We are de cobwebbing the kitchen, sleeping areas and the areas where the house sitters will be all the time. This has taken a solid 2 weeks as the ceilings are so high, you need high steps and a long cobweb brush. We have chatted to our sitters and they understand that the rest of the house will not be of that standard. We have been communicating will them for that reason. It would be a shame to close off all doors and stop someone seeing the house for that reason so I do think good communication is the key. I have had a lot of help and really useful advice from the forum. It is such a good idea.
Are you likely to do this every time you want a house sitter? Or will you just be truthful with them and explain, old houses, high ceilings, lots of maintenance.
It needed doing
I wish there was a giggle button. Good luck. X
I wished for that one also a few times already
@Crazydoglady yes I kind of agree with you but there are exceptions and for example I stayed at a sit in Bristol recently; a Georgian terrace with high ceilings and huge rooms…the bathroom was bigger than most lounge rooms! I never felt comfortable there as it did not have the feel of a home more of a show home and on six levels thats alot of stairs to be going up and down! Also a lodger had the basement level and there was no lock beween that level and the ground floor kitchen and dining room. I had not been told there was somebody living in the basement and when I arrived and explored, I stumbled on them by accident…very embarassing for us both! Its a strange feeling when you know there is a stranger living just below and there are no locks to stop them coming into your space (and same for them of course). I know what you mean about the upstairs downstairs situation and I tend to avoid those sort of arrangements though I did a sit recently where I was in a converted garage with a cute little kitchen and lots of light coming in from big windows looking out over fields, with a comfy bed and en-suite. The dogs lived in the main house and the first morning I went to give them breakfast and walk them, I was so glad that I was in a nice clean and comfortable smaller space as the main house was an absolute disgrace! If I had been asked to stay there, I would have been more than upset! So there are exceptions.
I found it fascinating to read your post @carpediem, especially the last bit about the garage accommodation vs the main house. I’ve never applied for a sit where the sitter is not welcome to use the main house as I dislike the whole “staff” vibe but in this case, it looks like you dodged a bullet. I’ll obviously have to rethink my strategy!
We would always put guests and sitters alike in the main house. To us a sitter is also a guest.
I agree with your comment.
@carpediem @Myhnabird A few weeks ago I house sat three hens for a long weekend. The main house was all locked up and I stayed in their AirBandB at the top of the driveway which was modern, cute, and very clean. I was glad I was there instead of the main house which was massive and looked very cluttered and dated when I peered through the windows!
Yeah, even if the main house was neat as a pin, there’s a lot to be said for only having to clean a small space instead of a massive house (Can you tell we’re still getting over having to do one of “those” cleaning jobs?)
This is why I made it clear about the size and age of the house. It is not everyones cup of tea and those who don’t like that type of house can avoid it.
I’m having trouble getting over my slightly OTT cleaning obsession. With some houses, you can drive yourself crazy and the homeowner certainly doesn’t expect their 400 year old heritage home to be dust free. As you can see, it’s just me…
Great way to be.
@Myhnabird thats for sure…always good to be in a hose thats manageable and a small footprint works well for me!
I agree with this but we have safe for a few couples who were very elderly,. Their eyesight was not what it used to be and cutlery and plates etc were put away with bits on them. They had cleaners that basically got away with murder and did little…
On both occasions, after the cleaners had done their jobs, we cleaned. We loved both couples and their pets, so it was not a chore. One was a repeat sit of many years.
I do believe that it says somewhere for homeowners to leave their home clean and in reasonable condition for the housesitter?
If we arrived to a falsely advertised hoarders house with health issues, we would not stay. We always arrive before he HO leaves, often the day before or visit before.
Since I am using both sides of THS, I feel I can speak a bit to this issue. Of course, the size of your home and quality of guest accommodations greatly impacts how a sitter may feel with locked doors/floors/wings. I love that you are thinking how to make your sitters comfortable.
Since I love touring homes and seeing old character, remodels, decorating etc… I always enjoy getting a tour of an entire house even if parts will be locked off during my stay. I understand why people want to lock off personal spaces but I will admit, it does makes me feel a bit like a servant instead of a guest. I feel a good question to ask yourself is If family was staying at your home while you were away, would you lock spaces?
