Housesitters and my food

Never have I been told to help myself to their alcohol and rarely am I given a bottle of wine, even at Christmas! You’ve been lucky

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As others have said, it’s all about communication and it sounds like you didn’t communicate with the sitters about this. Very often I’ve been left some bread and milk, and been told to use any items of fruit and veg that would go off. It’s usual to be offered use of spices and oil. At my current sit I stopped the owner from throwing away some food as said I would eat it. Enough for 4 meals, and I put it in the freezer. If I do use any of the owner’s food I will always replace it, and often they get back more than was left.


Well, shouid you ever sit my cats you can get ‘sozzled’ on what is in my drinks cabinet. Nothing is out of bounds for any sitter, just make sure the cats are o.k;!!!


I’ve been given wine and rum (gifted by HOs who went to the Caribbean). I’ve also been offered a welcome cocktail, which I accepted. And have been offered the HOs’ liquor and tonics to make drinks during my stay, but I told them I’d buy my own.

My POV is that being a good guest of any sort (sitting or otherwise) is not to exploit the generosity of your hosts, even when they offer.

Various folks suggest that HOs communicate (more). Sure couldn’t hurt. It’s just unfortunate that some people have to be told explicitly to not do things that are simply bad manners to start with.


Our family has done 15 sits so far and I think 13 of them told us to eat anything we wanted. Some had baskets of snacks specifically for us, one cooked for us, and a couple even baked cookies for our kids. Cannot even tell you how welcomed we felt. I do think you are being petty. Perhaps write clear statements in your listing that sitters are not to lay 1 finger on anything edible


I have always told my guests (courchsurfing etc) to take anything in the kitchen for breakfast in case they got up before me. And of course that is then never exploited: there will be orange juice, milk, bread and yoghurt left for me when I get up.

Because it is not about the rather insignificant monetary value, it is to be considerate of each other.

So these are guests that do not need to walk a dog for me, to feed the pets, water the flowers, to guard my home.

And then I see on this forum HOs complaining about sitters leaving dishes in the dishwasher. Or about missing ice cubes. It is totally beyond me.


@pietkuip Agree about consideration. Meanwhile, hospitality can be extended, but it’s also up to the guest what they’d care to accept. For instance, some sitters would like to have food bought for them or to be shown the grocery store, and some not.

Some of the food issues are more about boundaries than cost. And some are about a sense of entitlement or respect.

Your references to HOs complaining about missing ice cubes or dishes in the washer made me shake my head, too. We all have our preferences, but it’s a bit much to expect perfection in that sense, especially when you’re getting pet and home care without paying, as you say.

My POV is that signing up for THS pretty much guarantees that you’ll encounter imperfections, given the nature of the exchanges and so much variation among people, especially cross culturally. To me, flexibility is better in general. Like have all my sits been ideal? Of course not. I try to take the rough with the smooth, within reason.


I tell sitters they can help themselves to anything (generally they don’t) but to let me know if they use something up so I know to restock. I’ve also thought about leaving a bit of money for a longer sit, so if they do run out of a staple they will have money to restock it. Just let the sitter know if there is anything you’d prefer they not usej.

Keep in mind how much money we as HOs are saving by not paying for an overnight sitter - for my area the going rate is $60 a night + I feel like we get excellent care…far better than paid sitters we’ve used.


Nothing is out of bounds? Can’t quite agree with that, but posting the question definitely helped me prepare for my next sit! And of course, the fur babies are the top priority :slight_smile:

I’m up for that! :joy::rofl:

Missing ice cubes?! :joy::rofl:

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Lots of them too!

@Peg @americlogs Exactly!! I can understand that an Owner might make alcohol or frozen meats/seafood off-limits, but if you really think about the $$ amount of pantry or refrigerator foods that a Sitter might eat, it is really a small amount of money compared to hiring a “professional” Sitter.

@americlogs I agree that the Sitters should not have taken your food without your permission, but if you add up the $$ amount of what they ate, maybe you will feel better about it.

I love to cook, so when Owners tell me that I can use oils and spices, I am elated! I cannot recall a Sit where there were restrictions on use of pantry and fridge staples, but we always replace items that we use up, so the Owner is not “high and dry” when they get back. It is so nice to be able to use a small amount of oatmeal, rice, bread crumbs, mayo, mustard, soy sauce—for example— in a recipe.

We always buy basics for the Owners on their return, based on what they want: milk, eggs, butter, bread, juice, fruit, whatever. I ask them if there is anything specific. We take photos of the fridge and fruit bowl when we arrive so that we know what was there on arrival so that we can replace.

The amount of money I spend on my way out is also trivial, maybe $30 USD.

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@Smiley Yes, there was a posting a few days ago in which a HO complained amongst other things about a half empty ice cube tray (wouldn’t that mean it was half full too?). OP asked for the thread to be removed after some non- sympathetic responses. So you could have easily missed it

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Yes. Not only did the HO highlight insignificant things like missing ice cubes and a half-used clump of garlic left on a table, they were going to have a chat with the sitter to correct them. And that was despite their pet care and home care otherwise being done well.

To me, such HOs should be avoided, because expectations are unrealistic and you’re much more likely to run into trouble with them when reality or problems crop up, which happen in life. You’re also more likely to get an unfair review from them.


Another thing to think about: Sitters who like to cook are also going to spend more time IN YOUR HOME, WITH YOUR PETS!!!

So…it makes sense to allow Sitters to use your pantry and fridge items.

If you are not generous in this way, not only does it create a negative feeling even before the Sit begins, the Sitter might eat out more often, leaving your pets alone!


Yes @americlogs clear instructions are the key. I’ve recently done 2 sits, one where the HO told me to help myself to food including the food in the fridge but if I didn’t want to eat certain foods could I place these items in the freezer (which I did with a couple of items) and another than offered me everything in their cupboards including her extensive spice collection but would I mind leaving her saffron alone as it was difficult to get locally and she had to ship it in at some cost. Of course this is totally understandable.


I missed that thread @Maggie8K. Wow! That’s crazy. Maybe if they were some rare alcoholic ice cubes but still.

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I don’t cook at all, so I won’t be tapping any cooking supplies. I excel at ordering from DoorDash, Instacart, Deliveroo, Grab and such, even abroad, LOL. I’m at home more than most, not only because I telecommute, but because I like ordering in a lot. Also happens to give me more time to play with or cuddle with the pets.

^ Not meant as an argument. Just sharing a different perspective. And one of the many things I love about the U.K. is its extensive selection of ready-to-eat foods that are accessible and affordable at many stores.

This is such an interesting topic. As I’ve had 2 home owners upset I didn’t eat enough of food left. One was king prawns, lobster and steaks in the freezer that I didn’t eat despite being told too. The other was a HO that left a lot of amazing and expensive cheese that they kept messaging me to eat! Their cleaner told me the HO was upset as the previous sitter hadn’t touched the cheese despite saying they like cheese. I did explain to the HO that us sitters sometimes find ourselves in a difficult position when HO say please help yourself especially with expensive food items left. HO said she’d be clearer next time that the cheese is there for sitters to eat.

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