How to set up an owner’s closet for a more successful STR management experience
Getting your owner’s closet prepared for your cleaning team may seem like an afterthought. But, it is critical that it is organized, functional and easy to access for you and your cleaning te
How to Set up an Owners Closet for My Rental
If you have stayed in an Airbnb or other vacation rental, more often than not, you may have discovered a locked door (or several) you are not granted access to. These are “owner’s closets.”
The secured closets are a source of relief or great stress to those who help maintain the STR. It’s vital to put thought into these spaces to help your operation run smoothly.
Where should I put the owner’ closet?
- If you have multiple closet options, you may consider having multiple owner’s closets. For example, if you have a multiple story unit, you may have a locked space for upstairs linens. Another consideration is the owner’s closet near a table or some place cleaners can set linens on while sorting what needs to go in and out. A table is a perfect folding spot for linens if washed on site.
- Size: you need to be able to neatly fit all of the needed items in the space.
- The door to the closet must have the ability to be locked and secured. Nothing can ruin a turnover more than finding out guests accessed the owner’s closet and used all of the backup linens.
What goes in the owner’s closet?
The owner’s closet the cleaners access should NOT for your personal items you want to access when you stay. Please save the space for needed linens. Extra blankets and pillows can take up a lot of space. Please find a secondary location for your personal items. Here is a list of items needed in your owners closet:
- Pillow cases
- Pillow protectors
- Extra covers for decorative pillows
- Extra mattress protectors
- Extra pillows
- Extra shower curtain liner
- Hand towels
- Kitchen towels
- Shower mat/shower towel
- Light bulbs
- Air filters
- Other continual maintenance items
- Back up cleaning supplies
- Laundry detergent in case cleaner has to wash any linen on site
- Parking passes/pool bracelets
- Welcome gifts (if applicable)
- Back up amenities
How should I organize the owner’s closet?
Your cleaning team will adore you if you set them up for success starting with the owner’s closet. Having practical organization is key. This is your unit, and it is not the responsibility of the cleaning team to organize it. They are supposed to maintain the organization you set in place.
1. Labeled bins: The best method we have seen and put to use in many of our units with owners willing to work with us is labeled bins for bed linens. (Time to invest in a label maker!) This way, queen sheets will always be separate from the king. The team won’t have to unfold every pillow case to discover what size it is. This can be a great source of frustration. HOT TIP, if your sheets do not have a size on the tags, label a corner with a T, F, Q, K. It can be hard to tell the difference between a full and a queen or a queen and king–especially with certain brands. You can do this with mattress protectors and blankets/quilts/duvet covers/etc.
2. Labeled sheets: Another method is to wrap rolled sheet sets in painters tape and label size with a pen or Sharpie marker–make sure ink dries before wrapping. Many laundry facilities do this or use a cellophane color coded system.
2.1 Dedicated and labeled shelves: We have coupled this system in small linen closets dedicating one shelf to all things King sized (sheet,, blanket, pillow cases), the next shelf Queen, the next shelf twin, and the next towels and bottom floor misc items. This works well too. We label the shelves to keep consistency.
3. Dedicated towel space: Large towels don’t necessarily fit in the bins as well but can be separated into size and neatly available on shelving. It is nice to have a labeled, dedicated space for towels
4. A miscellaneous bin: for bulbs, pool bracelets, batteries, etc. is a nice way to keep the smaller items together in the closet so the cleaner or maintenance person isn’t spending too much time searching for it.
5. Parking passes: parking passes or other important items for your guest to stay can easily be forgotten. We suggest posting a reminder on the inside of the door and finding a way to keep these in the closet where they can be eye level so cleaners won’t miss them. Also, we like to hide extra passes in a place like above the fridge in case one is forgotten to be left out, you can tell your guest how to find one without allowing them access to the owner’s closet.
Remember, practical organization. It must be easily seen and accessible. An extra shower curtain liner shoved on the top shelf behind blankets is not going to get used. An extra mattress protector wadded up and shoved on the floor is probably going to stay that way. Nothing is more frustrating on a busy turn day than unfolding linens to see what size they are.
How should I lock the owner’s closet, and what do I do with the owner’s closet key?
- All locks, even digital ones need to have key access.
- Any way to lock it would be fine as long as you have a backup process for missing keys or dead batteries. We suggest that you keep a lock box on the perimeter of your unit where you have an owner’s closet key and unit key. This is NOT to be accessed by guests but only in an emergency if they themselves are locked out. This is also not the key the cleaners or maintenance will use.
- The easiest method for hiding an owner’s closet key is to keep it in a magnetic key box. You can attach it to the back or side of a washer (dryers can melt the glue and the box will fall). You can also attach to other metal appliances. This is common practice.
How to keep an inventory for owner’s closet:
Generally, your cleaning team will let you know when you need more linens. Owning a cleaning company with several locations has taught me that location does factor into how frequently you have to replace linens.
The rule of thumb is to always have 3 sets of sheets per bed and 3x as many towels as you want to leave out for guests.
If you have bins and labels for linens, you can write on the label how many should be in each bin or on the shelf. (You don’t want to include what should already be in place out in the unit–make this clear with cleaning team)
Every time you visit your unit, you should spend time looking through the owner’s closet and seeing if you need more linens, bulbs, batteries, etc.