How to survive house-sitting and cluttered Airbnbs

How to survive house-sitting and cluttered Airbnbs

This article is for anyone who plans to do house-sitting or stay in an Airbnb.

The attraction of house-sitting

The main attraction of house-sitting is that you get free or reduced price accommodation for a period of time.

This can be very useful if you are doing nothing in particular with your life, wish to experience living in a few different places, or have fallen on hard times and need somewhere cheap to live while getting back on your feet. It may also suit you if you are not quite sure which direction you want to take so don’t want to commit to a long-term rental or owning a place of your own.

House-sitting often involves watering plants or looking after a pet, so if you enjoy doing that and are good at it, if can be a beneficial arrangement for both you and the owner of a property.

The downside of house-sitting

There are downsides to house-sitting, however. The main one is that you have to live surrounded by all the owner’s possessions. Most of the closets and drawers may be full so there is nowhere to put your own things, and if the choice of furniture and décor is not to your liking, there’s not much you can do about it.

But the biggest downside is one that most people don’t even consider. It is that we rest our consciousness on the physical structure of the building we live in and all the items in it. So a house-sit situation can never truly feel like home. When you live in someone else’s home, you are resting your consciousness on their possessions, not your own. This means you never feel like you can fully own the space, and the knock-on effect of this can be that you don’t feel in control of navigating your own life.

Some people handle this better than others, it’s true. If you’re the “wherever I lay my hat, that’s my home” type of person epitomized in the pop song made famous by Paul Young back in the Eighties, or the digital nomad type of entrepreneur who only needs a WiFi connection in order to function, you can make your home anywhere.

But even so, you will probably grow weary of this over time and want to find a place to put down roots.  With the exception of a few ethnic tribes who naturally have a deep connection to land energies and prefer to move around than stay in one place, most people feel fatigued by not having a place to call home.

Airbnbs

Airbnbs are not house-sits but can present many of the same problems that house-sitting does. This is because a surprising number of owners use the property they rent out to store things they no longer use but can’t quite bear to part with.

One example that Richard and I came across was a classy Airbnb where it turned out that the only closet available for storing clothes was locked. When we asked the owner about it, she admitted that it contained the overspill of her own clothes that she no longer wore but still wanted to keep. That was a shame because we would have stayed longer if there had been somewhere to unpack our things to.

In another Airbnb we stayed in, many of the drawers and closets were packed full of worthless things belonging to the owner, dating back several years to when it had been his own home. He just couldn’t be bothered to clear them out. Of course, none of this showed in the online photos on Airbnb’s website. It only became obvious after we arrived and started trying to unpack.

Looking online, I’ve found many other comments from Airbnb-ers who’ve had similar experiences. With so much clutter in the world, it’s pot-luck what you get.

So what can you do?­­­­

Here are some tips to improve your experience of staying in a house-sit or Airbnb rental that is full of the owner’s belongings….

Pack the owner’s things away
This won’t work for tiny properties or short lets but is a great solution for larger, long-term rentals. Photograph everything, including inside closets and drawers, then box everything up and store it somewhere where it won’t be in your way. When it’s time to hand the property back to the owner, unbox everything and put it back where it was before.

I did this myself a couple of times when house-sitting in my twenties. It took some time and effort but was very worthwhile because I was there for a few months, not just a week or two.

However, it meant that an entire area of the feng shui bagua of the home was clogged by the owner’s stuff and I noticed this did have a corresponding effect on that aspect of my life. So in my next house-sit the following year, I went one step further and used some of the rent money I was saving by living there to put the boxes in a commercial self-storage facility instead. I found that worked much better.

Strategically position some personal items of your own
The next thing you can do to make the property feel more like home is to place some decorative items of your own in prominent positions, such as the first thing you see when you enter, the centre of the dining table, on your bedside table, and so on. This works particularly well if the rest of the surface in that area is completely clear of the owner’s stuff and the items you choose are ones that make you smile and uplift your energy each time you see them.

Another tip comes from the time when Richard and I rented houses in the UK for a couple of years. A treat we gave ourselves was to remove the landlords’ cheap plastic toilet seats and replace them with luxurious buttock-friendly soft-closing toilet seats made of oak.

Forgive the graphic detail that follows but peeing and pooing is one of the ways the animal part of us grounds our energy in a place, so a simple thing like changing the toilet seat to something you really like can make a heck of a difference to how at home you feel. And the great thing about toilet seats — apart from the silly square modern designs that don’t fit anyone’s anatomy — is that they are usually a fairly standard shape and size so can easily be moved from one property to the next.

Clear the energies of the bed
Over time, a mattress becomes deeply imprinted with the energy of whoever sleeps in it. In a house-sit, this will be the owner’s energy. In an Airbnb, it could be multiple imprints left by the kind of people you would never consciously choose to share a bed with. In both cases, the remedy is a technique I call bed-thwacking.

Something else you can do, if circumstances allow, is to use your own pillow and bedding instead of the landlord’s. This may not be practical for a short stay but it’s definitely something to consider for a longer stay. Bedding materials are a very individual choice and it is much more nurturing to sleep in the bedding materials you like, even if you have to put up with a bed frame and mattress that wouldn’t be your own personal choice.

Space clear the property
Something Richard and I do in every property we stay in is to space clear it soon after moving in to remove the energies of the previous occupants and instill new, higher frequencies that support us.

In today’s mobile lifestyle, space clearing is an essential twenty-first-century life skill and the most effective way I know to take energetic ownership of a space. In a house-sit situation, this is absolutely essential. It will remove any stagnant energies that surround the owner’s belongings, and depending on your level of space clearing skill, it will also remove the historical imprints in the walls, furniture and the owner’s belongings.

Towards the end of a house-sit, it’s a good idea to space clear again to clear out your own energies and hand a fresh, energetically clear property back to the owners. Most of them really appreciate this and comment on how nice it feels but I do remember one man who complained to me that his home no longer felt like home. All I can say about that is that it’s one of the possible downsides for owners. When house-sitters stay in your home, for better or for worse, when you return it’s very unlikely to feel like the place you left.

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Copyright © Karen Kingston 2019


About Karen Kingston

Karen Kingston is a leading expert in clutter clearing, space clearing, feng shui and healthy homes. Her two international bestselling books have combined sales of over three million copies in 26 languages and have established themselves as "must read" classics in their fields. Her best-known title, Clear Your Clutter with Feng Shui, is now in its fourth edition. She is best known for her perspective-changing insights and practical solutions that enable more conscious navigation of 21st-century living.
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