I am curious if there are any common enough experiences that both sitters and owners could learn from one another. Is there a repeated theme of what sitters or owners wish the others would do/not do before/during a sit?
I realize there are lots of variables - duration of a sit impacts certain priorities, for example.
I would say for the average 1 week to 10 day sit, for example - what are some things for sitters that you walk into that you think “I wish owners would/wouldn’t do ____” and vise versa for owners? Besides the OBVIOUS (good communication, detailed instructions, clean/neat home)
This is not to be a list of complaints against all past sits/sitters. Many are great on every level - I just think more awareness would be helpful!
We don’t know what we don’t know!!
(and I am going to start asking better and more questions in advance now - it is always my objective to allow HO’s to have a relaxing, enjoyable time away without being bothered with questions like these during their trip)
I will start as a sitter -
I wish there was always lots of space in a clean fridge and freezer for our own supplies and anything perishable was thrown away or we were told “please eat/use or toss during your stay” - among lots of perishable food, I’ve found open bottles of wine…open wine lasts only a few days but I’m not comfortable consuming anything of the owners without being directly told to do so. I don’t know what an owners comfort level is with old produce and what is considered still “good” or not, so I don’t like just throwing things away.
I am not a fan of clothes left in the washer or dryer unless we have been told we cannot do laundry during our stay and you do not expect us to wash and dry our sheets and towels. It is incredibly awkward to take out the clothes of strangers - including intimates - and know what to do with them.
If the sit is a week or longer, living out of a suitcase is not fun. Space in a closet or drawers would be much appreciated if at all possible!
As insignificant as it may sound, I love arriving to an empty dishwasher.
And as a PS - a couple of things I find myself buying often on sits bc there are none; tissues (kleenex) as well as new sponges for cleaning
These are very good points carpediem16! As a sitter, I’ve encountered all of these! I have developed my own checklist of questions and one of the questions I ask is “will you have some room for us to put food items in your fridge/freezer”. I tend to discard of vegetables that are going off and just replace them but it would be nice to know what to do with other perishables in the fridge. Seems such a shame to look at food going to waste while homeowners are away.
On a few occasions, I have emptied the dryer of the homeowners’ clothes and also emptied the dishwasher.
I tend to bring some of my own cleaning products, especially sponges as I’ve noticed that many homeowners strictly use a dishwasher and I haven’t even been able to find dishwashing liquid and had to buy. I tend to prefer washing dishes by hand.
Also, in my checklist, I ask if they have a coffee maker and if so, what type as I tend to bring my own coffee. My latest question to homeowners is “do you have a toaster”? On three recent house sits there was no toasters - only airfryers which I found useless for making toast.
good points, Globetrotter.
We have been traveling by air on many occasions, so bringing cleaning supplies, etc is not practical. I have bought many cleaning items once arrived, however, like a Swiffer with dry and wet sheets.
I am not comfortable throwing away anything unless I’ve been asked to do so. I mean, if they wanted them tossed, couldn’t they have tossed them?
I certainly have emptied dishwashers. However, since we’ve just arrived and I don’t yet know where ANYthing is, it makes settling in much more cumbersome (and delayed). I feel like I"m playing a very long game of “where does this go?” instead of focusing on the pets, which is my priority and they have no idea who I am yet.
You are correct. I need to ask more questions such as these.
I find handling others clothes so awkward. My husband (or me) pulling out or folding a woman’s thong underwear…yeah, not comfortable.
Oooh and asking about a toaster! Good one! This is important to us as well and thankfully we have always had one so far!
Wow, @carpediem16 , you hit every single one of my wishes as a sitter. I’m glad you mentioned an empty dishwasher and empty washer or dryer. A sitter just doesn’t know where or how to put the owner’s things away, whether they be intimates or a pan that the sitter didn’t use. The only thing I might add is that I wish for a homeowner who will promptly give me a review, even without having to ask!
I’m also a homeowner, and I have had such wonderful sitters so I can’t speak from any personal experiences of things I wish sitters would do. I do love a sitter who sends daily updates, communicates well, leaves the house tidy, reads and follows my welcome guide, and leaves feedback after the sit. I’ve been lucky to have that from all my sitters.
Thank you for the mention of a toaster, @Globetrotter. I just updated my listing to add toaster to the list of all the kitchen appliances I have. Toasters, to me, are ubiquitous in a kitchen, kind of like a sink, so I hadn’t thought to mention it. Thank you!
We did so many toaster-less sits in Australia that we ended up buying a cheap toaster! We left it at the end of a sit (they were a young couple, just moved in, so didn’t think we were leaving our trash behind) but would’ve also dropped it at a thrift store had we thought it’d be unwelcome.
We also ask about coffee. So many people use those pod machines, which aren’t our favourite, but it’d be better to come prepared with pods than a bag of ground coffee and no way to brew it! We’ve also considered buying our own plunger for our current trip, as we’ll have a car for four months and can carry a bit more stuff.
Isn’t it funny - things some of us find essential are not at all for others? We have not had a lot of sits without toasters but have had some airbnb’s without them. A total puzzle to us, as well!
