Should sitters replace bare min. remainders of HO’s supplies in full?

So far on this sit, I’ve fully replaced the kitchen paper towels, trash bags, eggs, butter, milk, oil (although I don’t expect food like essential household supplies) all because I was left the bare minimum of each as most of them were already used up with no backup. I paid for full replacements of them.
I haven’t dared to touch the dryer sheets because I don’t want to replace them in full too when only 2-3 sheets are left for me. I also stopped washing the dishes in the dishwasher because the detergent was very little to begin with at the start of my sit.
I haven’t had this kind of situation before. I wouldn’t need more, but when the owners get back, they’d have none so now they are getting full supplies from me.

Is this the standard of what sitters do or is expected by HOs? For the record, the HOs are very kind people, so this was likely an oversight, but I wonder if it’s relatively common.


As a homeowner I tell my sitters that there is no need to replace anything unless they opened and used it all.
I try to ensure that there are good stocks of everyday items to see them through their sit.

My opinion is that if I was paying for kennels it would cost me considerably more than a few household replacements although admittedly my trips are 2/3 weeks max.


Our general rule is that we replace what we use. The paper towel wouldn’t have been replaced because we don’t use paper towel, but everything else we would happily replace or buy as needed. The empty stuff was almost certainly an oversight and I’m sure the HO’s would be horrified to realize that they left you with no butter.

In answer to your question, it’s not usual but it happens.

Enjoy the sit!


I wouldn’t expect any food, so no butter etc wouldn’t bother me in the slightest, but I do take great exception to a lack of basic household supplies. I find it incredibly inconsiderate.

We did a sit where we were left with a scant half a loo roll, very little cleaning spray, and barely enough laundry detergent for one load of washing. The small amount of detergent in the bottle ended up being used on day one because the pet puked on the bed!

On that sit, we had other issues (it was a horrible sit, tbh), so I just messaged the HO to say that they were out of supplies and that they would need to buy more on their way home. Having gone above and beyond elsewhere, I was not prepared to buy any replacements.

Edited to add, as a host, I leave sitters with all the household basics and pet food required for the duration of the sit and then some.


I’m sure the homeowners would be horrified that you replaced so much in full. If I use their butter to any extent I would replace that, sometimes replace toilet rolls depending on the length of stay etc. I would generally buy them bread and milk for their return and eggs if they’ve left some. I wouldn’t replace items left in the fridge I’d eaten that would have been inedible by the time they returned. Anything I use in full I would replace, such as cans of food, biscuits. Where I am at the moment there are very few laundry capsules so I’ve bought a full bag and will just replace what I’ve used and take the rest with me. It’s a question of using initiative.


Same as @Smiley. We might replace, but take most with us if we were left with hardly anything. We are traveling by car, though, so it makes it easier. In all honesty, when the sit is very nice with a very friendly and generous host and lovely pets, we are more inclined to replace things. When it’s a stingy host, or a difficult sit, we are less inclined to buy top-ups for them. I guess ‘you get what you give’ or ‘karma’ is alive and well :blush:


I cannot take most things I bought to replace with me as I am nomadic without a car of my own.

What confuses me too is how do I top-off if the brands are different? Some brands are easy and fast to find but others are more obscure and would have to be delivered. Or perhaps it doesn’t matter?

I wouldn’t have the means to carry the rest of the supplies, after topping off, with me anyway unless I get extra luggage.


@FreeSpiritManette how long is your sit? If it’s a long sit, then it might be worth just buying what you need and leaving the rest. Still cheaper than a night in a hostel, maybe. But of course it depends on how you feel. Perhaps you should notify the host. Our current sit showed us the washing machine. When I lifted the flap of the detergent, I said: whoa, it’s nearly empty. He said he knows, and he is very sorry, it’s a result of poor planning. I said: but you’ll return and there will be nothing left because we don’t travel with detergent, and he said: yes, that’s okay! So he knew…
The hosts might be aware and it might just be poor planning. If you notify them and ask if you should replace, and keep the receipts, then they can reimburse you on their return. Maybe.


I do what you did, @FreeSpiritManette .
I often leave more supplies than they started with. I have bought extra toilet paper, paper towels, laundry detergent and cleaner. I figure it’s a nice touch.


Hmm, funny how we all have different standards.
Thus far we have always taken our own car to sits, so our philosophy is to live like we live at home. We take with us, or buy and retain pretty much everything. The few things we will use from the HO are cleaning equipment & consumables and small amounts of obscure herbs & spices that we don’t travel with.
We take our own towels, all food, loo rolls, dishwasher tablets/W-u-L, sponges, rubber gloves, disinfectant wipes (the last 3 for our own peace of mind about hygiene), washing powder/capsules, herbs & spices, freezer bags, foil, cling, kitchen paper & other things I can’t think of now. I can’t conceive of why we would be entitled to live off the HO’s supplies because we are caring for their house & pets :woman_shrugging:t3:
Of course, I have yet to experience a sit we fly to & will need a plan of campaign for that but it won’t rely upon being furnished with everything by the HO.


I think it is swings and roundabouts.

Sometimes we leave more than we use, and other times we use more than we leave.

Any perishables that we are only using to save from the bin we would not replace. As a gesture, we always make sure there is bread and milk available for them when we leave. Not necessarily unopened.

