What’s the most important single room in your Cape Cod vacation rental when it comes to managing your summer rentals? You know it’s the kitchen. A big part of the reason so many people rent private homes like yours instead of staying at a resort is they get to prepare their own meals and save a pile of money on restaurant tabs.

So the kitchen is absolutely key. Rather than give you a laundry list of everything you should have and do in your kitchen to meet rental guest expectations, we thought it might be more useful (and frankly, more fun to read) to point out the most common mistakes and how to avoid making them.

Dodge the hodgepodge.

Especially in older homes and cottages, too often we open the kitchen cabinet to find a random assortment of dishes of various patterns, often chipped or otherwise worn, probably the residue of premium gifts Grandma got from three different banks for opening those money market accounts back in the 70’s and 80’s.

Not only does this motley collection make for an unattractive dinner table presentation, it also sends a negative message to your rental guests. It says that you think, “What the heck. Good enough. It’s only a rental.” When guests feel the owner doesn’t care much about the property, they tend to adopt that same perspective. Not good, if you’d like them to treat your property with care and respect.

Same thinking applies to the rest of your kitchen equipment, such as flatware, glasses, pots and pans. They should all be matching sets and in A-1 condition. If not, it’s time for an upgrade.

As insignificant as it may seem, the kitchen hodgepodge syndrome is a shining example of the “Broken Windows” management philosophy we covered in a former post, which you can find HERE.

Coffee mugs runneth over.

Do coffee mugs actually reproduce and multiply in the darkness of Cape Cod’s kitchen cabinets? Seems that way to us sometimes. We’ve counted as many as 16 mugs taking up fully 50% of one cabinet’s space! Weed ‘em out, baby.

Another prime example of kitchen clutter you can do without: plastic storage containers. Good to have a few, hopefully a matched set. But get rid of those so-old-they’re-faded former goat cheese containers. And any others that don’t have covers that fit right.

You know that roasting pan you used for the Thanksgiving turkey one year? Pack it up and get it out of the kitchen. Roasting pans and summer vacations do not go together.

Do the same thing with your favorite bundt cake pan and that egg poacher. Gotta go.

Rental guests need space in cabinets and drawers for their stuff, instead of having it spread all over the counter tops all vacation long. That means you need to get out the clutter that no one will ever miss. You can always put it back after the rental season is over.

Everything is not in its place.

Are the skillets and sauce pans nicely nested by size? Are the glasses likewise lined up in order? How about that utility drawer? Are like items grouped together? Toss out those old chopsticks. And get those tongs untangled from that whip whisk.  Thank you.  You need drawer organizers for more than just the flatware.

By the way, the organization of kitchen equipment is something that needs checking as part of your turnover day prep. Every turnover day. There’s one other kitchen thing to check each week that the cleaning service is likely to overlook. Crumbs (or even dirt, yuck!) in the flatware drawer tray. Definitely a guest turn-off you want to avoid.

You’d be amazed at how well people mirror the condition of things when they arrived. If it’s mess then, it’ll be a mess when they leave. If things are neat and organized when they first encounter them, most people will put them back that way when they leave. Make it easy for guests and usually, they will respond!