View of Long Barn through birch trees and clematis
Ikea bags of clean laundry for Long Barn changeover
Cleaning materials in bags on a wooden table

We get lots of comments whenever we post anything about behind the scenes on social media. So, we thought we’d let you see behind the scenes on a changeover day at the Long Barn. As you can imagine, turning round a large self-catering barn for 14 people is quite some job. There are 7 ensuite bathrooms and 9 toilets. Not to mention 3 ovens, a BBQ and wood burner to clean.

It’s hard work but we love it as it is so satisfying. Waving off one party of guests, and getting the barn set up for the next arrivals. It’s a far cry from our previous coporate lives and we love it.

7am – 9am:  The alarm goes off and we spring (slowly) into action (a cup of tea with our cats) as we get ready for the day ahead. We remind ourselves which guests are due in, how they want the beds set up and anything else they’ve asked for (from birthday bunting to highchairs and travel cots) We drop off the brownies for guests when we’ve heard* some signs of life in the courtyard and wish them well for their journey home.

*As the beech hedge has grown, it’s become difficult to know when guests arrive. The solution was for Ian to install a Wi-Fi “bonger” that rings in our house when it senses anyone in the courtyard. So, when we mysteriously appear just after you arrive, that’s how we know…

9 – 10am: We have a routine to get things prepped before our lovely cleaning team arrive. Hidden in the run of pig pens opposite the Long Barn are various stores along with the boiler. We head over to the laundry room where 7 Ikea blue bags are filled with all the towels and linen for each room. Vacuum cleaners are checked, bags filled with cleaning clothes and cleaning materials.

Guests leave at 9.30 (fingers crossed) so we can then sprint over the Long Barn and set it up. The dining room becomes a cleaning station with cleaning stuff, loo rolls, laundry sheet (to list everything going back to the laundry) The iPad is set up for a music play list or Radio 2 to keep us all entertained.

The girls arrive and their first job is to strip the beds. We do our checks. Jackie puts table mats, runners, tea towels into wash. Ian checks the tec and puts PS4 controllers on charge. Sometimes we get what we lovingly call a “fiddler” who changes lots of settings everywhere from Wi-Fi to Sky to Sonus. So, Ian now checks that everything is set up and working as usual. We have lots of duplicates of items from table mats to the BBQ grids; it’s easier to have a one in one out for quick cleaning. The girls let us know about anything that needs fixing or replacing in the rooms as they clean; from light bulbs to door handles to loos. We keep lots of spares of all sorts of items from plumbing to electrical for quick fixes. Where we live, getting spares immediately isn’t always easy.

Depending on the timing, we empty the bins and take rubbish down to the local recycling centre. We’ve stayed away before where previous guests rubbish was crammed in the bins; we want to make sure that doesn’t happen here.

Clothes drier with white matress protectors on it.
Printed laundry list for the Long Barn with pen to be filled in
White towelling dressing gowns on a chair next to chest of drawers

11am: Time for a tea break where we catch up with the girls; hopefully at this time of year out in the sunshine. We use the Sage Coffee machine to test that it is working and that it’s bean to cup coffees are up to muster. Then it’s back to work to finish the cleaning. Ian can be busy repairing something from a window blind to a loo flush. Jackie tries to get into the garden for weeding duties if the weather is dry.

12pm: As the bedrooms are completed, we go round them doing a double check, filling up the Bath House soaps and replenishing dressing gowns.

The girls move onto the downstairs rooms. The living room furniture is put back in place from move rounds. The wood burner is cleaned and the log basket filled up with logs. Any glitter and birthday sparkles are hoovered up. Paint work is wiped down.

The kitchen can be the biggest job depending on how much use it has had. Dishwashers are emptied and crockery etc is put away. Unsurprisingly, cupboards are sorted out to return everything back to its home. Everything is cleaned from the inside of ovens to the fridge to the dishwasher filters.

Ian checks the fridge is set to the right mode. We sometimes have a guest turn it to “holiday mode” perhaps because they are in this mode personally. Sadly, it means that the fridge is turned off. If the built in ice maker is empty, we make sure there are some extra bags of ice in the freezer.

Every pan is checked and cleaned if needed. Ian is famous for his stringent checks – they need to all look brand new. Thank goodness for Bar Keepers Friend. We also check crockery, glasses and crockery; we’ve time to put any needing an additional clean through the dishwasher on a fast wash. With over 150 glasses, that’s quite some checking.

All floors are mopped including the West Barn. The sign that the cleaning team are done is the sound of the barns fire alarms ringing as we test all are working.

1.30pm: After waving off our team, we then make our final checks. The inventory is checked from the number of glasses to all the kitchen equipment. Tea, coffee, sugar, salt and pepper are all filled up. Batteries in candles are checked, paper napkins filled up, dishwasher tablets and washing up liquid are filled up. The dishwashers are filled with rinse aid and salt; at least once a month we run a special cleaning cycle. The door code lock is changed to a unique code for the newly arriving guests. Any items broken are replaced; we have lots of extra glasses in our stores.

At this point, depending on what’s outstanding, one of us jumps in the car to drive to York to drop off our laundry (and pick up the last load) The other one of us finishes all the final set up. If it’s the time of year when the garden can provide flowers, we cut them and put them in vases. We bring over the welcome hamper (we make everything for guests the day before) and make sure any paper info is set out. This includes the all-important door and Wi-Fi code. A final check round to make sure that anything needed by this group is set up for them. We’ve set up all sorts, a personalised tea pot, balloons and bunting or extra flowers. If dogs are expected, the doggy welcome basket is put out, and the dog water bowl filled at the front door.

All the cleaning materials and equipment are put away and the laundry room set up for the next changeover. Anything we’ve run out is put on our trusty Alexa list to order. Any items left by guests are stored away safely and guests contacted for an address to post them to.

Man on knees filling the shower trap in an ensuite bathroom
The dining room with high beamed ceiling, dressed with pink and silver balloons and bunting
Decorated tea pot on kitchen island next to pink hydrangea.

3.30pm: The person doing the laundry run usually arrives back about now, and we off load the freshly washed laundry, check it off and put it all away.

A final check round and we are now ready to welcome our guests. It’s lovely to show new guests round the barns for the first time and see their reaction. And just as wonderful to welcome back returning guests. As most guests are seeing each other for the first time for a while it’s fabulous seeing how excited people are for their stay at the Long Barn.

Changeover Day is a lot of work, but it is really satisfying. In our past corporate lives, getting one job totally seen through and completed didn’t happen that often.

And the day makes that pint of beer in the Moors Inn (our last part of this routine) taste even more delicious.