While writing property clinic stories over the last few weeks, you may have noticed that I repeatedly commented on tidying up rooms before taking photographs. While in our homes, we have the luxury of a little untidiness, as a homestay we don’t – just as we expect a hotel we stay in to be neat to a fault, the space we offer to our guests have to be obsessively tidy. Homestays, however, present an additional problem of storage.
Homestays will go through bedlinen very quickly, as every new guest will expect a fresh set, and even long stay guests will need a change every second or third day. Storing enough bedlinen to have a buffer would mean that you have at least four sets per bedroom. You’d also need additional pillows, sheets, hand towels and so on. The linen cupboard, therefore, becomes very important.
You should distinguish between bedlinen that’s extra, but available to the guest directly, such as extra pillows, sheets, and comforters stored in the guest’s bedroom, and bedlinen that you’re holding in reserve for the next change. Linen takes a lot of storage space, and should be fresh and crisp when used. It should also not get musty, and be protected against insects. Most importantly, linen should be easy to access when needed, but easy to store securely in the off-season.
You should, of course, have a full list of bedlinen that you have in stock, grouped in sets for usage. This should include, but not be limited to, bedsheets, pillow covers, extra pillows, blankets, duvets, duvet covers and bed-covers, tablecloth, napkins, table mats, curtains, sheer curtains, rugs, bath towels, hand towels and bathmats.
While you’d store ready linen in your store (as above), remember to have mothballs in your linen cupboards. Mothballs can be made out of naphthalene or PDB, but these are poisonous and need careful handling. Camphor mothballs are safer.
Linen that you need to store during the off-season is best stored in vacuum bags. These are not yet, as far as I know, available in India, but you can order them online. These are airtight bags with a valve that allows you to remove all the air inside with a vacuum cleaner. Not only do these bags keep linen airtight and mould- and moth-free, they have the added advantage of compressing the air out of duvets and pillows, so that they become flat and stackable.
After bedlinen, the next set of items requiring lots of storage space are things like soap, shampoos, conditioners, body lotion, combs, shower caps, toothbrushes, toothpaste, shaving kits, needlework kits, shoe polish, toilet paper rolls and so on that you’ll keep stocking in the guest-rooms, and air fresheners, cleaning materials and brushes for your housekeeper. If you supply guestroom consumables in small containers like hotels do, guests will frequently take them home as souvenirs, and you should have sufficient stock at all times. In any case, these consumables must be stored separately from the bedlinen, as leakages could damage the linen.
A set of differently sized drawers in your storeroom would be ideal, as in the examples below.
If you do not have a dedicated storeroom, you could use a decorative unit as in the top left unit, with attractive wicker or plastic storage boxes. However, it will be difficult for you to control usage of the consumables if you do not have a separate storeroom.
Next week, we’ll look at kitchen, under-bed and bathroom storage options.