8 Brilliant Things Airbnb Hosts Know About Organizing Their Kitchens That You Don’t

published Jul 15, 2022
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We all know, in theory, that it’s best to keep our kitchens organized. But in the mayhem that is life as we know it, that ideal can easily fall by the wayside. Before you know it, your kitchen is coming apart at the seams.

But for Airbnb hosts, coming apart at the seams isn’t exactly an option. I’ve been renting out my home (and now several properties) for years now, and I can tell you: With a revolving door of folks coming and going, there is absolutely no room for a cluttered, disorganized kitchen. If you’ve ever stayed in an Airbnb where you wanted to cook — or even make coffee in the morning — and had to rummage around through cabinets and drawers stocked with everything except the one item you need, you get it. 

See, I’ve learned a few tricks over the years of hosting. And I’ve reached out to fellow hosts for their very best organizing tips. Together, we’ve got eight kitchen ideas you need to know. Let’s take a look!

Credit: Sarah Coffey

1. Get creative with pegboards.

Filed under “you can’t lose it if it’s in plain sight,” I take a page out of Julia Child’s book and use pegboards for the pots and pans and even some utensils in one of my rentals. Vertigo Louisville has a tiny IKEA sink with no storage, and no cabinets aside from an old piece of furniture I painted.

The cookware collection all hangs on two good-sized pegboards. There’s no digging in dark cupboard corners for a pot when someone wants to whip up a meal. Just as importantly, it’s easy to do a quick visual to be sure everything is clean between guests. (You’d be surprised at the condition people leave things in before they put dishes back!)

Credit: Ghazalle Badiozamani/Kitchn

2. Keep silverware at the ready.

Deborah Jacobs, a designer and longtime Airbnb host in Indianapolis, keeps silverware at the front of her mind when organizing her kitchen. The top drawer closest to the eat-in area always holds the silverware, she explains. From there she applies the most logical kitchen storage, keeping tools closest to the areas where a guest would use them. “It’s been a pretty effective, organic organizing system. We can proudly say we never get any questions from our guests relating to finding kitchen supplies,” she says.

Credit: Diane Deaton Street for The Flats on Sixth

3. Mount your knives along the wall.

Of all the kitchens I’ve designed, the one non-negotiable is a magnetic knife rack on the wall by the stove. Especially in small spaces like my little studio #5Luce and OuiOne, it keeps counter space clutter-free and prevents dulling (or, worse, accidents!) when stuffing knives in a drawer. These handy racks aren’t limited to storing and displaying knives — your wine opener, scissors, and, well, anything else metal can stick to them as well!

Credit: Sarah Crowley

4. S-hooks are lifesavers.

Continuing the theme of keeping things at hand and in view, S-hooks are your best friend. Pop them onto a peg board, a knife rack, or a small towel bar, and go to town.

I mean, what can’t you hang on one? At my Little Carriage House on the Alley, where there’s not a single drawer, I use them for dish towels, pot holders, aprons, and any utensil with a convenient little hole for hanging. With every single one, that’s one fewer thing stuffed in a drawer that’s impossible to find. 

5. See-through drawer organizers make it easy.

Kristin Luna is a longtime Airbnb host, too. “I apply the same organizing mentality to my own household as I do my Airbnb rentals. I like to compartmentalize everything for my guests’ ease of finding,” she says.

To do this, Luna relies on iDesign’s line of drawer dividers and stackable, see-through bins to keep all of her flatware and other cooking utensils easy-to-find. “When I’m doing flips and restocking, it also makes things much easier for me, cutting down on the time I spend double-checking everything for the next guest.”

Credit: Ashley Poskin

6. Create easy-to-find zones.

Luna also uses similar see-through baskets or bins to create zones in different parts of the kitchen (think: tea, coffee, individual creamers, and sugar packets). “This way, when I’m coming in after a checkout, I can quickly do a sweep of what’s been used and what I need to purchase before my next guest arrives,” she says. In the owner’s closet, Luna has a similar organizational system where she buys non-perishables in bulk and has them ready for a quick turnaround.

7. Invest in pull-out organizers.

I swear by Rev-A-Shelf products for maximizing cupboard space. When I rent out my own home, it tends to be to people who like to cook. Our kitchen contains all of two cupboards, but that’s actually not a problem because I gained exponential storage space with these brilliant pull-out organizers.

Thanks to these little heroes, every inch of space is used, and there’s no messing around with moving things out of the way to get to what you want in the back. Pull out the gliding shelves and presto! Whatever you need is right there. 

Credit: Joe Lingeman

8. Organize with upcycled jars.

Even though we all know perfectly well we’re in someone else’s space while staying in an Airbnb — and using things that other people are using — nobody wants to think about that when we’re away on vacation. So the idea of a half-empty container of, well, anything, is pretty cringe-worthy. But so is tossing anything that someone uses just a little bit of. Enter: the jar.

Decanting into jars? I’m all about it, whether it’s dishwashing detergent, coffee for my guests, or just organizing my own pantry. All those cute little jars tidily lined up, their contents clearly on display, feels so much nicer than a mish-mash of assorted boxes. Plus, you can always be a little extra and label them for good measure. 

Do you have any kitchen organizing tips to share? Tell us in the comments below.