Are standards falling?

I have been a house sitter with THS for several years, although did not do any sits during the pandemic.
Since re-starting I have noticed a big drop in standards in regard to the cleanliness of home and general preparation for my arrival.
I know that THS have guidelines for homeowners but I have found myself wondering do new homeowners even read them.
I believe one thing that is supposed to be done prior to a sit is that hard floors are supposed to be mopped. Well half an hour walking around barefoot at my current sit certainly showed that hasn’t been done. Nor have I encountered any fridges that had been cleaned. Waste paper baskets have not been emptied, no space in wardrobes, nothing for a first meal, not even milk to make a cup of coffee.
At a couple of my sits it felt like the owners had just popped out to the shops and hadn’t come back. At one sit there were even medications still.sitting on the bedside table and half drunk bottles of water.
Have any other long term sitters noticed a drop in standards, and if so why do you think this is?

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On the contrary, I have noticed the opposite. Pet parents have been going overboard to make us feel comfortable. All we ask is a clean, tidy home to stay in while we look after their pets. Nothing more, nothing less.
Some of the things we have encountered recently
New towels and bed linen bought specifically for us
Freezer and fridge stocked up for our stay
Voucher for local cafe
Whole closets emptied
House immaculate
Cars on offer, we have our own
Money left for sundries that they may have forgotten
One of the things we do appreciate is detailed notes about the pets, home and garden. There has been a vast improvement in communication and we really do appreciate this. The more information shared, the better the sit goes.

Some are putting in so much effort and stressing themselves out about everything. We do appreciate it but there is no need for everything to be perfect. We are there to look after your pets which is a thing we love. Buying food and putting up with less than perfect bed linen and towels is not a chore and it is embarrassing to be offered money and vouchers, which we always decline gracefully. We love what we are doing and as long as the pets are happy and the home is in a reasonable lived in condition we are content.

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Hi @Pet , I think you may have been unlucky recently rather than there is a general drop in standards.

The truth is that we are working with the general public and standards vary immensely. Some go overboard with welcoming preparation, an unfortunate few drop well below the standard that is acceptable but luckily the vast majority fall in between the two, leaving their homes in a clean and welcoming state for their house sitters.

Except for being on high alert when doing video calls, there is not a lot more that we can do. Don’t let your lower-than-expected cleanliness experiences get you down, by the law of averages you are probably due a run of spotlessly clean homes to sit :grinning:

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I agree ElsieDownie, so many owners are making huge efforts to make the sitters comfortable. I would feel terrible if a homeowner went through a ton of trouble to get ready for us to sit. I’d like there to be a balance. If the house is clean enough for your best friend to come over, that’s great. No need to take it to the 'mother-in-law is visiting" panic induced level. I’m sure everyone has different things that matter to them. A single shelf in the fridge is plenty for us. I can handle washing towels and linens, if that’s needed. And we are so used to living out of a suitcase for a week or two at a time that it wouldn’t really bother me. A clean bathroom is a big deal, but I can handle the rest. But then, we just inherited a hoarder house and have been emptying it for months. There isn’t much that can shock us now :slight_smile:

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@Colin I don’t look for spotlessly clean homes, it’s not an Airbnb I’m going to and in fact one of the homes was very clean, it’s obviously kept that way all the time but just no specific preparations made for my arrival.
I could certainly do with a run of better prepared homes, it’s getting very depressing.

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@ElsieDownie that’s what I would have experienced in the past, so it’s been a shock to have encountered the very casual attitude shown by my recent homeowners.

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We are currently in a housesit where the HO- first timers- did nothing special for our arrival. Just made up a bed in the spare room. But no cleaning. We had to spend 2 hours on arrival deep cleaning- bathroom, toilets, kitchen surfaces, vacuuming everywhere…On arrival into a very cold house (in the woods) we asked about heating and were met with a very reluctant ‘we were only planning to turn it on in November’…and these were hosts who, in the video call, told us they wanted to make sure we are as comfortable as possible…
As they jet off for a beach holiday on the med… very disappointing.

