Your Second Home: 10 Things to Keep in the Owner's Closet

Plenty of people who own vacation homes rent them out for the majority of the season. Many people couldn’t afford the second mortgage if they didn’t! Most of those homes have owner’s closets, and keeping yours well-stocked can make your second home feel more like yours, even if it’s usually occupied by renters. If you decide you need one, a well-stocked owner’s closet means you can pop in for the weekend without spending hours packing for the trip.

If you've ever rented a vacation home, you probably noticed that one closet, the locked one, labeled "owner's closet." What's in there? A dead body? The owner, spying on you? A bunch of taxidermied pets? Probably not. What should you keep in there now that you're renting out your home? Here are our top ten suggestions:

1. Linens.

Towels and sheets take up a lot of room in the car. You may even want to keep a special set of bed pillows if you have a preference.

2. A bottle of your favorite liquor or wine, or a six pack of your brew of choice.

Because who wants to go to the store after a long drive? If you’re a cocktail devotee, add a bottle of bitters, a few cans of bloody mary mix, a jar of olives, or anything else you need to make your favorite.

3. A toolbox for small repairs.

When you own a vacation home, you’ll notice little things every time you visit. A supply of nails and a few tools will ensure that you fix the wobbly cabinet or loose board on the dock before you head home.

4. Specialty kitchen supplies.

A regular blender might be enough for your renters, but if you use your Vitamix three times a week at home, you’ll want one for the mountain house, too. Pro Tip: Some retailers will give you a discount if you ‘re buying more than one of a high dollar item. If you’re buying one for home, and one for your home away from home, it can’t hurt to ask!

5. Extras that may not stand up to wear and tear if they’re used by a crowd.

One beach house owner keeps a Pawleys Island style rope hammock in the closet. It wouldn’t last as long if left out in the elements, and no renter wants to be responsible for hauling a hammock back into the house at the end of their stay. Some things will need to be replaced in your rental home every year anyway, so don't add to the burden.

6. A stash of plastic wrap, tin foil, sandwich bags, garbage bags, toilet paper, and anything else disposable that you don’t like to be without.

Heading to the store for one little necessity takes away from your valuable vacation time. And those zip bags will come in handy when it's time to head home, you look in the fridge at the leftovers, and realize the renters have managed to lose the tops of every single plastic storage container.

7. Basic toiletries and first aid items.

Shampoo, conditioner, razors, bug spray, bandages, sunscreen (just make sure to replace it when it expires), toothpaste...anything you would rather not pack in your toiletry kit. If you end up having to buy things while you’re there, lighten your load on the way home and leave them for next time.

8. Non-perishable kitchen basics.

Unopened bottles of olive oil and condiments, Worcestershire sauce, favorite dry spices, sugar, coffee, and vinegar. Look in your pantry at home, and make a list of what you use most.

9. Personal items you only use at the house.

This may be a sun hat and flip-flops for the beach, or a special pair of hiking boots for mountain trails. or maybe it's a frozen margarita machine. You do you.

10 Special decor.

Your grandmother owned the home before you, and her ceramic pelican collection -- you know, the ones with the hula skirts -- reminds you of being there with her. Taking them out and displaying them prominently when you arrive will put a smile on your face. Renters might not appreciate their “beauty.”

Now that your owner's closet is stocked to bring you joy, make sure you remember that your renters won't have access to it. We recommend staying at your place once a year without opening that closet. Here's why!