How can the HO best prepare for the housesitter - cleaning, clearing out space, etc

Hi, I have been on THS for about a year, and have had two housesits so far. In the days leading up to the sit, I have been clearing out quite a bit of my stuff and putting it away in my shed, but I’m wondering if I’m overdoing it and if it’s OK to leave things in place a bit more.

For some background, I always clean thoroughly before I leave, and I “eat down” my fridge so there’s space, and offer perishables to the housesitter if I have anything left.

But I’m not sure how much I need to depersonalize my house before I leave. Do I need to remove personal mementos from the dresser, for example? Or clear out my dresser drawers? How about the closet? Is it enough to make a dresser drawer and some hanging space available? Or should I clear nearly everything out and put it in my shed?

The only reference point I have is airbnb, but I understand that THS is a different sort of experience. If you’re a HS, what do you like to find? If you’re a HO, how do you set your place up?


Hello Jennifer, welcome to the forum and our TrustedHousesitters community.

Thank you for being such a thoughtful owner host. There are some very informative articles on our website blog to help owners prepare for their sitter here is the link you’ll find tips on how to prepare your home, COVID cleaning guides and much more.

You don’t have to depersonalize you home, if for example you have precious possessions then by all means put them somewhere secure. What sitters need and appreciate is a clean, tidy and welcoming home away from home, with space where they can unpack, relax and enjoy being with your pets and of course some prep is relative to the length of the sit.

As a guide:

  1. Wardrobe space/ hangers
  2. Draw space
  3. Space in the bathroom
  4. Fridge & freezer space
  5. Paper products & cleaning supplies
  6. Pet food, treats etc
  7. Comprehensive pet information including veterinary - Welcome Guide
  8. Home information and & emergency contacts - Welcome Guide

Often I’m asked about basic groceries, tea, milk etc., in case I can’t immediately get to a grocery store.

Welcome again … you, your pets and sitters will have a wonderful experience.

Angela and the Team


Hi @lesherjennifer
Welcome to the Forum.
In addition to everything that @Angela-CommunityManager has said, I have stayed at several Airbnbs and expect that to be impersonal and to be a different experience to house sitting.
Please do not put any of your “stuff” away, we want a home from home. We like to see how the owner lives, see their ornaments and photos which are on display,
I think that I speak on behalf of all sitters to impress that we would never go into drawers and cupboards that we are not using. We respect your privacy.
Unless you have a dedicated guest room, we expect that we will share some of the hanging space and a drawer is usually sufficient.
So, yes, I agree that you may have been overdoing it!


When I arrive at a sit and go through the handover walk around I always ask which rooms the pets use or are allowed in.

I then tell the HO that I will close the doors of any rooms not necessary to my sitting or used by the pets and I will not go in them during my sitting. I feel much better knowing that they know where I won’t go in their house and I hope they feel comforted by that too.


We think @Angela-CommunityManager 's list is spot on! We’re well aware and also appreciate and respect that we’re walking into someone’s home. The entire house sitting experience for us is about gracious reciprocity and building trust and friendship. The little things, like counterspace in the bathroom and a draw to put our clothes in, is not only functional but it let’s us know that the homeowner thought about and appreciates us.

On the other hand, we have zero expectations of a home being ‘sanitized’ of the owners life and possessions. In fact, we’ve walked into a home that was and we wondered if we weren’t trusted in their space, and when that along with other indicators pointed towards distrust, it was disheartening. It’s a balance though, we fully respect and understand when a room is locked, or precious belongings are tucked away.

So all of that to say, we as sitters very much appreciate and recognize the thought and small touches. And overwhelmingly sitters respect your home and privacy in return. :relaxed:


I think the only situation where it would be nice if you clear space of mementos is if there would not be space for the sitter’s own stuff. I have been in housesits (pre-TH) where there literally was no surface that wasn’t covered in knick knacks and no place to put my own stuff except the floor. But that’s pretty much covered in Angela’s guide above. (But I also agree - it’s nice to see pictures of the owner. It’s one way to get to know you/your history a little bit.)


Hi Jennifer, You sound like a dream home owner. Seriously we would never expect a home owner to do what you are doing. We have done 13 or so sits. I have never known a home owner to clear out anything, there will be food in the fridge and things left exactly as they live. A little wardrobe space is appreciated but thats about it. Take the pressure off yourself there really is no need. Some folk leave so much stuff around we take a photo so we can put it all back exactly where they had it. Enjoy your next holiday. Hope these tips help. Robyn


I fully agree with Angela‘s list.
I would add maps of the surrounding area and maybe a guide book.
Before COVID we traveled all summer from sit to sit in Britain and it sometimes happens that having been led to an address by satnav, we would find ourselves bereft of any information about the nearest city, walking paths, villages etc and felt quite disoriented!!
But then I’m an iPhone- illiterate senior… ::wink:


Thank you - this is very helpful :slight_smile:

Thank you - that’s a great idea to provide some local info. The internet doesn’t always provide the insider details.

Thank you - this is helpful. I wasn’t sure how much to clear out and I was kind of wearing myself out with the extra work.

Thanks for the input. I am kind of a minimalist so there is always space, but it sounds like I can do a little less prep than I have been doing.

That’s a great point about trust. I wouldn’t want a sitter to feel unwelcome or distrusted.

Thanks! Very helpful. And it’s nice to know that sitters enjoy some of the personal touches.

Thanks for the input. My house is pretty small, so I leave it all available, but it’s good to know that sitters will respect the boundaries if they do exist :slight_smile:


I too, close doors in the HO’s house which I am not using. It’s nice when the house is clearly a home. As long it’s clean, I don’t think I have the right to ask for anything else. A fresh loaf of bread and a fresh pint of milk, together with instructions on how to use SKY and a local guidebook is very much appreciated. I’d never, ever go through personal stuff. I like to leave the house exactly as I found it- clean, warm and welcoming.

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I have just started a week long sit and the house has prompted this question.

As pet/home owners do you make any specific alterations to your home and it’s contents to welcome your sitter?

For example, tidying away your belongings, making space in the wardrobe and drawers, taking your toiletries out of the bath or shower so the sitter has room for their own, leaving clothes lying around in the bedroom, leaving clothes in the washing machine.

I don’t expect a pristine house, I don’t think anyone does but it would be good to have some space for my things and not be tripping over the owners. I usually move anything that looks expensive to a safe spot and put things I find intrusive in a room we are not using, hoping I remember to put them back.
How do you prepare your home to welcome your sitter?


As an HO I give the house a thorough clean. Prepare the sitters bedroom with new bedding, new pillows, tissues, etc. I move all my stuff out of the shower and around the sink so it’s empty for their things. Run down the fridge so they have room. I have a large and small freezer so I empty the small one so they have one of their own. Leave instruction books for any complicated gadgets. Provide Wi-Fi code. Clear out a wardrobe so they have one plus drawers of their own. Lastly book a table for dinner so we can take them out before we leave the following day. Phew!


I am always on the lookout for a sitting in Cambridge, England.
You sound perfect!


Wow, your the sort of pet owner we love. Book a table for dinner!


We want to sit for you, Annie!


Thank you for all the kind comments. I just do for my sitters what I would like for myself.


You are the PAWFECT owner Annie … we ALL want to sit for you :heart_eyes:


To be appreciated like that is just so lovely! Thank you Annie for all that you do for sitters. :heart:

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Please put me on your sitters list @CambridgeAnnie. On my last sit the home owner didn’t even leave a bar of soap in the bathroom and no towels either.

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Oh dear I’m disgusted to hear that. It shows total disregard for the people who are looking after your animals and home. I hope you posted a review to alert others to this undesirable sit.