We’ve rented cabins/homes on the past three vacations and it’s taught me a few things. The biggest thing for me is that you cannot count on too much in the kitchen. A stock pot and frying pan will be there (although this last stock pot was severely stained/scorched enamel – a bit scary to use), but beyond that it’s sketchy. I was quite glad that I’d purchased the dollar store baking sheets.
I’ve purchased two more dollar items which have been added to the tub. This last rental had no measuring cup. All of my dry ingredients were pre-measured, but I had to add milk or water to several things. It was some experienced guess work! In looking for a cutting board in this recent rental, I found two. The catch was that they were under the sink with a dust pan leaning against them. I told my mom that there was no amount of dish soap which would have made it okay in my mind to use either of them.
Now, it may be evident already if you’ve read many of my entries, but I’m mostly type A. Part of my type A personality is in organization. When we get home from vacation, I fill up the travel bottles before putting them away. In that same vein I’ve kept several items in one of the ‘car’ tubs I bought this year (for packing the food, dishes, and other sundries for the cabin). These tubs are all the same size so I can nest them for storage, or as they are emptied on the trip. I need to add some garbage bags, toilet paper, and a box of kleenex to the tub. Other than that, it holds plastic dishes, baking sheets, cooling racks, a grater, a cutting board, measuring cup, small cups for brushing teeth, and a couple of flour sack dish cloths. I like the flour sack cloths because they can be used for dishes or hands.
Why would I carry plastic dishes to a rental? Don’t they have them already? Yes, they do. In all three rentals, I have found dirty dishes in the cupboard. This last one had lipstick on a glass (we washed it). Not everyone does a wonderful job of washing. Plus, my plastic plates are great for picnics. I got them a WalMart for a dollar for four plates, or four bowls, or four glasses, but many of them I got on clearance for 50 cents. They also had matching serving bowls, which I’ve used for my baking mixing. Again, you can’t count on finding baking needs.
There are more things I’m going to be looking for before the next rental. I’d like Rubbermaid type containers for oregano, garlic salt, and soy sauce. I’ve already got a small parmesan bottle from when they were 10/$10. I may make some pot holders to simply keep in the rental tub – again, these are usually there but why chance it?
Another dollar store purchase which was nice to have was two of the pop up mesh laundry baskets. The mesh was key for the sweaty clothing! In the car, the kids appreciated the dollar store window shades I got for their areas. Nothing is worse than dealing with sensory children when the car is boiling hot and the seat belt buckles burn their hands.
This sounds like one great big ad for the dollar stores. Maybe it is. The fact is, with three children and needs for items one week out of every year, these stores help my budget greatly. I fully understand that many things purchased for a dollar won’t have the same durability as things bought elsewhere for a bit more. Sometimes it doesn’t really matter (i.e. school supplies).
One day, when we’ve been able to save up enough, DH and I would like to purchase a vacation/rental home. That’s partly why I’ve paid attention to what I do and don’t like at each one we visit. We may never be able to purchase a home to rent out, but if we do, we’ve got our list of things which we’d like to do. One thing which I think would keep it more professional in the eyes of the renter would be to have a fairly simple decorating scheme. Not too feminine, cluttered, or kitchy. I would use photographs from the area to decorate the walls, and have a page which identified the locations for any renter who was interested. I would have one color of towels for each bathroom, and a separate color for the kitchen. All sheets would be white. Bedding would not be frilly or lacy (it can tickle and irritate), but would probably be quilts with matching colors for blankets. These are the things I think about. It probably doesn’t even hit a lot of other people’s radars.