We travel all around the world with our own Italian style expresso pot and our own coffee.
These plus collapsible steamer, that fits all sized pans, and our feather pillows from IKEA are essentials we never travel without!
We overlapped with a host who did a wash load on the morning of leaving and hung it all out on a rack to dry and then just left! No instructions what to do with it. Not really cool. I just left it hanging for several days till I actually needed the rack then draped all his stuff over a chair in the spare room…
A toaster and a kettle are essentials for a Brit! But we found in Mexico last winter no place we stayed had either but they all had blenders (for all their sauces) and microwaves and filter coffee machines! We bought a toaster on a local second hand site & left it at the last stay. Same in Bali- never a toaster but always a blender (for all the yogis that love their smoothies!)
Instructions on how to work the TV, washing machine, heating etc, as they are all different. Info on the local bus times, stops etc. It goes without saying, leave a review without having to be asked several times.
I agree with your 4 main points, I have experienced all of those on my 30 sits so far this year.
I would add that a bit of space in the bathroom is very nice - enough space to put my toiletries bag or at least some space to put out a few of the daily necessities somewhere.
I have done cat sits in at least one home that did not have a toaster - they used the grill to toast their bread.
Since arriving in the UK, I travel with a pack of disposable cleaning cloths that I can use for cleaning my shoes/boots or use in the kitchen/bathroom for cleaning purposes. At some houses the kitchen sponge looks sort of worse for wear and in those cases I prefer to use one of my own cleaning cloths. It would be nice if the HOs would dispose of any past-their-use-by-date, old sponges and replace with a new one before a HS arrives.
We always carry disinfectant spray these days and also a pack of disinfect wipes. We like to clean down all surfaces on arrival - especially toilets, shower floors, kitchen counters, light switches etc only takes a few minutes but gives a good feeling. We also replace kitchen sponges if they are icky!
Deb and I don’t drink coffee at all and as such do never think to look in the coffee machine for leftovers. So we always request the owners leave the coffee machine the way they would like it on their return, either clean or with coffee dregs in it.
Having travelled a lot and been to a lot of places, I found that pillows in sitters assigned bedrooms vary in quality. Upon returning home it hit me that we always put our old pillows in the ‘other’ bedrooms when we purchase new ones. We don’t do that any more.
A top sheet on the bed please not just a fitted sheet and a duvet. Currently sitting in the UK in winter and only 1 home so far has had a top sheet on the bed between us and the duvet. Depending on the heating in the homes, we have been sweltering at night and then become too cool when we have thrown off the duvet. Much prefer sheets and blankets to regulate our sleeping temps, rather than an all or nothing duvet. Having a top sheet is also easier to wash weekly than a big duvet cover which wouldn’t need weekly washing if there was a top sheet.
A small thing but a face washer/cloth would be great with our bathroom towels. We haven’t had one provided yet in any home (or hotel) so we purchased our own. A bit inconvenient to carry wet though when we are in transit between sits.
Salt & pepper in the pantry to fill the empty shakers/grinders we find on our first day of the sit.
Lastly, explain how to operate the shower. It seems every UK shower is different on how you set the temperature and water flow. In Australia they are mostly the same. In one home we could not get water to come out of the shower hose, only the bath spout. They were connected but there was no visible button/lever to change the water flow direction. We didn’t want to bug the home owner and appear stupid but it was really inconvenient.
Oh my goodness YES! Top sheets!!
So funny that you would mention this one because this has been a topic for us for months. We had this issue in France several times but also just had this issue in Southern California! We have this issue in hotels, airbnb’s and on our sits.
This last sit there was no top sheet but thankfully there were top sheets in the linen closet so we were able to remake the beds.
I do take a face washcloth with me and yes, it’s a drag to carry it around wet but I put it in a zip lock bag and wash it every chance I get.
And we also had an issue with salt and pepper shakers needing to be refilled and not finding any. lol. Sometimes it’s the little things!
@carpediem16 are you Australian or a Kiwi? The top sheet thing seems to be an Aussie/NZ thing!
@Crookie, we learnt about the shower issue in the UK back in 2015 and we always now ask for a demo on how they work!! Have you had one where there’s a switch hidden in a cupboard to get hot water in the shower??
We also travel with 2 flat sheets and 2 face washers but we leave these ( plus other stuff) with friends in England for our return the following year. We rarely come across a top sheet on our UK sits and find duvets too hot, so often we remove the cover and use it plus our flat sheet.
@temba we are washing bed linen today and I thought about ditching the doona cover to lessen the weight.
I would never think to look in a cupboard for a hot water switch - thanks for the heads up in case that happens. Still not sure if I have to put the manual house heating on so we can get 2 hot showers in a row as hubby mentioned on our first day that his shower was getting cooler towards the end after I’d had mine. So now we switch the heating on for showers, at least the towels get a chance to dry on the towel rail & near the radiator. Still a bit paranoid about putting clothing or towels directly on the radiator. Any advice about that?