Spring cleaning: The art of decluttering

By Eleanor Stanesby

The time has come for some spring cleaning—the (often dreaded) organization of all of the papers you hid in a drawer for the past year, the items of clothing you no longer wear, and a deep clean of every part of the house. While this means focusing on the jobs that may have been neglected over winter, the goal is to make your living space feel more open and airy, paralleling the ambiance that this season brings. Meanwhile, decluttering will not only help you enhance your living space, but also your mental space, leaving you feeling satisfied and more at ease.

With these top tips, you'll be spring cleaning in no time, and you never know...you may even begin to enjoy it—or at least the end result!

1. Form a plan

Make a checklist to help you divide and conquer the house; these smaller goals will make you feel a less overwhelmed. With a big task, like spring cleaning, it can be difficult to know where to start, so writing things down can make you see things much more clearly.

If you don't want to create your own checklist, try a free, downloadable template that will help you organize your cleaning process. Want something a little more technological? There are even apps that can help you prepare!

Photo of a spring cleaning checklist from Page Flutter.

2. Stock up on supplies

Doublecheck that you have all of the cleaning supplies you'll need before you begin. There's nothing worse than getting halfway through and having to run to the store to buy replacements. It will hinder your progress and may demotivate you from wanting to continue cleaning when you get back home.

3. Play some music

No one wants to clean in silence! Music releases a chemical in the brain called dopamine, which plays a key role in keeping you motivated. An upbeat playlist is going to get you in the mood to clean and make time go much faster. If you can't find a playlist you like, you can try a podcast or the radio instead—or even just turn on the TV for some background noise to keep you company.

Photo from Best Life.

4. Learn to compartmentalize

Try not to think of everything you have yet to clean; break it down into bite-size pieces and just focus on one room at a time. Be sure to make your checklist for each room specific, as there are going to be different things you'll want to do, based on each room's contents and size. After each room is decluttered and cleaned, each one after that is going to seem so much easier, especially when you are able to look back at your progress.

5. Always declutter first

No matter which room you decide to start with, it's a must to begin with decluttering. Trying to clean around bits of paper here and random clothes there is only going to slow the process down. Try a systematic way to breakdown all of the items you find into four categories: put away, give away, storage, and trash.

Photo from Bestlifeonline.

6. Work from top to bottom

When it comes to cleaning, starting from the top of the room and working your way down is ideal. Dust falls naturally falls, so this will save you from doubling your workload and having to sweep or vacuum the floors a second time.

Our favorite cleaning tips

Photo from EllimanInsider.
  • Windows: Polishing the windows will make the room feel brighter.

  • Walls: Wipe down the walls to bring their true color back.

  • Vacuum: Move furniture, and vacuum ceilings—this household appliance will be your best friend!

  • Dust: Stock up on furniture polish to make the place shine.


Want to expand this project to the garden? Check out our tips for gardening in the most effective and sustainable way!

GH Tips: How to garden sustainably

By Fred Jéquier

Photo from BBC's Monty Don.

What is sustainability?

Sustainability is never a simple thing to summarize in a brief description, but in 1987, the United Nations defined it as when "design, construction, operations and maintenance practices [...] meet the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs."

Photo from United Nations.

Sustainability has become an increasingly important issue in recent years, not just in the larger sense that the UN is working tirelessly to achieve for the betterment of people living in poverty, but also in our day-to-day lives. Whether it's recycling, riding a bike to work, or even reducing the amount of meat we eat, we're all trying to do our bit for the environment. But what about our gardening practices?

On the face of it, working on our gardens seems like a pretty environmentally-friendly activity, but whether we have the classic back garden, an urban community garden, or even a new-age roof garden, there are things that all green-thumbed people can do to ensure that their gardens are environmentally-friendly and continue to be sustainable—producing flowers, vegetables, and shrubbery for years to come—as well as working in harmony with the local environment.

Photo from The Spruce.

Here are some practical ways to make your garden more sustainable and environmentally-friendly.

1. Plant trees

Photo of a a man working with One Tree Planted.

Planting trees is one way to not only improve your garden aesthetically, but it also makes it more healthy. Trees actually store the carbon from the atmosphere that your soil needs to become more fertile and fruitful. Of course, not everyone's garden can necessarily afford to give up space for trees, so why not volunteer with a local organization planting trees in communal areas, such as parks and community gardens?

2. Use natural fertilizers

The use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides can have far-reaching consequences, according to a study by PETA.

