My home-owner perspective - I think it’s rude, mean and inconsiderate to not leave the sitter enough household/pet supplies to last the duration of a sit less than 3 weeks. Longer sits might be different but at the very least I’d leave money to pay for any pet supplies.
For food, I literally mean ‘help yourself’ to anything edible/quaffable I just ask that there’s coffee/milk/cereal for my return and to let me know of anything that’s finished, as I’ll arrange for a food delivery the day after my return.
Homeowner and sitter here. As a HO, I usually leave lots of TP, dish soap, laundry detergent, etc, but I don’t think it is required. As a sitter, I would never expect a HO to provide all the (non-pet) supplies I would need for a longer (4+ weeks) sit. if I was at home I would be buying my own TP, etc, so why shouldn’t I buy them when I’m sitting?
As for leaving supplies behind at the end of a sit - I have no problem with doing that. It is no different to the HOs leaving supplies for me when they leave. I wouldn’t leave 12 toilet rolls after a weekend sit, but I probably would leave that after a sit of a few months.
Yet again there is no right or wrong answer to this question. It’s really what you are comfortable with.
I always put myself in the pet parents position. Coming home from holiday I would be more than miffed if there was no toilet roll. The washing powder was gone. No olive oil, salt or pepper and worst of all no milk for my much needed cup of tea.
I always make sure these items besides a nice loaf of bread are left. Anything I have used out the store cupboard is replaced eg. tin of tomatoes and any spices I finished off. Imagine cooking your favourite “I’m home” meal and finding you didn’t have an essential ingredient?
Another thing we try to do, especially if it’s a family, leave the washing machine and tumble dryer empty. If there is no time to launder bedding and towels I leave them in the laundry with a note explaining why. I’d hate to come back after a fortnights holiday and not be able to put a washing on because of spare linen being washed. Worst nightmare.
So far, we’ve flown to most of our sits. We carry a bag of herbs and spices with us because I like to have them on hand, and then we purchase all of our groceries when we are there. Like others, we use up perishables and anything the home owner has left for us (bread, milk etc) and leave the same for them. We have purchased loo rolls or paper towels if we’ve used the last ones, but that is rare.
If there are things I know we use a lot, and they don’t have much (olive oil?), I usually buy a small container and take it from sit to sit.
As I HO we make a real effort to fill everything before we leave and make sure there are enough cleaning products, Kitchen rolls, kitchen basics like butter, oils, spices etc. Plus toilet rolls, shampoo, conditioner, body lotion and to use up any perishables. Most sitters have been extremely considerate, if they use up all the washing up liquid for example they top it up (at a local shop) where they could choose to top up as much as they wish to.
We have found it quite inconsiderate when a sitter has used up every item from full and has not replaced it or even partially replaced it. Now, for example, we never say please help yourself to everything in the fridge anymore, as somebody once ate every single thing in our fridge, including condiments! And they did not replace anything. We always ask our sitters if there is anything they would like us to get in for them, as we always appreciate little things like that when we arrive at a sit. Plus we always ask our sitters what they would like as a thank you gift.
As sitter’s we don’t like to use up all items that have been left for us, if we use up all the paper towels or toilet roll for example, then we would replace them as we do not want to leave the HO without any on their return, and we consider this part of staying somewhere, just as you would if you stayed at a rented property or Air BnB. The only exception would be if we were not able to replace it at the very end of a sit and we were unable to get to a supermarket to shop to replace them, in which case we would let the HO know that they needed to get some. We also try and travel around with little packets of things we use often like Coconut oil and cinnamon quite can be expensive and we would not want to use up all the HO’s.
I’m a 5+ yr nomadic pet sitter and was surprised to learn how many sitters actually buy essential supplies. Can’t recall any owner who expected me to replace cleaning supplies and essentials like oil. One owner requested if I use up comestibles in the kitchen, replace them. Otherwise, I would only buy if there were no TP or if they had left me “gifts”, buy their essential items like fresh milk the day before departure so they don’t have to go to the store just for that. I’ve rarely had sits where I had to buy some cleaning supplies.
We had one sit and a second scheduled. I posted on my profile for sitters to make themselves at home and feel free to dig through the groceries. I specifically asked to leave the goat milk (ha ha, most don’t like it) and alcohol be replaced.
We want people to enjoy their stay and have the basics on hand but also be prepared to provide for themselves if dietary restrictions apply.
I’m looking forward to our next sitter as we truly made a friend with the first.
Sometimes it’s good to step back, breathe, and remind ourselves what a lovely program THS can be for all parties, and strive toward civility, thoughtfulness and hospitality. For me, I’m so blessed to know someone is prepared to care for my pet and give me the opportunity to see my grandchildren, in trade for an opportunity to share the beauty of where I live.
I’ve made so many friends with owners and their pets who I wouldn’t have met otherwise. Still keeping in touch with most of them, done repeat sits and would happily put them up in my own home….although my own home is rented out!
I know I’m not alone in making lasting friendships
I might be selfish but HO should be expect to have some - reasonable use of pt, tp,soap from their sitters especially if the tay is for a few days. It is a nice touch from HO who encourage the use “of everything in the kitchen” . Many might disagree with me, but the HO have the best deal in this exchange, particularly if there multiple animals in the house. Our first exchange (2 dogs: one no trained at all who actually tried to bite when we tried to put a leash on him… the other smaller was in diaper) was in a house full of food, beer and drinks. we did not use anything (I helped myself with 1 soda). The HO rushed out of the house within 5 min of our arrival … We run a STR as well and leave always tons of pt even for guests who stay a few weeks. The rests of the HOs in our experience, have been extraordinary and we always buy /bring our food, but for for cleaning products, paper supplies I think the HO should be expected some usage. If the HO leaves some fresh flowers (one did) we had some fresh flowers for the HO. as well.
however… once I did buy a new bottle of their fancy foaming soap, because I LOVED the scent of what they had, and I washed my hands so often, I used up most of the container that was at the sink. I intended to take the not-quite-yet-emptied bottle but I forgot to take it!
My situation may be different, as I keep my sits to within 2 hrs of home. I always have my car… so I just bring my own stuff and use it.
@LaStrega - I worked out tp ( toilet paper? ) - but what is pt?
I disagree that the home hosts always have the best deal, I think it varies. Occasionally, on particularly difficult sits we feel the home host has had the best deal, other times, on particularly easy sits we feel that we have had the best deal but mostly, it feels to us like a very fair exchange.
Hand soap gets me every time @MissChef! I think I’m an addict. I have so many bottles stored up at home because I’ve discovered it on a sit or in a public place, taken a photo & subsequently ordered some. The only time I restrained myself was on a sit in Scotland when the HO had Liz Earle hand wash and when I searched for it, the price was over £20