Yes I usually bring some small gift back from wherever we have been, like from Camargue I brought rice and salt, local products. I appreciate the sitters get to share your home but they also do a lot for your beloved animals. So a small gift in my book is good just to show appreciation
Exactly my thoughts
I think if everybody imagined to be in the other’s shoes most things would come naturally.
I’ve only just started sitting and I’ve had the empty fridge where I have to admit, it made feel unwelcome as I think you purposely have to go to lengths to do that. But then my last 2 left me gifts and I felt very welcomed and appreciated.
I was surprised to recently do a repeat sit and be faced with an empty fridge, which must be quite hard to do! There wasn’t even any milk, which I’d been left before, so had to go straight out to get some. I was surprised as we’ve become quite friendly
I neither understand the home owners who leave half eaten meals in the fridge nor those who leave it completely empty.
What happened to common sense?
I clear the fridge from everything that has been opened and might be doubtful for the sitters to use. But I certainly will not throw away anything that will still be good to use when we come back.
There’s always cold and unopened milk and butter in the fridge for the sitters, coffee and tea, jam and peanut butter for breakfast and frozen vegetables in case there’s no time to do some shopping. I don’t leave a cooked meal but I provide lots of choices to quickly create a first meal in the house without having to go shopping.
It’s not like the sitters rent a vacation home where you certainly expect nothing to be in the drawers and fridge, but owners invite them to their home.
We experienced our first empty fridge and pantry on a recent sit and tried not to feel too unwelcome as the HO’s were brand new.
We made sure to leave them a full complement of basics for their return
I view an empty fridge as considerate. The HO has left plenty of room for my food and has disposed of anything that would spoil. I almost never use anything the HO has left in the fridge. I do appreciate (and expect) there to be coffee and tea in the cupboard.
In my fridge there is enough room for the sitters’ stuff but I don’t see why I should throw away perfectly fine food, which, when the sitters don’t want it, is still good to eat when we come back. Everything else I consider a waste of food.
There always is coffee and tea in our cupboards. The sitters don’t have to use it, but I also wouldn’t put it away. All our sitters so far were happy to consume it.
I never heard anybody complain that there is too much. As long as space in fridge, freezer and on the counter is provided, I actually don’t care if sitters use anything I left.
Each time we have welcomed a sitter or sitters into our home, we like to treat them to lunch or dinner. I was under the impression that leaving the sitter space in the fridge, freezer or cupboard for their own food items was the proper thing to do. We also leave them a drawer in the bathroom and guest room in case they want to unpack. Of course there’s butter and bread in the fridge, milk and coffee creamer, spices and coffee, baking necessities available. We always invite them to help themselves if there’s fresh fruit and vegetables, but we also have gluten free items that I would prefer they not use because those are quite expensive. Our sitters have always been appreciative and will usually replace anything major that they use and some have even left us food they prepared for our return, which is greatly appreciated. We also leave a gift card for them to use if they should need to purchase something for the pets or the house. If we go somewhere special, we will usually bring them a small souvenir based on what we learn about them while sharing a meal. Do I have the wrong idea? Would love feedback if we are not in the ballpark!
As a sitter, the gift of spending time with their fur babies is more than enough as is providing me positive feedback
I am the same, coffee and tea is like a necessary item to have in life in these uncertain times…
Oh, this is an interesting thought… my family is both sitters & owners on the site, so for our own home, we always try to clear out as much of the fridge as possible to provide adequate space for our incoming sitters. You are correct in that we do purposely go to lengths to do that, but definitely from a place of consideration for their storage and to ensure room for their food preferences, as people’s diets greatly vary. I hate to think of that possibly being misinterpreted. While we do typically ask for some staple grocery requests to be able to leave for our sitters, on a sit with my own family, I always appreciate having the fridge space for our personal groceries We mostly cook from home and have had to get creative on some sits with a fridge full of an owner’s personal groceries. I guess it is also important to keep in mind the length of the sit as well - most of our own sitters are for extended stays, so I do not want to leave them with a surplus of items that would perish or expire if unused due to dietary restrictions or preferences.
@barbsun54 , you are very considerate and your sitters are very fortunate. I speak from first hand experience!
As both sitters & owners I try to really keep in mind what we appreciate the most when preparing for our own sitter.
Communication is key. I always ask for dietary restrictions or allergies. Our pets eat meat (minced chicken wet food for our cats & cooked ground turkey/beef for our dogs), so I double-check that our sitters are comfortable handling meat. Our dogs also get peanut butter with their treats, so I make alterations if any sitters have nut allergies.
We also typically have sitters arrive the evening before we leave, so we prepare a welcome dinner for them and want to make sure it is something they are able to enjoy. I will also ask for some grocery staples, so they do not have to immediately run out to the store in the morning and can spend some time settling in. We have been left welcome baskets & treats before as sitters (which we always appreciate!!) that we unfortunately could not enjoy due to our own dietary restrictions, so I always make sure to just ask I was actually just talking with our last sitters about this concept - it’s always the thought that counts, but definitely creates a tricky situation when a sitter cannot use what is left for them, especially when said sitter is nomadic.
Which is another thought to keep in mind as owners - a lot of sitters travel full-time, which means they travel light! Souvenirs & gifts are so thoughtful, but be intentional with the space they take up and weight they could add to luggage, especially right as a sitter is about to leave.
That being said, I have found the best ways to show appreciation are a clean home, detailed welcome guide, fridge/dresser/kitchen & bathroom counter space, and a review after completion
For owners who want to go a bit beyond - a first meal or two depending on sitter’s arrival time, customized grocery staples, or a local gift card. Also a box with items to help sitters enjoy the home to its fullest potential - if you have a movie theater set-up : movie night box with popcorn & a treat, backyard fire pit : smores box with skewers, etc.
As sitters, we leave a clean home & happy pets, plus either a thank-you note, printed photo of their pet, flowers, a meal, or something personalized to the owner
Hi, Jackie – I’ve been using TH for 7 years and in the early days HOs were grateful I was paying all my own expenses to come take excellent care of their home and beloved pets for free. They appreciated the mutual benefit but often felt they were getting the better end of the bargain.
In my view this started to change when TH launched a big marketing drive that emphasized the benefit to sitters of free holiday accommodation. This may have succeeded in getting more sitters to join, but since then I’ve seen a definite change in HO attitudes. The unintended consequence has been to upset the mutual benefit equation of free housesitting so that many HOs now feel they are doing the sitter a favor.
Well, it’s free pet sitting for free accommodation! It’s definitely not only free pet sitting. Hotels would also cost, apartments with fully stocked kitchens would cost as well as car rentals. I ask to appreciate this side of the bargain as well. In addition, we home owners invite completely foreign people to our home. It’s not only a house, it’s a home!
I am grateful for sitters who take good care of our pets but I expect sitters also to be grateful for a clean house, well stocked kitchen and the home owners who try everything to make the sitter’s stay a most pleasant one.
As in all things, this aspect of the sitter and homeowner exchange will vary greatly. There is no right or wrong answer. We’ve had various experiences, and each one has been extremely acceptable for us. We have no preconceived ideas about how the HO will prepare for our arrival, and we tend to just go-with-the-flow as the situation presents itself. I believe the key ingredient for this lifestyle is not to expect anything to be precise, and be pleasantly surprised with the choices made by each HO. Variety is the spice of life!!!
Exactly – it’s a mutually beneficial arrangement.
I have been on 14 sits now and 6 left me a bottle of wine for me. One had a whole gift bag that included a $20 GC to the local grocery. I never give a gift. But I have done small repairs like fixed a leaking toilet.