To ensure our gardens and the habitats in them stay healthy, it is a good idea to try to avoid using synthetic fertilizers, and as much as possible, avoid using pesticides. Do you really want all those chemicals going from your vegetable patch to your plate? There are many other sustainable ways to help your garden thrive and grow—the most obvious of which is using compost. Filled with all the natural nutrients your garden needs, it's an eco-friendly way to keep your plant beds growing strong, and the beauty of it is you can make it yourself.

3. Composting

Photo from Earth Easy.

As we mentioned earlier, recycling is an important part of sustainability, and this includes our food and garden waste. By making your own compost, you're ensuring that all that leftover food and lawn clippings aren't simply ending up in a landfill somewhere. When making your own compost, you want to keep a balance between the brown and green plant matter, and you might be surprised as to what you can put in your mix.

To keep that good bacteria busy and active, the green matter is helped by grass clippings and kitchen waste. You can use your fruit peels, vegetables that are past their prime, and even coffee grounds. The brown plant matter is helped by shredded newspaper, wood chips, and dry leaves, so you can keep hold of yesterday's sports pages, and don't just bag up those leaves on the driveway when you've finished sweeping them up. Think of it as food for the garden!

4. Weed out the weeds

Every area has weeds that are native to it, and it's important to find out what may be growing in your area and during which season. Sometimes the worst garden weeds look like they're nothing more than wildflowers minding their own business, so it's important to know the difference. It's pretty tempting when you see evidence of weeds in your garden to get the herbicide out, but before you do that, there are natural ways to get rid of them. Tricks such as using salt, vinegar, boiling water, or simply removing them from the root can often be enough to a put a stop to them.

5. Diversity is key

When planning out your garden, try to get as many different species of plants as possible. Creating biodiversity is a good way to ensure that your prize flowers bloom for as long as possible, and keep coming back year after year. A wide range of plants also encourages local wildlife to visit your garden. Small birds and insects are an important part of a garden's life cycle, especially when it comes to pollination. Encouraging these habitats to spring up helps to keep your garden in ecological harmony with your surrounding environment.

6. Get the kids involved

As the old adage says, kids are the future. By getting your kids to help you in the garden and learning eco-friendly and sustainable gardening practices, it'll become second nature to them. No matter if it's at home, school, or in the local community, by teaching kids the right way to garden early on, you can make sure that they will continue to follow these practices as they grow older and start their own gardens.


Want to take sustainability to the next level? Expand your eco-friendly way of life to the day-to-day with some our favorite wellness tips!

GH Tips: Pet-proofing your vacation rental

By Arran Wallace

More than 60% of American households own a pet; pet-friendly cafes and workplaces are becoming more and more popular; and in 2018, 4,416 dogs stayed at one of our accommodations with their owners! And when guests with pets want to head on vacation, organizing a caretaker for them can be both stressful and expensive, meaning more and more travelers are considering taking their four-legged friends with them on trips.

As a host, you can stay ahead of the curve and ensure that your vacation rental will appeal to this new generation of animal-loving travelers, in addition to getting as many bookings as possible. We understand, however, that animals can be—as anyone who has had a pet can tell you—well, messy.

Things like your rental's floors and furniture are understandable primary concerns, so it's important to know how to pet-proof your accommodation. It will not only save you time and money, but will also make your rental a clean and welcoming place for every guest, regardless of how many legs they may have.

Getting rid of pet odors

Walking into a house to be greeted by the smell of a wet dog is unpleasant—and not the first thing you want your guests to experience in your rental. Air fresheners and scented candles may smell great, but they are only masking the smell and can be toxic to many animals, as well as humans with respiratory problems. If you must use them, try to use them only between bookings, and if available, beeswax candles are a much healthier and safer option than regular scented candles.

The best way to avoid smells is with regular cleaning and washing. Enzyme cleaners are particularly good for areas that you suspect might have seen an accident, as they break down the proteins found in animal feces and vomit. Powdered cleaners are good for spot-cleaning stains; simply shake it onto the affected area, let it sit for 30 seconds, scrub, and rinse. Always make sure to read the instructions before using any cleaning product. For everything else, a good vacuum cleaner, broom, and mop are going to be your new best friends.

A great air purifier option is the Levoit Compact.

Air purifiers, especially those with HEPA filters, are great at removing pet smells from your rental, as they remove the particles from the air that cause odors. They also get rid of hairs and allergens, so people with allergies will be unaffected by past guests' pets. These devices can be pricey, but they are worth it in the long run.

Quick tip: We fully understand that this may sound like a lot of work and money, but people traveling with pets are more likely to be willing to pay large cleaning fees, so you can afford a good deep clean more frequently.

