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Board games and jigsaw puzzles - what to do moving forward?

Many of our guests have commented about the time spent playing board games. They seem to enjoy having them available. I have to be honest that I have never cleaned any of the board games or game pieces. Now in these times of COVID-19 and the new cleaning protocols is this something we need to consider?

Not knowing if the games have been played, especially if someone has not mentioned using them, would mean having to “sanitize” all of them. This would be time-consuming, wiping down the boards and pieces with Lysol wipes and in my opinion, not worth the time spent. I am considering removing games and puzzles from our place.

What are your thoughts on this - remove them or leave them and post a sign “These games have not been sanitized, play at your own risk”?

You should remove them and all the other stuff that is likely to be touched unless you want to clean it. I’m removing handouts, instructions, brochures, magazines, throw pillows. Anything that is purely decorative. With my low prices and upgraded cleaning protocol it’s just not worth it to me to have that stuff sitting in there.

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I have been considering doing the same. Are you going to take new photos to post so guests won’t miss the “throw pillows, magazines, brochures, etc” that may have been visible in current photos?

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None of that was really showing in the pictures. I only airbnb a small guest room with mostly short stays. No one chooses my place for a magazine or throw pillow.

If a guest needs something they can ask for it. I’m right next door.


I took out all the throw pillows and throws and lots of smaller unnecessary stuff but I did not think of the games and cards in the kids room closet. Shit, this sucks for a place like mine where this stuff really gets used.

I am formulating this plan as I type, but maybe pull it all out and buy decks of cards that are sealed. Leave a note, tell the guests to keep the cards as your gift. It will end up being another consumable but it will help fill the hole left by pulling all the games. A quick look at walmart online and they have some for 88 cents a deck, amazon starts at about a dollar.



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I agree that guests don’t choose a place based on the unnecessary stuff. However, I wouldn’t want them commenting that the place was “not as pictured”. Current bedroom photos have throw pillows. The game closet is pictured, magazines and brochures in the lounge, etc.

I have convinced myself to take new bare bones photos.


Rotate them. If you just remove them after each guest and replace with another few, you can then put the ones you’ve removed back after a week- even if there was any virus on them, it wouldn’t be viable anymore. Doesn’t mean you have go out and buy more- if there were 6 board games and 2 puzzles on the shelf and a deck of cards, just leave 3 games, 1 puzzle and another deck of cards.
You could do the same with throw pillows or anything else. Just like hosts usually have multiple sets of bedding for quick change-overs, there’s no reason why you can’t do the same with other things.


I think it’s worth thinking about guest perceptions. A host may tell me something is cleaned or disinfected but that doesn’t mean it is. Years ago when I said I put a fresh roll of TP for the beginning of each new stay I said it’s about the subliminal message it sends the guest about cleanliness. That’s what stickers on doors and strips of paper across toilet seats are supposed to do as well. The less clutter and fewer textiles I see in a listing, the more it appeals to me.

Yes, I hate clutter and knicknacks and purely decorative items myself, unless it’s just a picture hanging on the wall. But I can see that if a host has a family-oriented listing, they might want to provide games and such, especially if they’ve had a lot of guests comment on how nice it was to find them there. I guess the host could say they rotate those things, and if the guest doesn’t want to believe that, they certainly aren’t obligated to use them. But cutting down on what is provided seems like a good idea, as well.

I’ve never had unnecessary stuff in our rentals because of the idea that the more that’s in there, the more I have to clean.

We have games and cards because this area is prone to sudden power outages.

I suspect (at the moment) that people who are really worried about sanitizing and hygiene won’t be travelling for many months to come, if not longer. Those who have to, and are concerned, will ask about hygiene and travel with their own hand sanitizer, Lysol and so on. I always have spray Lysol and Clorox wipes on hand for guests anyway.

So for the moment, our rentals will keep the games that are supplied in a drawer. I’ve never had guests mention that they’ve used then, ever. I check every time of course and they look to be untouched.

