How to Set Up a Vacation Rental Home Kitchen

June 28th, 2018 | By Claudia Moreno

Moxie Girl is always looking for ways to make your life as a Phoenix vacation rental home owner easier, more efficient and cost-effective!  The kitchen is one area that can be rampant with inefficiencies, if you’re not experienced. Read on as Moxie Girl guides you through setting up your vacation rental home kitchen in a way that gives your guests all the comforts they’ll need during their stay – and keeps it simple for YOU!

1.First Impressions

Your guests will expect to walk into a sparkling clean, fresh-smelling kitchen, with appliances in good working order, so don’t disappoint!  Moxie Girl recommends an empty fridge, with the exception of bottled water and perhaps a few squeezable condiments. We also recommend a lined trash can with a lid for the kitchen, to keep any odors on lockdown during your guests’ stay.

Opened cabinets and drawers should reveal clean surfaces and neatly organized gear.  Check the corners – especially in drawers – dust and debris like to gravitate there.

Keep any decorative items limited to things that can be easily cleaned and dusted. Decorations that are porous or include fibrous materials will only collect grease and dust, and who needs that?

2. Wake Up and Smell the Coffee (and the Toast)!

Even if they don’t plan to prepare any meals during their stay, a cup of coffee and/or a slice of toast are often how your guests get started in the morning.  If you choose a traditional coffee maker, a reusable filter is a great idea. Although a bit pricier, Keurig coffee makers are very popular choice too. Whichever you choose, regular and decaf coffee, sugar and powdered creamer are welcome amenities your guests will appreciate!

When choosing a toaster for your vacation rental home kitchen, be sure to find a model that’s easy to clean and de-crumb! If you’ve got a lot of counter space, a toaster oven may be an even better choice since they are more versatile and may deter the heat and mess of using the big oven for a small dish.

3. Honey, Where’s the…?

For most vacation rental home needs, the “basics” are enough.  Don’t clutter your kitchen cabinets, drawers and countertops with single-purpose gadgets.  One or two items, especially if related to other features of the home are okay– maybe a fancy hydraulic wine opener if your vacation rental boasts a wine fridge – but it’s always best to concentrate on the essentials.

Guests will tend to use whatever is made available to them.  So, while it’s important to cover the basics, you will only complicate your life (and your guest’s) by providing too many things.  Here’s a list of what your vacation rental home needs as far as general kitchen equipment:

Corkscrew/Bottle Opener

Can Opener

Spatula and Large Spoons for Cooking (2 of each is plenty – and make sure they are compatible with your pots and pans!)

Set of Measuring Spoons and a 1C Measuring Cup

A Pitcher with a Lid

A Set of Mixing/Serving Bowls

Set of Serving Utensils

Baking Sheet and Cake Pan

Set of Kitchen Knives

Cutting Board

Hot Pads

Salt and Pepper

Set of Pots and Pans with Lids (this should include a decent-sized skillet!

4. Let’s Eat (and Drink)!

When stocking your vacation rental home kitchen with dishes and silverware, consider how many guests the home accommodates. For most, a complete service for eight is sufficient.  So that’s eight each of drinking glasses, coffee mugs, bowls, salad plates, dinner plates and silverware settings. (Fun fact: a service of eight = approximately one full load in the dishwasher, and will encourage guests to wash the dishes!) If your vacation rental home accommodates 12 people, of course you’ll want 2 complete sets of eight.

Don’t forget to stock wine glasses and beer mugs or pint glasses, too – enough to cover the number of potential guests, plus a few extras.  Wine glasses tend to get broken more than anything else in the kitchen, so it never hurts to have an extra set of eight stored away for quick replacement between guests.

5. Clean-up and Supplies

Again, we’re covering the essentials here.  By stocking these simple supplies, you cover their needs while encouraging guests to clean-up after themselves, keeping your vacation rental home tidy during their stay!  Your guests should be able to easily locate these items, so choose logical placement, even if items are stored in a cabinet or drawer.

Small rolls of tin foil and plastic wrap

Trash liners to fit your lidded kitchen trash bin

Dishwashing liquid-this should be placed by the sink

Liquid handsoap-also placed by the sink

Dishwasher detergent or pods-this can be stored in a lower cabinet, near the dishwasher.  If you use detergent pods, those may be attractively placed with other “countertop” items like dishwashing liquid and handsoap. Also, think about posting some easy operating instructions for your dishwasher.  This will make your guests feel more comfortable in actually using it!

Small kitchen sponge-We like a non-scratch scrubby side on our sponge, too, just in case. Replace after each guest!

Paper towels -Moxie Girl recommends a mounted hanging paper towel roll or a countertop stand to keep towels clean and dry. An extra roll under the sink is also a good idea!

Paper Napkins- Your guests could use paper towels, but actual paper napkins can be more cost-effective, so it’s something to consider.

Clean, empty plastic grocery bags-A grocery bag is always handy to contain wet or messy kitchen trash, wet clothing or “just some things” your guests may need to carry or wrap.  And they’re FREE, so let’s make them available. You could even purchase a “bag-bag” – a neat way to store and dispense them!


Moxie Girl is chock full of excellent advice when it comes to stocking, cleaning and operating your vacation rental home! Check our blog frequently for more tips – we know you’ll find them helpful. And of course, Moxie Girl would be happy to take full charge of these tasks for you.  

If you have a vacation rental that you’d like some help with, we need just a few details about your vacation rental to get you a quote for our vacation rental cleaning services.