You want to list your home or room on Airbnb, but your place is packed. Don’t worry — stashing some stuff in storage will allow you to host with ease.

Deciding what to store is a first step toward getting your space ready, said Sara Eizen, a Seattle Airbnb host and professional organizer who streamlines and designs Airbnb spaces. For example, if you’re renting out your whole home, you’ll want to store:

  • Personal items and memorabilia such as family photo albums, old yearbooks and that plastic tub full of journals where you wrote your heart out as a teen. Anything you wouldn’t want someone to flip through or read should get locked away, Eizen said.
  • Valuable or irreplaceable items  like expensive jewelry or family heirlooms. For example, Eizen treasures a porcelain, hand-painted lamp that belonged to her great-grandmother. Her Airbnb space has a separate entrance. “But, if I were to rent my personal house, I would pack that away and just go buy a cute lamp from Target so I wouldn’t have to worry about it,” she said.
  • Medications and toiletries  and bathroom items like razors, personal towels and nail clippers should get stashed away, Eizen said.
  • Private documents  including medical records, old tax forms and bank information should be put in a secure area before a guest stays in your home, Eizen said.
  • Some kinds of books. If you have a large number of books, consider putting away any controversial, personal or rare books and leaving out general interest reads, novels and pretty books about the local area.

However, if you’re renting out a room, you’ll need to keep more personal stuff in your home. In this case, you could stick your own toiletries in a locking cabinet in your bathroom, put your more personal books in your own bedroom and get a safe for valuables.

Storing Your Stuff Out of Sight

If you’re lucky, you might have a locking basement, closet or spare bedroom where you can store your excess stuff. If not, you have two main options, self-storage or valet storage:

  • Self-storage — You rent a storage space at a nearby facility, pack your stuff in boxes and deliver it to your storage unit. You hold a lock and key, so you can retrieve or add items when you want to. Leases are typically month-to-month, so you can move out when you wish.
  • Valet storage —  You use a company like Closetbox or Makespace, which sends an employee to your home to pack your stuff into provided containers. You can keep track of your items with an app, and order delivery of anything you want back at any time. It’s more convenient, but also costs more than self-storage.

The good news? You should be able to deduct the cost of storage as a business expense, said Miguel Centeno, managing partner at Shared Economy Tax, a firm that specializes in clients who work in the shared economy.

“Specifics always apply, but generally if you’re doing something for a business purpose, it’s tax deductible,” Centeno said.

The IRS allows you to deduct a business expense when it’s both ordinary and necessary, he said. However, you could run into a gray area if you already had a storage space before you became an Airbnb host, Centento said.

“In that case, you’d split it based on the number of square feet you use for personal vs. business,” he said.

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Allie Johnson