So I’m pretty sure that they’ve never been used, ever. But if I was going to an Airbnb and was worried about hygiene and couldn’t be without my backgammon or chess for the duration I’d take my own. I imagine that many guests would feel the same way.

So I’m leaving ours where they are for now.


I would leave a canister of Clorox wipes next to the board games so guests can wipe whatever they want to play with. If I had the time, I would wipe it all but I don’t think many guests really use them that often.


As a guest I would not expect board games to be sanitized. I could use them if I felt comfortable or choose not to. Guests need to take some personal responsibility. I have hand sanitizer in every unit. They could use on their hands after playing said game.


My listing has throw pillows (1 on bed, 2 on sofa, 1 on each lounge chair). They have since been removed and I explain the reasons in a note I leave for them. I believe that most guests will be appreciative of a host’s effort to provide a sanitary environment, and will understand the reasons for pandemic modifications, if not make them even more at ease by the precautions taken.

I think each host needs to make a decision on items that they think their guests will miss (or not). For those that you think are invaluable (i.e. games) you might provide some ‘ASKs’ of the guests; in this case, that they leave out whatever games that have been used, so that those games will be sanitized prior to next guests arrival.

This is what I leave for each guest.


I honestly don’t see any reason to remove throw pillows unless you had a luxurious amount of them. Anyone with a sewing machine and basic sewing skills can make throw pillow covers with zippers, that can be thrown in the wash with the rest of the bedding. If you are leaving 24 hours between guests, I haven’t read anything that contradicts the findings that the virus doesn’t live more than 24 hours on porous surfaces like cloth, so even if someone was infected and put their mouth on the pillow, whatever worked its way through the washable pillow cover to the pillow below, would no longer be viable.
I wouldn’t have throw pillows without washable covers in a rental or even in my own space even before coronavirus. That just seems yucky to me, I don’t care whether you spray them with Lysol or not.


Good point abut brochures. I’m gong to fully digitize my manual and just leave a sheet of paper with the URL.


I’ve added to my listing that the host has the right to change the bedding, linens and decorations from what it shown. I will add a comment about sterilization and COVID. Now if only I had guests :wink:


That’s an excellent idea so that guests know exactly what they’re getting before they arrive. Photos from the phone are perfectly good and only take a minute. It’s worth the time to make sure that guests aren’t misled.

So true. I think I’ve written here before that I once went into a hotel that had those paper sanitized-for-your-protection things on the loo - with about half a dozen cockroaches crawling along it. Saying that something is done doesn’t mean that it’s really happened.

I agree. We tend to think that it’s all down to us to provide everything we can possibly think of but it isn’t. I always tell guests to contact me if they need anything at all. It’s pretty rare that anyone does - guests are people too. :rofl:


I used CV19 as an excuse to remove them. I never liked them to begin with.


I love a good throw pillow debate.

That’s why I removed the one throw pillow (with removable cover). At my prior price point (under $50) things add up quickly. A second towel, a throw pillow cover, extra pillow case and pillow protector, and now it’s not two loads of laundry it’s three. I’ve taken the rug out because the extra time to switch out rugs and clean the one taken out is an extra 10 minutes. I know there are competing hosts who aren’t doing anything different because they know the guest won’t be able to tell. I can’t do that in good conscience but to remain competitive, especially when I’ll have a half to a third of the business I previously had, I’m going to consider every angle.


I don’t either. Ours have removable covers that get washed and we actually have 2 sets so that we don’t have to wash them as we flip the apartment. For someone to get covid into the actual pillow they would have to sneeze very heartily directly into the pillow multiple times and even then it’s unlikely to have viable virus in it that then somehow gets out beyond the pillow cover to the next guest :rofl: At the point that you’re dealing with that you should also sanitize the ceilings so that anyone else who touches the ceiling might not get sick. e.g. it’s not a reasonable fear.

If you don’t like throw pillows, so be it. Covid can be your excuse. But I’ve never sat on a couch or in a chair (especially in an Airbnb) that was comfortable for reading without a throw pillow.

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