We just rented our apartment in London over the holidays, through Kid & Coe, to a family who flew in from New York. It was a bit nerve-wracking at first. Getting the house ready, getting used to the idea of strangers staying in our place. All of this while I also packed the suitcase for our family of five. And now we’re back. And everything went perfectly well! Nothing broken. Our special honey truffle pot is still there. And best of all, our five plane tickets to Mauritius were paid for by the rental. We’re smiling (our wallet is), and ready to do it again. It’s so much easier than I would have thought. More of a psychological barrier than a real threat.
Here’s a check list of what I frantically organised before the guests arrived:
– Invested in some plain white sheets & towels. Figured if I needed to put a bit of bleach on stains afterwards, white was the best option. The discount at the White Company provided by Kid & Coe came in handy. In the States, I am sure it’s possible to get better prices for same quality at Bed & Bath & Beyond.
– Got some white cable ties similar to those from our local electrical shop, to lock the cupboards where we stored our diamonds and $$. yeah right. It was more about putting away stuff such as electronics and confidential documents than worrying about anything being stolen. You might say we’re not the worrying type, but somehow it felt comfortable treating the family who came to stay as friends rather than as strangers. That’s the beauty of google, and renting through a site like Kid & Coe where it’s all about community spirit and shared lifestyles. Because we’re all families, we’re all in the same boat..
– Got a collapsible clothes rail for the parents so we did not need to store away our own clothes. The family stayed for 10 days and the parents shared the rail plus a long shelf that I made available in our bedroom. For the children’s rooms, it was so much easier, as their clothes are smaller and I didn’t mind cramming them on one side of the cupboard to make some space. We are not fussy about ironing children clothes in our home! The rail now seats underneath our bed, together with a few nice storage bags where I will put away all the linens until the next rental. Ni vu, ni connu as we say in French. Ok, I got carried away with buying too many storage bags, thinking we would store away half of our house! And in the end, we really felt comfortable leaving most things in their space. (If we still lived in the US, I would have bought everything at my all-time favorite The Container Store!)
At the airport, happily displaying our luggage tags:
– I did remove most of the family photos and put them upside down on a shelf, so the guests would not feel as if they were living with us. That was the awkward part I thought. Making sure that not too many personal visual elements stayed behind. Oh my..I almost forgot to put away that photo of me naked with my huge round belly when I was pregnant of Amalya. I blushed.
– Prepared a sheet with What to do in Case of Problems in the House, just in case. And we notified our home insurance company. They had no issue with it since it was a short term stay.
– I did not do any food shopping for the week until we left. I was on a mission to get that big fridge empty, you see, and that’s almost the part that stressed me most, because I hate to throw food away, and it would not have been nice to leave the guests with our leftovers! The children ate whatever was there for a week, and all that stayed behind was a foie gras which, I figured, as Americans, the family would not want to touch anyway. We left all the basics such as olive oil, sugar, salt and jams, with the idea that they would replace whatever they finished.
– Our wonderful cleaner served as the contact for the keys, and for making the house ready after our departure, and before we came back. That was quite helpful, i.e.. to have someone in town ready to jump in case of a problem, but I know that Kid & Coe can coordinate such people. Or we could have asked my brother, or some friends to help.
You can also read the post that I did about Kid & Coe when they first launched. I am helping Zoie and her wonderful team with establishing the business. I think it’s such an excellent idea, and now that we’ve done it once, I know it will be a piece of (Easter) cake next time. Oh, and we already have 2 booking enquiries! Thinking of going to Japan with the children (thoughts?). It ain’t cheap to fly a family of five all the way there but if we can make money on our home while we’re away, it will help swallow the (jet lag) pill once we’re in Tokyo…