We did get our fingers burnt on our last sit - When we arrived there was 3/4 of a loaf of posh sourdough bread that we would never have bought ourselves but did use so felt obliged to replace. When I found it in the supermarket it cost £8!


We are currently sitting full time in the UK for 4.5 months, with no car. We arrived with carry on luggage only, so we have to be very selective with what we cart around from sit to sit. During our first sit which was only 5 days, we planned a menu, bought groceries accordingly and left behind some frozen veges, milk & butter. We bought a few staples that fitted in to 1 canvas shopping bag. We got smarter for our future sits, planned a menu and ordered groceries online for delivery at each sit on the day we arrived or the next day, this might also include loo paper, paper towels, tissues, depending on how long we are at a sit. Like others we will replace things if we have used half or more of a thing. If there was a tiny bit left of something we would probably not replace it as the home owner would be aware they need to buy more anyway. Every owner has told us to use pantry & fridge staples. We always ensure there’s milk, butter and bread for them on their return so at least they can make a cuppa and toast.


I honestly wouldn’t worry too much.


Chiming in to add my 2 ¢…

For me, it really depends on the host. I had a sit where they insisted I use anything and everything they had in their generously stocked pantry/fridge. It felt weird for me. But I tried it out, and ended up having a lot of fun with the items they had (everyone shops so different, so someone else’s kitchen can be a food adventure!).

I did replace some items that seemed more specialty, and left the same dairy they used for their coffee. Because that’s the least one can do!

For the really short (less than 3 day) sits, I use all of my own food/groceries. Of course making use of the hosts spices. No need to replace anything in these cases.

For the longer sits, I keep a running list of items I use, and replace them as I go. For things like toilet paper: I buy a package that will leave a few rolls when I leave. Same with laundry soap. I am traveling around the world with just a carry on backpack, so it’s not possible to travel with supplies.

Honestly it comes down to a few things: generosity makes me feel good. So if the hosts aren’t horrible (I’ve only had 1, and it was on a different site), I love to leave all my extras from cooking to cleaning supplies.

Because at the end of the day, the amount of $$$ I have saved from not getting a hotel room is SO much less than what I have spent on supplies.

My 2¢… Go with your gut/heart. Do what makes you feel good. And communication is so key to having a good sit. Enjoy!


Let your common sense prevail. Obviously, a little leftover perishable food, such as yoghurt, milk, eggs wouldn’t need to be replaced, but as @faithlotus wrote, I too keep a running list of what we have used and replace non-perishables if we have used a lot. I also buy milk, bread, butter and eggs for the HO on their return - especially when they have travelled half way round the world and are exhausted on their return. The first thing we generally do when starting a housesit is go to the supermarket and buy our own food.


In a case like this I would play dumb (or maybe not so dumb) by texting the HO and asking something like “I noticed you are almost out of trash bags, are there more somewhere else?”
Actually I have sent this exact text and they WERE somewhere else, so it does actually help to ask. If they aren’t somewhere else, then the HO at least knows you are running out of staples that they should have left for you. Things like cleaning supplies (especially those required to help care for pets) should be included always. This includes trash bags, laundry detergent, dish washing liquid, etc.
As for food, it’s a bit trickier. We always leave as much or more of the dairy staples that we used (milk, butter, eggs, etc) unless we didn’t use them at all. If you have left an oat milk, and it expires, we aren’t replacing your oat milk. Soz.
For part of the year we ran into a rather expensive pattern of behavior we dubbed The Case of the Near Empty Olive OIl. AS the title suggests, we did multiple sits where we were left with truly the scantest amount of cooking oil. Unlike milk, olive oil clocks in around $8 or more per bottle. We started buying cheap canola oil (which comes in minis sometimes) to offset this, but it was frustrating.
On our current sit, we are here for 6 weeks and so we are keeping a running tally of things we’ll need to grab from the shop. We were left with a full bottle of oil, but we’ve used it, so it’ll be replaced no problem. Things like toilet paper we always replenish, especially if we’ve left them with little upon return.
As most others have said, it’s case by case sometimes, and other factors are at play like duration of sit, but when it doubt, just text them. If enough things are running out, they may send you some money to buy things or reimburse you when they return.


As a homeowner. I don’t expect them to replace or need to replace anything. We always leave bathrooms stocked with tp, soap, etc and kitchen with trash bags, paper towels, dish & dw soap, coffee filters, laundry detergent- even shampoo and conditioner just in case…ETC. if dish soap is running low I leave new bottle on the counter (but also show or say to find what they might need). And often new sponge in package.

I say up front to use basics (flour, spices, oil, Etc) and anything in fridge that might spoil. I want sitters to feel welcome. We do clean special before a sit and check that there are coffee filters and that all is stocked for them.

(I treat the sitter like an invited guest and always try to leave welcome things for them: a gift card to a local cafe, a hot chocolate bomb, Hanukkah Gelt when I knew they celebrated the holiday. I leave a stack of restaurant menus and local guides to hikes and activities.)

I‘d think all ho would want happy, comfortable sitters…and this seems only right.


You are my kind of Host! :pray:


It does happen but it’s not very common. Perishable food products we would not necessarily replace in full and I don’t think they would expect you to buy 10 eggs if they just left you with one. But we would not leave them without oil or detergent.


You sound like my kind of owner! :wink: