So you’ve arranged your very first home exchange. Congrats! You are on your way to living like a local. Here are some tips for preparing your home:
Create a city guide. Your exchange partner will no doubt have done their fair share of research on your town, but they probably didn’t discover the nearest 24-hour grocery store or the coffee shop that doesn’t mind if you spend a whole afternoon at a table with just one cup of tea and a good book. Follow our tips for leaving a great city guide for your guests.
Protect your valuables. Although we here at HomeExchange.com know how trustworthy our members are (and that you never exchange with a stranger), it’s understandable that you would be nervous leaving certain valuables out in the open. If you don’t have a safe or security deposit box, the easiest thing to do is also the simplest: pack a box of the items you’d rather not leave at home, and drop it off with a trusted friend before you head off on your adventure.
Make room. No one likes to live out of a suitcase, so make sure you leave an empty drawer or two in the dresser and some free space (and hangers) in the closet for your guests. Don’t have the extra space? A collapsable hanging rack is a great solution for when you have a home exchange partner staying in your home.
Clean up. It might seem obvious, but sometimes we can get used to our own clutter. Make sure you give your place a good once (or twice!) over before your exchange. Vacuum, dust, and give the bathroom a good scrub. Make sure all opened and expired perishables have been vacated from the fridge (we’re looking at you, mysterious slice of pizza), empty all garbage and recycling bins, change the sheets, and leave new towels folded neatly on the bed. When in doubt, ask yourself: if this weren’t your home, would you want to stay in it? Bonus points: leave an unopened bar of soap in each bathroom and a new sponge in the kitchen.
Leave a welcome gift. It’s always a nice gesture to leave a little something for your home exchange partner. Some suggestions: a basket of local treats, a bottle of wine, or a gift certificate for your favorite local café.
Do you have any tips for first-time home exchangers? Tell us in the comments!