Furniture and floors

Carpets can become reservoirs of dust, hair, skin, and other tiny particles—and that's before throwing a hairy animal into the mix! Consider hardwood floors made from oak, cherry, maple, hickory, walnut, mahogany, or bamboo. They're much easier to clean; won't trap all that hair; look modern and stylish; and may add to your rental's resale value, should you decide to sell. Laminate floors are also a less expensive option, although they don't compare aesthetically to real wood.

This Lisann Sofa Throw is great way to protect your furniture.

Rugs in the right location can really bring a room together, as well as provide a soft surface for tired feet. If you do decide to include them in your rental, make sure you choose ones with bright colors and patterns, as they are much better at dissimulating any pet mishaps. This rule applies to covers and throws, too, which are a great way to protect your sofa and armchairs, as they act as barrier between an animal and the furniture (should you allow animals to be on the furniture, of course), and they can be removed and washed easily.

A cover or throw, however, will not protect your furniture from sharp teeth or claws, and exposed seams and legs are especially at risk. Prevention is key, and by that, we mean remove furniture that you don't want to be put at potential risk. If your rental is furnished with expensive sofas or family heirlooms, consider moving them to your own home or storing them away and replacing them with cheaper alternatives.

This Raliegh Dream Convertible from Target is a great option.

In an ideal world, your rental will be safe from teeth and claws, but accidents do and will happen, so if a puppy is going to chew the chair leg, you'd rather it was a mass-produced and easily replaceable-chair. It is the same principle with curtains—one of the most attractive items to young cats and dogs. Save yourself the hassle and expense of replacing those lovely drapes by using a cheaper and more readily-available option.

Making certain areas off-limits

Unfortunately, a Corgi isn't included with this Carlson Pet Gate from Petco.com.

Making your rental pet-friendly doesn't have to mean that guests' animals have full domain over your accommodation. You can specify that only certain areas of the house are open to pets and reduce the spread of hair and paw prints. When guests check-in, you can explain this to them, as well as strictly enforce the rule by installing a couple of strategically-located safety gates, if you so desire.

In a Double Door Pet Crate from Petvalu.com, this Golden Retriever won't be chewing anyone's slippers. Remember to close the doors, though!

If you're not happy with the visual impact of gates, you can install a door closer, which automatically closes doors after you. Another alternative is providing an animal crate, which will give guests the option to leave their pet unattended overnight and for small periods of time during the day while ensuring they cannot escape and wreak havoc on your rental.

Storage units and loose cables

The image above is a few of my books after my own dog had gotten to them. Luckily, I had already read them! That day, I learned a valuable lesson: never store anything within reach of prying paws. Keep books and treasured photos on shelves around eye level, and make sure there are no "stepping stones" nearby that adventurous animals can use to climb up.

With storage units and cupboards that are closer to ground level, consider installing child-proof (and therefore, pet-proof!) locks and catches, so that only your human guests can open them. Loose cables often prove too tantalizing for many animals, so try tying them together and fix them to the wall. Not only will they be a less appealing distraction for animals, but it will also make your rental a lot tidier and easier to clean, saving you time in the long run.

Garden

Human guests love a nice garden, but animal guests love them even more! It's easy, though, for animals to escape from an unsecured garden, so make sure your garden is completely enclosed—with appropriately-sized fencing or walls running around the whole perimeter. Make sure there is nothing that determined animals can use to help them make their escape. If you are concerned about curious creatures making holes in your garden patch, burying chicken wire, flat rocks, and citrus peel is a good way to deter digging doggies.

This Pet Bathing Sprayer Grooming Glove by Innovations Plus is great for cleaning up a dirty dog.

For smaller animals, an uncovered pool can be a risk. An unattended animal may jump or fall in and be unable to get out again. A pool cover will prevent this from happening, as well as keeping out other undesirables, like leaves and insects, when not in use. Another cool feature to have is a garden hose; guests can use it to hose down particularly muddy dogs after rainy hikes in the woods, therefore avoiding all that dirt being brought in (it’s also a good idea to leave a towel out for drying down that wet dog).

Toys and rules

Click on the image above for a list of great dog toys and here for a list of great cat toys!

Keeping a selection of good pet toys at your rental is a sure way to keep animals occupied and distracted. After playtime, they'll be too tired to even think about scratching the furniture! Keep them in area where you are most worried about damage, and leave a couple of tennis balls in the garden, too, for a cheap and easy way to entertain and tire out energetic dogs.

A couple of strategically-placed Post-It notes will help remind guests to not let the dog go upstairs.

Remember, it is standard practice for any rental owner to provide some ground rules for guests, so don't be afraid to add a few more that are pet-specific. As mentioned above, you might want to make some parts of the rental off-limits to animals, which is a reasonable request that most pet owners will understand.

