Prepping Your House For Exchange
Once you've found your exchange partner, it's time to get ready for your swap! Don't leave everything until the night before or you will be sorry. This is the “work” part of home exchanging. The first time you do it will take the longest. Eventually we developed a pretty good routine and now we can prepare really fast! We like the excuse to keep our home looking nice regularly.
Things to do once to ensure smooth swapping:
1) Install outdoor security cameras and a security system you can control from your phone. It’s really nice to see the right people as they come and go.
2) Purchase guest-only sheets, towels, and a keypad entry doorknob or a key lockbox.
3) Type up a comprehensive guide of your home and area. Include your WiFi password, pet/plant instructions, nearby grocery stores, and your favorite things to do in the area.
One month out:
1) Purge all clutter and take to Goodwill.
2) Finish up all ongoing DIY projects. You don’t have to have everything perfect, but nobody wants to stay in a half-painted room.
3) Prep yard (pull weeds, check sprinkler system etc).
One week before:
1) Tell neighbors about upcoming swap so they don't call the cops. Our neighbors love meeting the people from different places. It’s also nice to have a trusted set of eyes on your house.
2) Deep clean your home or hire a cleaner to do it.
3) Work on eating through the perishable food in your fridge. I am excellent at this item.
One day before:
1) Put all underwear and personal items you don’t want guests using in a box. We use the same box we keep the guest linens in to make coming home easy. Lock it up or give it to a neighbor/family member.
2) Clear out 1-2 drawers per expected guest and make a bit of closet space. No need to empty every drawer or closet. Tip: combine drawers after removing what you’re packing for your trip.
3) Clear out one shelf in the fridge and one shelf in the bathroom.
1) Pick up the house one last time.
2) Put guest sheets on the bed. Set out towels, shampoo/conditioner, your home guide, and (optional) a small food gift to welcome them to your home.
3) Place key in lockbox or in your predetermined location. Some swappers mail their guests a key or welcome them in person.