As a home owner, I feel so comfortable with who I have selected, I do not feel a need to lock off any spaces. I want my sitters to feel completely at home since they are doing a huge service for me and my pets. I keep a very clean house but I do have some spaces that are a cluttered mess. I tour and let them see what is behind closed doors. I cannot imagine why anyone would want to enter these spaces after we depart. With background checks, reviews and a virtual interview, I cannot imagine someone coming into my home and stealing something. Why do I need to lock doors? I have a locked fire box in my home and a safety deposit box because I am more worried about natural disasters and burglaries.
I want my sitters to have the most comfortable bed and an ensuite. I also want my animals to be able to sleep where they are accustomed to sleeping. However, I know some people are more comfortable staying in a guest space instead of someone else’s personal bedroom.
If I need my sitters to arrive into town the day before we depart and stay until the day after we return home, I offer to pay for their accommodations. I feel it is the least we can do if they have travel expenses. I have stayed in people’s homes where the guest accommodations are completely separate and it was really nice to not have to pay for a hotel. Our guest room is right next door to the master so would not be comfortable for us or sitters.
I have had sits where I was offered master/guest or guest/main house. I have always opted for the guest space because it was great and comfortable. However, if the pets were not happy in the guest space, I would have chosen differently.
I also do Home Exchange with my secondary home. I have stayed in peoples primary homes and they make their master feel very comfortable with leaving plenty of drawers/closet space and not having too much clutter. It would be nice if all THS home owners took this approach when subscribing to the program. They should be looking at this as an even exchange that is a win/win for both parties. Not a cheap way to get people to care for their home and pets and then treat them like paid help. I find this highly offensive in the posts where this is clearly the attitude of the home owner. If you can afford to travel then you should be able to pay for your animals to be safe and loved. I have found home owners choose to utilize THS because they have struggled to find good pet sitters. THS has a reputation of people who truly love animals, are trustworthy and enjoy the experience of living like a local as they travel. I absolutely love the connections I have made with like minded people as both a sitter and home owner.
If you do lock spaces, make sure that nothing is locked off that your sitter may need. I just did a sit where I could not find several items and assumed they were in their living sections i.e. fans, wash cloths etc…I had to stand outside the locked door to get close enough to the router to log into wifi. I could see the only access to a lovely covered porch. I would have loved to be able to enjoy this space and take in the gorgeous view in the evenings.
Fortunately, it was a local sit so I got things from my own home. If I had traveled, I would have been quite annoyed there were no fans in a house that did not have a.c. So make sure your sitters have access to anything they may need to make their stay comfortable.
Some homeowners should hire professional cleaners prior to a sitter staying in the home. It is not ok to walk into a bathroom that has clearly not been sanitized. I feel THS should have a way for sitters to privately express concerns to management so they can follow up with home owners. All of the positives to my sits have far outweighed a few issues I have encountered. I would never want the homeowners to feel publicly humiliated if they are new to THS and a little naive, but I also do not want to mislead a future sitter.
Thank you @claudinekent for a honest and objective view from both sides of the TrustedHousesitters pet and house sitting network.
I too am a full time sitter who has also engaged sitters for my home and like you, have gone to great lengths to make them feel welcome, comfortable and most importantly “at home.”
During 10 years of sitting with TrustedHousesitters I have found almost all of the members I have sat for just like me hospitable, generous of time and spirit and appreciative of having a pet lover who will keep their beloved pets happy, loved and safe and homes, gardens and plants cared for as if they were my own.
When there is mutual respect, thought and commitment, the TrustedHousesitters experience works for everyone, especially the pets who don’t have a voice or a choice in the arrangements we make for them … it has to be with their best care and interests at heart.
The ultimate win, win, win, for animals and humans alike.
Thank you again.
Closing off part of that big of a house would be fine with me. I generally stake out a few rooms to occupy during my stay and avoid the rest. If I haven’t used it I don’t feel the need to clean it. I rarely enter any bedrooms other than my own and stick to using 1 bathroom.
A clean house for me means that there are not dust bunnies the size of my head under my bed. (Yes, I’ve had that happen) it was nasty and I cleaned it. I never mentioned it in the review.
To me it also means removing clutter.
Treat the sitter’s arrival as having a special guest and you’ll be ok. I treat every sit’s home with the utmost care. I want it be like I was never there after I’m gone.