Damages in the house

It’s unfortunate your first sit did not go as you hoped. A couple of quick thoughts.

Yes, clear off your desk as the sitter will probably use it - especially in a small place like yours.

Make a good amount of room for the sitter’s stuff in drawers. You might even use a box or some of your own luggage to put your stuff in and then put it back when you return. Under the bed storage boxes can be a good idea. That way the sitter has a place for their stuff and you can put your stuff back easily when you return.

Room in the fridge and freezer and pantry, if possible is always beneficial to both sides. The sitter will buy food and staples that need storage.

Having sat primarily for cats and being a cat owner all my life, look at your place and see if it is “catified” (see Jackson Galaxy “My Cat from H…ll” show and Youtube.) To help your cats not claw furniture, get SERIOUS scratching posts that allow your cats a full stretch. Catification and proper scratching posts can greatly deter cats from scratching your furniture.

It sounds like a bit better communication during the sit might also be beneficial. Doors stick, things break or get broken, pets don’t act perfectly, etc.

Last, imagine you are the sitter coming to stay for a couple of months, walk in your front door and picture yourself settling in. Is everything how you would want it?

Please realize I’m not saying you were wrong about anything you did with your sit. These are simply suggestions that might help your future sits be successful.

Hoe this helps a bit!

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My perspective, as a sitter who regularly does sits longer than 3 months:

I always put HOs things back exactly where I found them, if I have to move them. But I try to get comfortable in the home without having to move much. I find it bizarre that someone would move a HO’s belongings and then not put them back where they belong.

I think your leaving 2 empty drawers and half your closet free was fine. If the photos were accurate, and sitters knew your space was small, and that they wouldn’t have a whole guest room to themselves, they would have known that there wouldn’t be copious space for their own belongings.
I would never, ever move things out of a HO’s closet or drawers. To me, that’s a big violation of privacy. Sometimes I put some of my folded clothes on top of a dresser if there’s little drawer space or closet space. Or, I leave the clothes I won’t use as much folded in my suitcase. No big deal!

If I can see in a HO’s listing that there is so little space that in addition to there likely being no free drawer or closet space, there’s also no free space on a chair or on top of a dresser, I can choose not to apply to that sit!
Some world travelers barely need any space at all, flying “carryon only.” In their case, the only “space” issues they would ever have at any sit would be temporary fridge and freezer space.

I’m extremely careful about furniture, linens, and all of HO’s belongings. I use the least fancy dishware. I’ve even been known to bring a cloth slipcover if I’m going to be spending time on a gorgeous or brand new couch. If a piece of furniture seems like it might break easily or be on its “last legs,” I avoid it if possible.

I am trading my valuable services for accommodation, and of course I choose sits that seem like they’ll be a fair trade! But I am still a guest in someone’s beloved home. Whether it ends up suiting me well or not, this is not a hotel, it is someone’s home, and I am respectful of that.

It sounds like maybe you had a bad match. I think it’s possible for you to have good matches in the future! Most experienced sitters know not to expect an airbnb or hotel experience. Be clear about your home and your expectations in your listing, and do your best to rule out sitters who seem too far on one end of the spectrum; either entitled or overly casual.

Oh, one last tip: One HO I know has sitters for 2 to 4 months each year. After a sitter locked himself out, the HO wanted to avoid going through that again, so they changed their door lock to a keypad… Having a keypad lock means every sitter gets their own individual code and can never get locked out or break a key in the lock! The keypad even texts the HO if the batteries need to be replaced soon!

I’m so glad your cats were well taken care of! Thank goodness. :smiling_face:


As a HO I would say if you are planning to be away for that long (3 months) then it might be a good idea to think about clearing personal stuff from surfaces, and leaving more space available for the house sitters storage needs. Try to think of it from their point of view. Three months is a long time to be working around someone else’s things. For a three month sit, you might consider putting some of your things in temporary storage if you don’t have a lot of space in your property.

Also, I think it’s very easy to forget the condition of items in our own home and ‘think’ that the house-sitters have caused damage, when maybe the damage was already there but we become so familiar with it, so we don’t notice it.

In addition, things break and fail all the time in houses. Your door lock might have failed while you were there, but it just so happened it failed when they were there. I would never expect a housesitter to pay for a broken item. Even if it costs $200 to fix the door issue, that still works out at very cheap housesitting rate.

I’ve been a HO member of THS for 8 years and we’ve had:

  1. Damage to wood staircase - but as I’ve said, maybe it was there before and we didn’t see it (that was a 4 night sit)
  2. All our natural candles and pet-diffusers locked away in a room that we had to move back around the house when we returned - that was only a 1 week sit.
  3. Stained kitchen floor and tea towels from raw turmeric (same sitter that moved all the candles etc on a 1 week sit)

But we’ve also had people stay a month and wouldn’t have even known they were here. We’ve also come home to a prepared meal in the fridge and beautiful candles on the table with a thank you card. We’ve had the sitters proactively contact the vet when they had some concerns about our cat. We’ve shared meals with our sitters, and had them stay longer when they’ve had travel issues or because they are a few days between sits. We’ve collected them from public transport and dropped them off. I think it’s important to see that 99% of people are very respectful and very kind, but sometimes things go wrong :slightly_smiling_face:


@jolerrs One thing I would have to say about your list is regarding the candles & diffusers. We’ve had to put some of them away on sits, too as the aroma was too strong and bothered us. We did, however, put them back prior to the homeowner returning.


@Danandnan - totally understand - my point to the OP was that things can get damaged by accident and people move things, and it’s to be expected. :smiling_face:

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I just want to say that everyone most certainly is different and there are many people who would be fine living out of a backpack and have no need for anything that would disturb your home and space no matter the duration of the sit.
Perhaps add, if not already in place that space is limited in the words of your choice.

@canada_happy Could I just ask, “What would you expect if you were doing a 3 month house-sit in a small home?” Maybe you could then advise potential sitters that this would be available to them. If it is unacceptable to them then you have the option to choose another sitter.