A cluttered space is stressful. It overwhelms our senses with too many details, making us unable to relax. Imagine a pinball let loose in your brain! To ensure that your Airbnb & co guests feel comfortable in your home as soon as they arrive and have enough space to store their personal items, go through your stuff and get rid of anything you don’t need. Once you’ve decluttered, your rental will seem much bigger and more airy, it will become a relaxing and peaceful living space.

woman sitting on the floor with many clothes around her© belchonock / 123RF Banque d'images


Where do I start?

You’re ready to declutter your rental but don’t know where to start or how to go about it? To avoid getting discouraged before you’ve even started, here’s a plan of attack with a few tricks

  • Set a work timeslot in advance: 5 minutes, 15 minutes, half an hour, 1 hour… It’s better to go gradually and get it finished eventually. Remember, “Slow and steady wins the race”!
  • Choose a manageable task: a cupboard, a drawer, a room, a defined area.
  • Take before and after pictures to see your progress and visualize the effort you’ve put in.
  • You have to be subjective to declutter, see the things that you no longer see. You should feel free to ask for an outsider’s perspective.
  • Before you start sorting things out, establish criteria for what you’ll keep or not. For example, deciding to throw out every pair of shoes that hurt your feet, every piece of clothing that no longer fits you right, reminders of people you no longer want to be reminded of, old magazines, expired medication, dried up makeup, etc.
  • Stand by your criteria and don’t go back on your choices.


What’s a Useless Item?

Family furniture, decorations, gadgets, collections, clothes, accessories, trinkets… in the heat of the moment, it’s often difficult to sort things out and decide what to get rid of. We keep some items for their monetary or sentimental value, and tend to want to keep them around just a little bit longer. The key is to identify all unnecessary things in the house.


A useless item is thus an item:

  • that you haven’t used in months, or more
  • that you’re keeping “just in case”
  • that no longer fits your lifestyle
  • that’s broken, but that you’re keeping in the hopes of getting it fixed
  • a gift that you don’t like


And if you’re still unsure about certain things, take a close look at them and ask yourself:

  • Does this thing matter to me?
  • Do I use it?
  • Does it make me happy?
  • If I saw it in a store today, would I buy it?
  • If I lost it, would I replace it?
  • If my house burnt down, would I buy a new one?
  • Would I be proud to show it to someone who is getting to know me?
  • Have I used it in the past few months?
  • Will I use it in the next few weeks?
  • Would it make someone else in my life happy?


How to Sort Things Out?

To see more clearly when sorting things out, here’s a simple and practical strategy. Take four cardboard boxes and two bags, and dedicate each of them to specific function:

  1. In the first cardboard box, put everything you want to keep.
  2. The second is dedicated to things that you want to store in another room.
  3. The third is for things you’re getting rid of that are still in good shape (to be resold or donated).
  4. The fourth is the transition box. You’ll put items you’re hesitating about in there. Close it and write the date on it. If you’re missing an item, put it back where it belongs. But if the box hasn’t been opened six months later, bring it straight to Goodwill or the Salvation Army without even looking at what’s inside.
  5. Use one of the bags for garbage, for things that are broken or damaged.
  6. In the other bag, put things to be recycled (paper, batteries, medication, old electronics, etc.)

Keep in mind that the things that haven’t been used over the past few years have very little chance of being used in the upcoming years. Little trick to help you sort through your wardrobe: put all of your hangers in the same direction. As you go through your clothing, turn the hangers you use in the other direction. A few months later, you’ll easily see what’s been worn. What hasn’t been used during an entire season has a slim chance of being worn again.


You’re now equipped with the tools to rid your space of all of its excesses and create a comfortable, accommodating and functional environment for your Airbnb & co guests. On your mark, get sorted, declutter!


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