Advice requested for a better house sitting experience

No specific guidance as to cleaning. We left the place clean and it was the same when we came back.

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Hi,

I thought I would add this incase it is helpful to home owners. As a sitter I pride myself (as I know many sitters do) in leaving a sit as clean, if not cleaner than when I arrived, however I did a sit recently when the owners returned mid morning. This was hugely stressful for me as I had to see to the pets, clean bathroom, kitchen etc before they arrived. I was up before 5am trying to make sure everything was immaculate. I had done as much as I could the day before, was using my own bedding, towels etc, but it was still a tough ask!

Giving your sitter time to prepare the house on the day for your return may make for a better experience all round.

I’m not making any assumptions about your particular situation, I just hope this is useful as I am still a relatively new sitter and not something I had considered before.

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I can understand your stress as that would stress me out too. I hate cleaning day but do it with good grace and, as you say, leave a home as clean or cleaner than I found it. It’s always my fear that the owners would turn up sooner than expected before I’ve finished cleaning although would expect them to let me know in advance if that was the case.

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I sat once for someone who was particular about cleaning.
She mentioned it in her listing, with her expectations clearly specified.
Then when I arrived, she showed me where the vacuum was and how to use it. (Some vacuums are unusual, or hard to figure out, and sometimes they’re difficult to find, in the home!)

She showed me all the cleaning supplies and their locations, and said “I don’t expect you to clean the whole house, just the areas that you use.”
Message received!
I cleaned the heck out of all the spaces I used, and then some.
I always carefully clean, but I paid special attention to this home, because it was clearly important to her.

I think you can get your message across in a fun and friendly way. You can make your expectations clear from the listing, to the welcome guide, to your handover, without seeming overly demanding.

Clear communication from both sides re: expectations is always a good idea. And it starts in the listing.

Here’s another example: At the beginning of a sit when someone was showing me the litter box, he showed me that there was a small broom and dustpan right next to it, and told me how he likes to sweep up any stray litter. He didn’t demand that I sweep up after the cat daily or anything, but he was letting me know the “culture” of his household.

Or once, somebody pointed out to me “the broom we use to sweep the porch.” No demands made, but now I know more about how they keep their home, and where the specific tools are. Very useful information!

All that said, sometimes you’re going to get sitters who are “perfect,” and sometimes ones who are a little more “casual,” who wouldn’t even notice a hanging cobweb. You do your best to be clear about your expectations, you do your best in your screening process, and then you hope for the best!

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Hi, again like many here I am a sitter and not a HO.
I have great reviews, because I always leave homes spotless and love the pets.
I have come across HO’s that are very specific in their initial “advertisements”, they use statements like “We are very house proud and expect to find our home as we left it.” One other HO was in a brand new build and was very specific in her ad, “I vacuum every day and expect the sitter to do the same.”
People who aren’t willing to do so, will not even apply.
Be specific.
If you don’t want to leave a negative statement for the sitter, you can contact them directly and let them know that you would have appreciated a cleaner home etc.
In my applications I actually mention that I am clean and tidy, I always try to meet the HO before a final decision is made and if that doesn’t happen at least a phone call, where things like cleaning standards are talked about.
We are all different, but you will get a feel for people as you go along. There’s nothing wrong in asking for what you require.

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I was thinking exactly the same :slight_smile: It’s always a nice gesture when homeowners leave a little something to welcome sitters. As a sitter, I usually leave something to say thank you.

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Look for folks whose reviews specifically mention how sparkling clean they left the place. Even then, you may just have to accept that everyone’s standards are a tad different-- and be a little flexible. I’m not talking about tolerating a mess, just, you know, if you are on the very clean end of the spectrum, you may just find that you need to be willing to accept that others might think they left it pretty clean but they just aren’t perfectionists.

I go out of my way to leave the homes I housesit for extremely clean. Sometimes it makes for a lot of work the last day. I’m happy to do it, but some sitters may feel like they are doing you a big favor just by providing pet care and really, that’s the most important thing, right?

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I’m trying to decide what kind of food to leave for my sitter. I’m thinking basics like eggs, bread, Oat Milk? Cereal, fruit, snacks, cookies. Meat in freezer in case they want to cook. Do you have any suggestions?

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I find that every sitter is different about this…so I’ve started to ask beforehand. Some really prefer for the fridge/pantry to be as clear as possible. Also people have a variety of dietary preferences these days, so that it plays a factor. I ask our sitters a day or two before if they would like me to leave the basics like - Eggs, cheese, bread, milk? and ask what sort of coffee or tea they drink - then they usually follow back up and let me know their preferences. We also typically leave a bottle or two of champagne or wine for our sitters…but not everyone drinks but I think everyone always appreciates the thought.

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Hi @Sweet-Mother-Of-Pearl. It is a very kind gesture but it is also a minefield leaving food for sitters. Most will be happy with a pint of milk and a few tea bags. If however, you want to leave something more substantial I would suggest a gift card for your local supermarket so that they can choose whatever they want according to their tastes and any dietary requirements they may have.

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That’s what I was thinking! Maybe grocery gift card and Door Dash gift card.

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I agree with previous posts. Be very specific in your listing and when you speak to potential sitters. Judging from your posts, cleanliness is just as important to you as pet care. People who feel discouraged like that won’t apply.

We leave the basics - eggs, bread, milk, and note to sitters they have access to the cupboards where we have various food stuffs i.e. pasta, and sauces as they choose.

I’m not a big fan of leaving money or gift cards for sitters - it’s a mutually beneficial relationship between a homeowner and a sitter, and items such as these seem to give the impression sitters are doing you a favor. While they are indeed looking after your house/pets, you are also giving access to a new home, and travel opportunities which in some countries is not viable for people i.e. Switzerland where AirBNBs and hotels can be expensive.

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This is fair and good guidance

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Is it not a prerequisite that people who stay in your house should not leave it how they found it? Maybe its how I have been raised, but I wouldn’t leave someone’s house in a worse state than I found it.

We need to be honest about the relationship with sitters and homeowners - it’s a mutually beneficial arrangement.

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I don’t disagree with you. Standards of cleaning can be different and individual though, and with some people you do need to state the obvious. That’s my own life experience anyway.

I think it is best for a home host either to leave nothing - which is absolutely fine or if they want to leave something then the best option to avoid possible waste is to allow the sitter to choose that something. - and the easiest way to do that is via a gift card.
Personally, I would prefer to be left a £5 gift card than £5 worth of products that will go in the bin because for whatever reason the products left are not something that I can eat.

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I asked our coming sitter directly and I’m glad I did!
I’m a bacon 'n eggs kinda girl…she is a vegetarian!

So…I asked her for her favs and I’ll be happy to shop for those items.

She also enjoys wine, so I have a couple good reds in mind for good measure😉

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I’m am currently sitting in a BIG beautiful home.
I will clean those areas and linens that I used/ occupied.
A BIG lovely home. Big.

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If you require something specific in the way of cleaning then I would suggest being clear about that in advance. However I would caution to be aware of the particulars of the sit and adjust your expectations as required.
From my experience I always clean thoroughly (descale/clean showers, bath, basins, kitchen, all dishes washed and put away,vacuum, change bedding and wash the old bedding etc). However if I am leaving in the morning or it’s been a short sit then spending several hours cleaning isn’t really feasible or something I would want to do.

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