OWNER CLEANLINESS CHECKLIST -what is reasonable for short vs long sit

I will have my first house sitter in a few days, and just received the email for OWNER CLEANLINESS CHECKLIST

Of course I want to leave a clean house, but was wondering about some items, especially for a short (3 night) stay. For example:
“6. Clean out the fridge and dispose of any open or perishable food items. Why not make some extra space for your sitters to store their food, too?”
Do I really have to throw out food? Like mayonnaise, eggs, nuts, other “longer term” food? Or does this just refer to the leftover Thai food?

Would love to hear your views on the entire list of to-do’s for long vs short term.


Are you saying a sitter sent you a cleanliness checklist? Yikes. I would never do that.

I would clean the fridge and toss out perishable stuff that the sitter is not likely to eat like leftover pizza or whatever. Definitely not the condiments and nuts and anything you can still use when you get home. The eggs are up to you I guess.

As a sitter, we normally try to eat up any leftover fruit and veg but it does sound like this sitter doesn’t want that. Weird.

As a sitter, it is nice to have some room in the fridge but it certainly doesn’t have to be empty, even on a long sit, IMO.


“6. Clean out the fridge and dispose of any open or perishable food items.

Do you think they might mean your items?

@Kelownagurl its the email homeowners receive in preparation for receiving a sitter - a general checklist :slightly_smiling_face:

That email strikes me as strange…

Speaking as a sitter, I never expect the fridge to be cleared. For a short-term sit of 3 nights, I would not eat any of the homeowner’s food unless I was given explicit encouragement. I would just stick my own purchases in some little section of the fridge. And for such a short sit, I probably would not dispose of any of their perishable food, either, unless it was visibly molding. I’d figure it was their business to decide on when / whether to toss their perishable stuff.

For a long sit, I’m always happy to encounter perishables, because of course if they won’t last for the duration of the sit, I get to eat them. And homeowners always say that, too. I have been known to toss sketchy homemade leftovers or mystery meats.

But even in long sits, I don’t eat anything that I think has even a chance of lasting til the homeowner’s return, and I can easily work around their food supplies. I’ve never encountered a fridge so stuffed that there are no remaining square inches for my own things.


Ah… That’s different then. LOL.


No, not from the sitter, I think this email goes out to all homeowners just before the sitter comes. I assume any member can read it?
(Owner Cleanliness Checklist | TrustedHousesitters.com)

Thanks for your response!


Easiest thing is to ensure your fridge is clean (believe me some I’ve come across have been disgusting and I’ve felt obliged to clean them) and anything you’d like to keep just tell the sitter. Anything you’d like to be eaten before you return home, the sitter may oblige. It is nice to have space in the fridge and freezer for the sitter’s food.
A clean bathroom - I’ve had to clean out hairs from plug holes and gunge on several occasions.
We understand everyone has different levels of cleanliness/tidiness and I understand many owners are busier than me.


please don’t throw out condiments! They are a blessing to sitters: they are closed (usually) and won’t perish in 3 days!
What I think this checklist means is diplomatically asking if there is any rotting food in the fridge before the owner’s departure, or food about to go off in the next few days (meat, fish-sea food, dairy products, etc.) that could cause smells and the sitter would need to get rid of and clean during their stay. For a 3 day sit, these are the items that would go off quick, but please don’t throw off anything that you would use upon your return. And if you do have fish, poultry, etc. in the fridge that you don’t think you’d be able to use before your departure, maybe your sitter would like it or you could freeze it for your return if they confirm they won’t be consuming it?


Great post @katareeves - helped me, as I will get that same checklist soon for the first time. I reviewed it and all seems reasonable. Seeing this line item in the full checklist makes more sense. We usually clean out our fridge anyway when we go away and feel like it would make sense with a sitter too but not an empty fridge by no means either way.

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You don’t have to throw away anything that’s good. But it is common courtesy, even for a three day sit, to leave some space for your sitter to put their milk, cheese, leftovers, etc. I’ve stayed in places with fridges/freezers stuffed to the brim, and I’ve also stayed in places with mouldy food on every shelf. It’s just about being welcoming, don’t overthink it too much :slightly_smiling_face:


One clear shelf is more than enough for most sitters. I hate the thought of wastage so would much prefer home hosts to give us the option of using what we want or disposing of what we don’t.


Oh, goodness, please don’t feel you have to throw out your mayo, salad dressing, or even milk for a few day sit!
As a sitter, I’m happy if the fridge is reasonably tidy (like, doesn’t have rotten food!), and there is a bit of space for my stuff. Most of the time owners leave produce and tell me to eat anything that might go bad-- I’ll usually throw out anything that is bad that I don’t eat, and for longer sits, make sure there is fresh milk (same kind they left) when they return.
If your home is clean, you don’t need to especially overthink it, but thank you for being thoughtful!


I rent our flat does this mean i am unable to join housitters?

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@MickieHorne - renters are welcome too!


Hi @katareeves. As a sitter just a shelf in your fridge would be great. Anything that may go off while you’re away just advise the sitter they may use the items. Usually things like opened milk or eggs. Just be clear of what any sitter may use from your fridge or cupboards.


I don’t think so but you may have to run it past your landlord

@MickieHorne We have certainly housesat in properties that were rented by the pet owners. As @Smiley says, you might need to let your landlord know.

Does this email automatically go out to ALL pet parents / owners before every sit?

Our home is cleaned professionally the day before any sitter arrives and the bedroom made up with clean linen etc which is only ever used by our sitters, fresh flowers etc. I make sure the sitters know they are welcome to use anything that is left in cupboards, fridge and freezer and to discard if it is not useable. I have returned to foodstuffs which have clearly gone off as well as dead flowers and can’t understand why that has not been placed in a bin. I also request that beds are stripped on sitter’s departure.