An Organized Lifestyle

Tips and Tricks for Staying In A Rental House During COVID-19

July 29, 2020

Hello, I'm Rachel
I’m a busy mom, entrepreneur, and an expert in organizing your home, office, and life. I believe in the profound impact of organizing on every aspect of life. 
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A few weeks ago, my family took a road trip and rented a house near the beach for two weeks. I was definitely excited about the change of scenery but for us that meant changing scenery AND continuing to keep a bubble around our family.

Were we crazy to be leaving our quarantined family bubble at home? The thought crossed my mind more than once but I also thought how my children haven’t been seeing their friends, how we have experienced COVID in our house (more on that here) and the benefits it would have to move locations for a bit. I stressed about it for weeks but in the end, as a family we decided it worked for us.

I realize some people might not agree with our choice to go on vacation but we had to do what was right for our family. We kept to ourselves and, of course, wore our masks in public. As I mentioned in a previous post about our road trip (here) we didn’t stop at rest stops, we didn’t go into grocery stores or restaurants and got things delivered. We went to the beach at night when it was empty and rode bikes and played tennis just the four of us. It worked for us and we were grateful for the time away as a family.

One of the details that I both stressed about and that ended up being a game changer was how I prepared to stay in a rental house and cleaned it once we arrived. I know that many of you are likely considering a rental house family vacation this year so I wanted to share how I prepared for our vacation and what we did as soon as we arrived.

How to Prepare and Organize for a Rental Home Vacation

  • Before we get in to the nitty gritty of how I organized and prepared, there is one step that you will want to take from the start when booking your vacation. I suggest asking the rental company if there is anyway to put space in between you and the previous renters in the home. They are currently saying that COVID lives on the surfaces for up to 72 hours – I am not a scientist or a doctor so I, of course, do not know if this is 100% true but this has been the premise we’ve been going by in our daily lives. A little time between you and the previous renters could be a great help and let any COVID die out.

  • If there’s no way to put space in between you and the previous renters, I suggest asking if they can open the windows to air out the house before you get there for your vacation. With our rental house neither a buffer or airing out the house was a possibility with the owner so the minute that we arrived we opened every single window and door. We also turned on all the fans to make sure that we got the air circulating throughout the entire house.

  • Before we even started to pack for our vacation there were a lot of discussions and even more lists about what we would bring with us to house. In a normal scenario a rental house comes with just about everything that you need – all you have to bring is clothes and food. But we wanted to make sure that we felt comfortable in the space and were not stressing when we should have been relaxing. We walked through every detail of the house and decided what we would feel comfortable cleaning and using, what we would bring from home and what we could have shipped/delivered to the rental home. There is no right answer for what you should bring vs. use but these are the decisions that we made as a family. I created packing lists of what we needed to bring and then checked them again as we were heading home to make sure we didn’t leave anything there.

Cleaned and Used:

  • Dishes

  • Silverware

  • Glassware

  • Cooking Utensils and Supplies (spoons, knives, etc)

Brought from Home:

  • Sheets

  • Pillows

  • Blankets for the Beds

  • Towels

  • Cleaning Supplies (dish soap, all purpose cleaner, dishwasher detergent and laundry soap)

  • Kitchen Supplies (dish towels, oven mitts, etc)

  • Toiletries (soap, shampoo, etc.)

  • Toilet Paper and Paper Towels

  • Pots and Pans*

  • Parchment Paper and BPA Free Tupperware for Leftovers*

  • Spices and Oils for Cooking

* A few of the items that we brought were more for my green lifestyle and Hashimoto’s. If I didn’t have Hashimoto’s I likely would have used the pots and pans and Tupperware they had on site.

  • We also made a plan and several lists for our grocery plan for the house. Since we were going to be there for two weeks I looked into local grocery stores to make sure that we knew in advance which store would delivery or offered curbside pick up. We brought a few nights of groceries with us but then got a delivery from a local grocery store for the rest of the items.

  • We made a plan for the drive to the rental house. I outlined in more detail what we did to prepare for the road trip here.

  • Once we arrived to the rental house, we entered the house with masks. Yes, this might seem excessive because we knew there was no one actually in the house but for us it made us feel safer and calm while we opened the windows and doors and allowed the house to air out a bit.

  • Next, I took all of the dishes from the cabinets that we thought we might use over our stay and ran a load of dishes in the dishwasher. We elected to bring our own detergent from home to make sure that it was a green brand that we trust. We also included some extra tall glasses as those became the silverware organizers in the next step.

  • Once all the dishes were done, we didn’t add them back to the cabinets but put them on a cleaned off area of the counter. We decided we would only use those dishes and keep them out of the cabinets so we didn’t have to clean the inside of every cabinet in house. We categorized the dishes by type so it was easier to find what we needed and used the tall glasses to store the silverware.

  • We removed any items in the kitchen like dish towels and oven mitts that we either didn’t think we would need or that we had brought from home. I would have felt totally comfortable washing these items as well if you don’t feel like lugging them along for the trip.

  • Before we started unpacking, we wiped down all surfaces in the whole house with our own cleaning solution that we brought from home (again so that it was green and trusted). I cleaned every light switch, TV remote, toilet handle, nightstand, door knob, you name it! My favorite non-toxic cleaner that is on the EPA’s list to fight COVID is Force of Nature. I also have a discount link for you all (here) for 20% off and free shipping on their starter kits. Wiping down the house took hours but in the end was totally worth it so I could start to relax and feel at ease in the home.

  • We took off all of the bedding on the beds that we would be using and replaced with either sheets we brought from home or we freshly washed the bedding for any of the bed sizes that we didn’t have on hand. We also swapped out the pillows and blankets for ones we brought from home. Our rental host confirmed they only wash the comforters or blankets if there is a stain (eek!)

  • We removed any excess products and toilet paper that the rental house provided and switched out our own. We stashed all of these items in one place so we could easily put them back as our vacation came to an end.

Overall it took a lot of organization on the front end and a lot of planning for us while we were at home as well as pretty much a full day of cleaning but in the end all of the prep and steps we took allowed me to feel much safer about being in a home that was not my own. I hope these steps will help you feel comfortable and at more at ease while traveling during COVID-19.

TELL ME: are you taking a vacation this year? What steps are you taking to feel safe while away from home?

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I'm Rachel, founder of Rachel & Company

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