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I can’t compare what happened before as a sitter that joined THS in May. What I can say is the generally my sits have been in clean and tidy homes. My first sit in a rural location the HO’s provided food for my stay and I had a clean and tidy Granny annex for my accommodation. My next sit was a spotlessly clean home. My third stay was spotless and the HO’s took me for a pizza upon arrival.
In fact there’s only been 2 iffy sits but I think it’s more about me learning to ask the right questions in the video chat.

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@Lokstar Yes unfortunately you do get the odd rogue HO. Been there.
I recently rejected a sit as the HO mentioned inour video chat I wasn’t to touch the heating as their place in the UK was warm enough with no heating in December!

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@richten1 good for you! That would have been a huge red flag for us too! Fortunately the next door neighbour here has the same heating system so they helped us turn it on. (With the HO permission to ask them)The HO did not even know how to operate it! Its a new house and they only moved here in April…

@Pet I’m sorry you didn’t have a nice experience. I know it’s frustrating when something doesn’t meet your standards. I’ve been with THS for many years and overall all my sits have been great. The cleanliness (pre and post pandemic) are about the same. The level or definition of “clean” really does vary from host to host… just like it would from person to person. I’ve arrived in homes that are extremely spotless that I could eat off the floor… while others looked like they hadn’t been dusted for a long time. Everyone has their own priorities on where they spend their time in regards to cleaning. The most important areas for me are 1)clean bathroom and 2)clean sheets and bed prepared. I usually expect to do extra cleaning upon arrival since my comfort level of clean is usually higher than the average. If I dont have to… than that’s an extra bonus. :slight_smile:
Regarding hosts leaving food for me, personally I prefer they don’t …unless they ask me for a shop list. I always feel guilty when the host buys me lot of produce and then I don’t use it. I feel it is wasteful. I do like that they offer that I can use any perishables that they already had… and of course, spices etc…
I think in the pre-talk calls you can get a feel on what your experience will be. It is so important that the sitter and the hosts expectations match up that way both leave with a great experience.

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Are standards falling? Is a fair subject for discussion, across more than just the title contribution.

Each experience is different for sitters and pet parents/owners, discussing all aspects of our house and pet sitting lifestyle is incredibly helpful and interesting for both new and experienced members across our community after all we never stop learning.

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We had one like that. Luckily just one. Ugh, so many things were wrong with that. I feel your pain. It will pass!

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@Harris2 I’ve never been particularly bothered if a place hadn’t been in pristine condition, and generally, in the past, owners have made great efforts with their preparations. The only similarity between the sits I have done recently is that they have all been short sits of a week or less. Maybe because they are short the owners don’t feel the need to make the same effort.

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@Lokstar I think the heating issue is going to be a big problem, the costs in many places have sky rocketed. It’s probably something we need to discuss in more details now than we have before. It’s not nice being cold though. :cold_face:

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@richten1 that has always been my experience in the past.

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Oh…that makes more sense. If it’s just a few days, they may not think much of just leaving the house as is. Hope your luck improves with the next few sits!

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Definitely. I’ve already had one conversation where the subject of heating in December was brought up very early by the HO and a clarifying conversation had to follow. This is going to feed into the “paying for utilities” subject more & more in the current economic crisis.

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We had one sit that was really bad this year as well- I think they were dealing with depression and the house was filthy. It was only a few days so we dealt with it, but it definitely changed what/how we ask about in our interviews to get a better sense. It’s also a good idea to go through reviews- if they have several but not one mentions the actual word “clean”, that’s potentially the flag.

Like many say- we’ve had over-the-top amazing sits- most of them in fact- but the more sits you do, the more likely you are to come across one that doesn’t align with expectations. And that’s best to just adjust to for the temporary situation it is.

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In my experience, the overwhelming majority of homes I’ve found to be more than good enough in terms of how clean they are. I’ve only ever had one that required a lot of cleaning upon arrival just to make it liveable. It looked as if it hadn’t had a proper clean for a few years. Thankfully, that was a rarity. I love it when home owners have prepared some space in the fridge for us and cleared out all their perishables. I always really appreciate that as a sitter.

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