Nice host, ok pet, cluttered house

I need a little advice on how to write a review.

I am currently on a sit in a very cluttered house. The house is clean but there is hardly any room to move around in the guest room and nowhere to put our suitcases except in a closet - so we have to pull them out every day. There is plenty of room in the fridge but no where to put our non-fridge food except on the kitchen counter which leaves hardly any room to use a cutting board. The apartment is small and it is hard to get around with all the stuff.

I knew the place was going to be cluttered from the pics in the host’s listing - but not this cluttered. I took the sit because I was a little panicked. We needed to book back to back sits to be in a certain area and i was getting lots of rejections and no replies (which im not used to). So when this host sent me a confirmation i accepted. We didn’t have a call.

I’m not complaining. But as I look around i do see ways she could have made her house a little bit more accomondating.

My dilemma is how to review this host. She is very nice. The dog is ok. He is a sweet little mutt. He barks a lot - which would not be as bad if we weren’t in a tiny place. Also since it is an apartment, it bothers me that is barking is disturbing other people. Other than that he is pretty easy to take care of.

The host has one previous 5 star review. And now has 4 other sits listed. At least 3 of those have no applicants. I imagine that she needs a free sitter as she asked to conserve energy by keeping lights off in rooms that weren’t being used and to turn the thermostat down when we are out of the house.

So i dont want to give her a bad review but honestly this is not a sit we would return to or recommend to anyone. But i also want to give an honest review so other sitters will have more info to make up their minds. Of course, i could also give no review.

What do you all suggest?


Doesn’t sound bad enough for a bad review. It’s reasonable to switch off lights in rooms you’re not using and turn the heating down when you go out. Cluttered spaces are quite common. I’d give 5 stars and maybe include the barking in a nice way and perhaps mention that it’s a compact place.


H @Makelikeanapeman, you’ve actually admitted you took on this sit because you were panicking about not filling a gap, knew it was a small apartment, could see clutter and did not have a video chat. You could give it a 4* overall but then look carefully at the 5 categories you can now give a star rating to for owners because maybe, according to what they are, they could all be 5*. You could just make a comment that being a small apartment, there was very little room for your things as owner’s things occupied much of the space. Was it only a short sit and therefore inconvenient for only a little time?


This is a difficult one. My usual thought would be “be honest” but with so much riding on the reviews you don’t want to upset anyone.
Is the apartment clean? If so, say so but I would drop a star for not having space for your stuff.

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I dont care about the lights or heat. My point in bringing that up was that i think that the host is on a budget and reslly needs THS.

Lots of people conserve energy for the sake of the environment. It doesn’t have to mean that they are poor.


The last two sit homeowners have said they are being careful with the heating and they were big houses. Everything now is expensive. I did a cluttered house once, never again. Now I look very carefully at the photos. I would mention the dog and maybe say tactfully it was a little lacking in space for 2 and would perhaps suit a single person better


Yes, its not a terrible sit and at most id only knock it down to 4 stars. As i said, i’m not complaining because it is all on me that i took this sit knowing that it probably wasn’t going to be great.

The host is nice and was flexible with our in person orientation which happened two weeks before the sit and was flexible with our arrivial and departure times. But as i look around, i think she could have moved some things around to make us more comfortable. So should i knock off a star for hospitality?

Communication is fine. Cleanliness is fine. Pet behavior is ok - accept for the barking, but dogs bark. Accuracy of listing is probably fine except for all the clutter i couldnt see in the puctures.

It’s only 5 days. We have 3 more to go and we are fine with everything. The apartment wont get our usual clean because there is just too much stuff everywhere. All flat surfaces are covered.

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I also feel like it is not really going to matter if i drop a starvor not because you can see the clutter in the pictures - just nit how much there is. This just isnt a quality THS sit and i feel bad for the host.

The apartment is clean.

You are right. My problem is i dont know if they are conserving energy because they are poor and therefore really need a service like Trusted House Sitters.

