to haul stuff down to the basement and back up again!!
For the basement, you can get cabinets at Home Depot like the one on the left in the picture. It locked only on the bottom, but Frank put a hasp and a combination lock on the top cabinet. We don't lock the top any more, and the key to the bottom is inside the top cabinet. That's to keep children out of the cleaning supplies and give access to the guests to all the supplies in both cabinets. When we used a rental agency, we kept all of it locked and gave the combination to the guests......the help had sticky fingers. We don't have that problem any more.
Oh, a dumb waiter would be EXCELLENT! The houses in our area are reverse floor plan with the kitchen, DR, and LR on the top level and bedrooms on the lower level (which is a whole flight of stairs up because we're on pilings). But then I guess the exercise is good, eh?
As for the circuit breakers, the first 4 years we had it happen plenty. There was just one circuit for all countertop appliances. As soon as I started replacing them with high end stuff, even though posted a sign saying not to run two appliances at one time, it still happened. Even I did it occasionally. We now have 3 new circuits in the kitchen, but some have more than one outlet, so you can still trip a breaker. Hasn't happened though.
Awesome! Can you post pictures of your Airstream? I've always lusted after an old one like that. We don't live in our VR but do plan to travel during 2 weeks in October when we have 2 families coming back to back who have been renting the cottage since 2007 and we don't have to worry about how they'll treat the place. We're thinking of Las Vegas (Frank's idea, certainly not mine!) and down to the Grand Canyon, maybe southern Utah for some fun photography. We'll fly to LV and rent a car.
You might want to consider a homeexchange non simultaneous for the times you are traveling so it isn't costing you money to stay someplace when your house is rented. For instance, our low/shoulder season is June, Sept and Oct so we can bank exchanges then for other times when we cannot be in our house. Works great because you are already setup for guests. The other advantage is because you are using their house they will treat yours with respect. Our exchange in Italy included a Toyota Prius, I have an offer now in Italy that includes a Fiat. We often take friends with us on our exchange.
btw we use Homeexchange.com