It's also a good idea to leave your rules written and displayed in an obvious place, like the front door or kitchen wall, as a gentle reminder. We also recommend putting the details of the nearest vet and animal emergency center somewhere in the accommodation; it's a thoughtful touch that will be greatly appreciated, no matter whether they are needed or not.


If you haven't read it yet, be sure to check out our blog with our top tips for creating the ideal listing for your unique accommodation, too!

GH Tips: How to make the perfect listing

By Eric Wright

A listing is so much more than a few words and a handful of photos. In order to create the perfect listing—and get your accommodation the attention it deserves and the bookings you want—we've gathered our insider knowledge to maximize your rental's potential and make it shine among its competitors. The following handy tips are an easy way to ensure your property will make it to the top of every Glamping Hub user's list.

1. Photos are everything

We've all heard the common phrase that "a picture is worth a thousand words," and this idiom couldn't be truer when it comes to giving your listing the best chance of getting attention from guests, and ultimately, bookings.

The image is the first thing that will draw a guest's eye, and for this reason, they need to be bright, clear, full of color, and capture the uniqueness of your accommodation. We realize that paying a professional photographer can be pricey, but don't underestimate the power of a smartphone or a point-and-shoot camera! You'd be amazed at the high quality, clean, and attractive images you can produce with the click of a button.

The best photos contain plenty of natural light (open those windows and doors!), have a wide angle that allow the guest to be able to imagine themselves at your rental, and, of course, have an outstanding exterior picture that sums up the property.

2. Catchy titles

In general, a listing with a clear and attractive title will gain a higher click-through rate from potential guests. It's a matter of succinctly summing up the property, while showing off your accommodation's best features. If you've got it, flaunt it! If you have a pristine pool with mountain views or a hot tub under the stars, we need to make sure potential guests know right off the bat.

3. Location, location, location

While guests looking for their next getaway will most likely have already searched for the city or area that they want to stay, using a popular tourist destination in the title and within the text can give that extra push to get more page views and bookings.

With hundreds of millions of visitors flocking to national parks in the U.S. each year, using these popular spots in the title is a great way to attract fellow nature lovers. Is your property within walking distance to a gorgeous beach or an epic peak in the mountains? We need to say so to ensure guests know the best attractions in the area right away.

4. Clear and up-to-date descriptions

Glamping Hub guests are usually outdoor explorers looking to take a unique vacation in a one-of-a-kind accommodation, and for that reason, having an appealing description of the property is a must. If your tree house has a deck high up in the branches with sprawling views of the mountains, guests need to be told! At the same time, over-exaggerating the quality can be counterproductive for a more rustic rental.

Ensuring the listing is up-to-date in terms of local attractions and events can also be key. If there's a new music festival in the area or an adventure center that has recently opened up, potential guests will thank you for letting them know about it.

5. Good reviews

One of the most important parts of a listing is the reviews from past guests. Looking at an accommodation with no reviews can make guests hesitant, so good reviews are a way that for them to connect to the property on a more personal level. Reviews allow guests to put more trust into the rental and significantly increase the likelihood of them booking.

For this reason, it's absolutely crucial for hosts to make sure guests have a memorable and comfortable stay to ensure those attractive reviews build up and further improve the quality of the listing.

6. Be a proactive host

For this last one, we're going to remove your accommodation from the equation and focus solely on you. Being a proactive host is equally as important as having quality photos and an accurate description on your listing.

The most basic first step is the importance of having your profile filled out correctly, in particular, your payout information. Without this, even interested guests won't be able to book your amazing accommodation.

Moreover, be sure that your calendars are synced and to review your rates regularly, so guests are always seeing the most accurate prices available. Our Support team is also ready to help with both of these tasks whenever you should need it!

Your interactions with guests are another critical component, and high responsiveness to guest inquiries and booking requests will not only boost your income, but ensure that guests leave you positive reviews.

P.S. Activate instant book

With the upcoming introduction of the new host dashboard on Glamping Hub, navigating your booking inquiries and requests will be way more user-friendly. What's more, this new dashboard will allow you to easily activate the instant book feature.

Why activate this, you ask? The ability to book an accommodation instantly has proven to be extremely attractive to today's travelers, completely eliminating the wait time between requesting to book and confirmation from the host. At the end of the day, this means more revenue for you and less hassle for both you and your guests.


If you're a Glamping Hub host—or looking to be—stay tuned for more amazing blog content written just for you. While you're here, don't forget to check out our incredible Hosts of the Month this month in Washington and Colorado, too!