Preparing Your Home for an Exchange

Preparing Your Home for an ExchangeWhen getting your home ready for a home exchange, there are good and bad components. The good thing is it makes you clean out your pantry, organize your closets a bit, and straighten out your dresser drawers.  The bad thing about a home exchange is that you have to clean out your pantry, organize your closets a bit, and straighten out your dresser drawers.  Yes, it’s good to do those things but it’s bad because it’s right when you’re packing to get ready to go on a trip!  When I’m preparing our home for an exchange, I have all the best intentions about being ready and packed early but it generally turns into a mad scramble.

I’d like to tell you that my pantry and refrigerator are always organized but they’re not.  (That’s another plus to meal planning – it makes you dig around in your pantry every week and see what you’ve got!)

I’d like to tell you that all of our closets are clean but they’re not.  They usually have a gang of dust bunnies ready to attack whoever dares to disturb them.

Preparing Your Home for an Exchange

I’d like to tell you my dresser drawers are neat and tidy.  Ok, they are.  My dresser drawers are pretty neat and tidy but only because I don’t share them with anyone and I’m usually running down to the basement to get my clean clothes off the drying line because they don’t even make it into my dresser drawers!

Preparing Your Home for an Exchange

Tips for a home exchange

  • Leave an empty drawer.  Leave an empty dresser drawer or 2 for your home exchange family.  It’s so nice to put your things in a dresser drawer rather than live out of a suitcase.  A note directing them to their space is a nice touch.
  • Make room in each closet.  This is simply scooting items down and rounding up some empty hangers.  I like to leave different types of hangers – jackets, skirts, padded, etc.  This is also a good time to get my kids to clean their treasures off of their desks.
  • Make room in the kitchen. Make space in a cabinet, drawer or pantry for your home exchange family.  I consolidate what’s in my pantry and scoot our food to the back.
  • Replace what you use.  If we use all of the olive oil or the last of the chocolate sauce, we replace it with new.  The last family we traded with didn’t replace but left us money to do so.  Either is fine.
  • Put out a clean sponge.  I always leave a new kitchen sponge for a home exchange family and I always travel with a new sponge (nerd alert!).  On our first exchange, I took one look at the sponge and thought, “Is this what they scrub the floor with or clean their dishes with?”  That was the last time I wondered.
  • Leave a little gift.  I like to welcome people into our house with a homemade treat of cookies or granola and a note.  A bottle of wine is also a nice way to say enjoy your vacation at our place.
  • Leave a thank you note.  We all enjoy reading the note that gets left behind at our home.  It’s not every day people you don’t know stay in your house and  sleep in your beds and it’s great to read about what they did or enjoyed.  We always leave a thank you note and everyone signs it.

Preparing Your Home for an ExchangeWe always try to leave the home we stayed in nicer than when we showed up.  That’s not always easy to do because the homes we’ve stayed in have all been clean, comfortable, and welcoming.  That’s how I want people to think of my home – and not have to wonder where the sponge has been…

What’s on your travel to-do list this summer?

Go Gingham related links:

Our first home exchange is here
Why I love home exchanges is here
Vacation meal planning can be found here
Travel packing tips with a PDF chart are here

You can sign-up for InterVac Home Exchange service by clicking the image below. Type in the name “TETREAULT” at checkout and receive $5.00 off your membership. InterVac is short for International Vacation but you can do exchanges within your own country as well. This is the website we’ve used for all 7 and soon to be 8 of our home exchanges. If you’d like me to speak to your group or organization about home swapping, frugal living with style or blogging, please check here.

Intervac Home Exchange
Go Gingham Affiliate link

Sara

Sara, creator of Go Gingham, is passionate about cooking and feeding her family healthy, real food. She's a green enthusiast, too, who loves to grow food organically. Sara loves to travel - especially by trading houses. An avid runner, she can also be found chasing after her chickens in the backyard.

11 Comments


  1. When it comes to leaving instructions for appliances, how far do you go? Do you expect them to use your laundry appliances and leave instructions? Do you have a “user’s manual” for your entire house, indicating the little quirks – like the doors that don’t close all the way, the fuses that might blow, etc.?

    I would definitely travel with a sponge too. We regularly have well-meaning dinner guests who “help” with the dishes by washing them with my counter sponge. After attempting to dissuade them, I just keep a mental list of the items I will wash again later.


    1. Hi Liana,
      I leave out a “house tricks” folder with notes about leaky faucets, swelling doors, and recycling how-tos. Oh, and sticky locks. Every home we stayed in has a list. I leave out my appliance manual binder so that if they’re wondering how my ancient washing machine works, it’s right there. This is giving me an idea for another post….thanks Liana!


  2. What a great post! Love the practical details. The hardest to do is creating space in the closet. Squish!


    1. Shelley, thanks and yes, so true – and you would know, you home swapping expert! I usually use the home swap as a way to get my kids to clean out their closets, too. Why not work it?? Thanks…


  3. You make home-exchanging seem so do-able! I swear, I am going to make my kids do this someday – it just makes sense!


    1. Just schedule it!! Your kids will love it once they’re in another home, I promise! Just tuck their treasures away so they won’t worry. Go for it!


  4. We have done several home exchanges before and they’ve always been a great success! We are able to go explore places we would never have been able to afford as a result. This June we’re off to Saint Croix in the USVI on our second exchange there! Thanks for sharing this at Natural Mother’s Seasonal Celebration Sunday! x


    1. Rebecca, that’s so true about vacations being more affordable when you exchange! We love having the kitchen as an option to restaurant food, too. Have a great trip this summer. Happy travels!


  5. House swapping is a great way to see the world and experience new cultures on a budget. If you’d like to advertise your house swap you can do so for free on International Living’s new classified website http://classifieds.internationalliving.com/. Enter the code 100LB110712 on the payment screen to avail of this once off discount, valid until the end of July.


  6. Travels-with-new-sponge, YES!!! Also pack my favorite apron and a pair of rubber gloves! My family thinks I’m nuts, but how do you enjoy a kitchen without your essential gear?

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