@Makelikeanapeman It still sounds as though the HO was hospitable. I’d stick with 4* overall with a comment about lack of space. There are positives to write in your review which is great to have.


Just because it’s a 4 star review does not mean it’s a negative review. Maybe use the 80/20 rule? 80% positive remarks with a small amount of “I wish the home would have provided a bit more space to unpack my belongings” or “Dog was easy to take care of and friendly. My only concern was whether the barking was bothering the neighbors” These two don’t sound bad.


Yes, would definitely be better for one person. With the dog bed on the couch there is really only room for one person to sit on the couch comfortably.

I will never do a cluttered house again. I got over my panic after accepting this sit and have been way more discriminating.

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Yes, i can always see some positives.


This is hard. We had one very cluttered house. I did mention it in my review by mentioning the good things, and ending with “the house was somewhat cluttered, therefore sitters preferring clean lines and minimalist spaces might not feel comfortable here”. I still gave 5 stars because everything else was good. The little dog was quite an attention seeker at times, but not enough to really impact the sit. Every dog has their personality so we just accepted it.


We, as sitters, cannot dictate how the property should look. This pet parent must have put up fairly representative pictures as you mention you knew the place was cluttered before you got there so why are you talking about a four star review?
The place is clean with not much space which you knew before accepting the sit. The dog is ok but barks. There is room in the fridge for your food but no cupboard space. I think a bit of improvisation may be needed. Take some pictures of the contents of the kitchen cupboards, rearrange them so there is room for your dry provisions. Is there another bedroom or study you could use to keep your suitcases/clothes in? If the clutter is getting you down, take photos and put the clutter away somewhere. As long as you put it back no one will know. I do this all the time especially if there is expensive looking ornaments around. It saves me worrying about breakages.
Sometimes we have to take a less than desirable sit because of gaps or the cost of alternative accommodation. We just have to make it more desirable by altering things we can. Because we find the pet parents decor/life style hard to live in doesn’t necessarily mean they deserve a bad review. Yes, mention the dog barks and the house is cluttered.


This sounds like a 5 star review to me for the reasons @ElsieDownie stated. You might write a personal note to the pet parent and/or leave a nicely worded comment in the review such as, “Although Host has a small place, filled with lovely collectibles (or books or fashion or whatever) it would be wonderful if she could make room in kitchen cupboards for food and the bedroom for suitcases and clothing.”

It is neither here nor there whether she is conserving energy for money or the planet. I make a good living but I turn off lights and heating when not in use. The money I save pays for business class airplane tickets. LOL. Waste makes no sense for anyone.

Tip: Sometimes when bedrooms are cramped or up several flights, I find another space to unpack my suitcase. Folded clothing on a shelf or sideboard and hangers along molding or curtain rods make any space into a dressing room. Just be aware of windows overlooking neighbors. (Hah!) I know this apartment was tiny, but something to think about elsewhere.


If two people are living in a home that usually only has space for one then it will be tight . Another perspective is that the homeowner kindly did you a favour by accepting a couple when it would be more suitable for a single person . If that is the case it seems a bit mean to mark them down for accepting your application as a couple when you were in need of accommodation.


I personally would still give 5 stars and maybe a small mention that it might be more suitable for a single person because of space. If they had misrepresented the apartment it might be different. I would then privately, kindly let the HO know where they could improve.


I’d politely message the owner and say thanks for the fridge space, always appreciated, then ask if it’s okay to clear some room on the counter as you have food items that you need to be handy that don’t need to go in the fridge.
Like another member said, take a photo so you know where it goes back. Nothing wrong with asking, better that than they mention you moved their stuff without checking first.

I’d mention in the review that the apartment is compact so sitters need to be mindful that storage for luggage, personal items etc is limited and X was very accommodating and left us room in the fridge and was happy to clear space on the worktops.

I don’t think that would offend anyone.