Maui Vacation Rentals

Outfitting Your Vacation Rental – Kitchen


When I decided to keep the condo I got in foreclosure and continue using it as a vacation rental, I tried to research how to outfit a place for vacation rental use.    I couldn’t find any practical information on things like what kind of linens to buy or how many sets of dishes per person.   I had thrown out everything that was in the unit when I got it so I was starting from scratch.    If you are in a similar position, I hope you find my posts on this subject helpful.


Opening cabinets of a condo you just bought, usually brings few surprises.   There is inevitably a cabinet full of glassware from the 90s, a few tacky shot glasses, a Snorkel Bob’s plastic water bottle and an odd assortment of dishware.   Melamine plates with flowers on the, like the ones we had as kids, are my personal nostalgic favorite.  Here are some lists to get your started on outfitting your vacation rental.

DISHES:   If you think your dishes could use some updating, I think all white is a great way to go.  You can easily replace anything that gets broken and it will always match.      On Maui, you can find these at Walmart, TJ Maxx, Target, Macys and sometimes Costco.   I recommend at least 2 sets per person if you have a 4 – 6 person occupancy

SERVING DISHES:    For 4-6 guests,  I keep at least 2 serving bowls, 2 salad bowls and two platters. Guests appreciate having a serving tray for serving food and another one, preferably with sides, that they can use to carry food out to the BBQs.    The later should be non-breakable like wood or plastic.   The drawer below the oven is a good place to store these (although guests may not find them).


Blender (preferably plastic)                                                          coffee maker (with instructions if you provide a French press or stove top type)                                                                           Electric kettle                                                                               Toaster                                                                                            Rice cooker (rice is a local staple in Hawaii)                             Coffee grinder

  • Nice to have but not required:                                                           hand held mixer, mini food processor, special items unique to    your rental area like skewers for roasting marshmellows.


colander                                                                                           mixing bowl set                                                                     measuring cups and spoons                                                             two frying pans – one 8-10” and the other 10-12” in GOOD    condition – no scratched Teflon pans allowed!                                             Note:  if rental sleeps more than 6, you may choose to have a                      third large pan.                                                                 2 qt pot                                                                                                  3 qt pot                                                                                            Stock pot or tall pot   (think soup, pasta, boiling corn, lobster etc)    Glass baking dish                                                                        Cookie sheet                                                                          Assortment of reusable plastic food containers.                                2 cutting boards – 1 small, 1 larger but both spotless – please don’t            store them under the sink – yuk!                                                  2 ice cube trays if you do not have an ice maker


8-10 tall glasses                                                                                    8-10 coffee mugs                                                                                  6  smaller glasses                                                                                  6-10 wine glasses (If I can find all purpose wine glasses at Costco, I                                  buy a case since they will get broken).         Some plastic cups for outdoors/pool area                              Optional:  plastic and styrofoam cup                                                                      insulated cups with lids                                                                          champagne glasses                                                                                stemless wine glasses  (less likely to spill)


 Plastic Spatula                                                                            Wooden spoon                                                                                 Salad tongs                                                                                      Oven mitts                                                                                        Can opener                                                                                      Pizza cutter                                                                                      Good quality set of knives                                                      Corkscrew                                                                                      Bottle opener (s)                                                                              Wire wisk                                                                                               2 large serving spoons                                                                      Ladle



Minimum for 4-6 guests    –    12 forks, spoons and knives                                                                   1 set of 6 steak knives

It is helpful to have more silverware, especially forks, because these will slowly disappear.    It never hurts to have a few extra locked in your owner’s closet.   Target carries individual pieces so you can supplement a basic set without buy the whole set.  I also keep some plastic forks around so that guests will have an option and not take my silverware to the beach.


This category of items contains some items that are not practical or safe for every host to keep in the kitchen.   If you have a unit that is not frequently booked or one that regularly has small children,  please consider whether it is prudent to include that item.


Most hosts leave basic condiments (salt, pepper, olive oil).   Because I manage my own unit and can monitor what is there prior to each booking, I have a larger spice selection, unopened half pound of coffee, individually wrapped tea bag selection, non-dairy creamer, sugar and sugar substitute packets, honey and cooking spray.   Prior to guest arrival, I place 6 bottles of water in the refrigerator and will also leave sodas or other unopened juice drinks that have been left by previous guests (no alcohol).


* Trash Bags:  I leave around 10 extra garbage bags under the sink.   You may not need this many but guests who come to Hawaii generally stay a week or longer.                                                             * One clean dish towel, dish rag and a sponge are left neatly folded on the counter.  Additional towels are in a drawer.                            * One large quality roll of paper towels with a second one under the sink.                                                                                                       * Dish soap, dishwasher soap pods and some cleaning supplies without bleach.  If you have carpeting, I would suggest leaving some carpet cleaner in case guests have a spill.                                 *   I include a broom, small whisk broom and dust pan.                     *   Foil, plastic wrap and ziplock plastic bags.                                     *  Placemats in a number equaled to the number of guests you can accommodate.  I like the woven plastic kind because they are easy to clean and are pretty much indestructible.   I don’t use fabric napkins but leave a package of good quality paper dinner napkins.                                                                                                        Other cleaning supplies:  Most of us are used to having cleaning supplies located under the sink.  If you have guests with children, you may want to consider putting those in a linen closet or in a high cabinet to keep them out of a child’s reach.   Stick to the basic supplies and try to avoid including cleaners or applicators that can damage your appliances or other kitchen surfaces. I don’t expect guests to clean anything except dishes prior to their departure but if they are here for several days, some cleaning will be necessary.

Other handy items:   scissors, paper/pens, scotch tape, an extra phone charger, lighter and matches, flashlight, broom, whisk broom with dust scooper, Swifter mop with wet & dry covers and a few clean rags (formerly white wash rags).

I realize this list is extensive but guests appreciate not having to run to the store the day they arrive and pick up basic items like garbage bags.    If your average length of stay is short, you may not need to include all these items.

When guests review your accommodations, it’s wonderful to have them comment that everything they needed was already here and that your place was spotless!   Good guest reviews are crucial to the success of your vacation rental!



(until we meet again)