What do you do when your sit's home is missing essential items? + Best thank you gift for home owners

I have noticed every sit we’ve stayed at so far has scratched non-stick pans and a drawer full of mismatched tupperware. The current sit we are on also has no toilet scrub brushes or dish scrubber which we know will make the final cleanup tricky.

Is it rude to purchase these things as a gift for the home owner while they are away? For example, a nice matching glass tupperware set or a stainless steal fry pan? Or even a dish scrub brush?

Especially because it would make our stay nicer AND the owners gets a perk as well. However, I don’t want to offend or clutter a HO’s house with something that isn’t their taste.

Also, I know common advice is to leave chocolate or wine. However, this seems presumptuous as we have stayed with some HOs that have health problems that sugar and alcohol would exacerbate. I would be very embarrassed to give a bottle of wine to someone recovering from a substance use disorder as the new sober curious movement takes hold. Lots of people are also allergic to flowers or don’t like the smell.

However, I also see how weird it could be to be like “Welcome home! Here is your toilet scrub brush thank you gift!”

Just wondering how sitters cope with missing amenities AND get creative with end of stay thank you gifts.

PSA- I guess apparently a lot of people don’t realize, you need to throw away non-stick pans once they start getting scratched: When Should You Throw Away Nonstick Pans? - Kitchen Seer

Thanks for your input. Cheers!


We also bought a toilet scrub once plus an entire cleaning set. The lady had a cleaning lady coming once a week and didn’t do her own cleaning (but she didn’t come during our stay). Not sure if it was rude what we did, but we also didn’t feel like throwing everything into the garbage after 2 weeks. The thing with the damaged non stick pans is actually more serious for your health. They should be replaced every 2-3 years, but nobody does that. We have stopped giving gifts and cooking meals for our hosts, taking great care of the house + animals is already a great gift (from what I read from actual HOs). But I think you can probably imagine from what they have in their pantry what types of food they might enjoy. If there is not a single bottle of wine I would not buy them any.


If there’s something ‘missing’ from my house, it’s because I dont want it/have no need for it so I’d rather you didnt spend money on it. If it’s something small/disposable that you want, by all means go ahead.

Definitely! I just want to come home to happy pets and house more-or-less as I left it. Wine, flowers and chocolates arent necessary. A card would be nice.


Yes, but a sitter needs cleaning supplies. I’ve had the same experience as Timmy. The HOs had a regular cleaner and didn’t provide me with toilet supplies etc.


Mine is non slip shower mats. I’m at the point of buying one for myself so I can use it in the homes when they don’t have one.
I wouldn’t buy a frying pan but I have bought cleaning clothes and pan scrubbers. I’m always careful about cleaning products, only buying exactly the same brand and type as already there. Eco friendly households will not thank us for using bleach and some other cleaning products.


That comes under my ‘small and disposable’ caveat.

Hi @catlady. These are a couple of great questions. I’m going to let other members advise you on their thoughts regarding this quetion, but I will tell you what we do after a sit. I agree that wine and chocolate are typical and most folks do like that (though not necessary), but you are right in your thoughts about health issues. We have started taking a great pic, having it printed and put into a small, inexpensive frame that is left with a thank you card. You would not believe the positive response we have gotten. It becomes a little keepsake of their beloved pet(s) that they can do with as they please. Not everyone can do this due to locale of sit or inability to get to a store that has print capabilities, but if you can, it is a great welcome home gift. The last one we did turned out extra special as their beloved furbaby passed away about a month later and this gave them a recent photo to hold onto.


I only give wine or food if I am certain it’s the kind of thing home owners would like.

As for purchasing supplies as you are suggesting, I think leaving them as a “gift” might be tricky and could come across as rude. Buy them for yourself if you feel they are essential, but then keep them or drop them off at Goodwill after the sit would be my suggestion.


I have been bowled over by the generosity of some House owners and I like to reward them with a gift that I Hope they will enjoy.
We live in Spain most of the year so Spanish wine is an obvious gift.
We stayed at a beautiful home that was immaculate and very tastefully decorated. Think house and gardens feature. Every item showed the owner’s interest in decor and international travel.
I managed to find a great glass bowl ( in a charity shop!) In colours that the owner clearly favoured. It was left after our sit and I said I hoped it would fit in if not please give it away.
The owner loved it and sent me a photo of beautiful Rhododendron blooms in it from her garden on the hall table. It looked lovely. I was touched by how hospitable she had been, putting a vase of flowers in our bedroom and making us feel immediately that we were special and appreciated.
It’s always hard to find something for people who appear to have everything. They knew their home and Labrador were well looked after. That is the best gift of all.


Hi @Highfive thank you! There are many members who feel just as you do, on both sides of our community … I am one.

We are a special and caring community thank you again for sharing your experiences.

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I absolutely don’t need a gift from a sitter- as others have said it’s a gift to have the animals looked after- but if you left me a pan or a dishscrubber as a “present” I would consider it pure cheek and would not have warm feelings about you. If my household items are not to your taste of course provide your own for your own use, but take them with you- if I wanted them I would have them. It comes across to me as snide and judgy.
Chocolate and wine are absolutely not necessary but much less objectionable. If someone doesn’t want them they don’t have to have them. Our last sitter left us a chocolate cake which the kids very much appreciated after the drive home. But again, happy animals is the real gift!


One of our sits was not up to standard regarding cleanliness. One toilet brush between 3 toilets??? You can bet your sweet behind that they did not carry the brush between their en-suite toilet to clean our guest toilet and the downstairs toilet! So we didn’t even think twice about buying 1 extra toilet brush and leaving it there on our departure. We found the microwave particularly dirty and rusty, we certainly didn’t feel like cleaning it. We are frequent microwave users, so this was non-negotiable for us. So we bought a cheap microwave and left it there. I am sorry if that might be a slap in the face, but respect goes BOTH ways. They were newlyweds, so we were happy to leave it as a gift to them. If they didn’t want it, they could donate it or sell it.


You are completely right, leave the place clean and comfortable for you- that’s an absolute basic rule. But the original poster was talking about mismatched tupperware, which is a different level entirely…

Admin Notice: Post moderated

I don’t think my post makes sense anymore having been moderated -I was echoing the language of the post I was replying to, not inciting violence! But fair enough admin.

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I see your point @ElEd , you are correct. I had to edit my post too. We’ve experienced basic clean and comfort for 99% of our prior sits, so you immediately recognise when those basics are absent. I agree, matching tupperware is not what I was referring to. :slight_smile:

If we need something that’s not in the home then we buy it, depending on price, or we just make do. We have bought cheap cleaning products if we’ve needed them but throw them out (or keep them if we are driving) as we don’t want to offend the HO. Cleaning products are a weird gift to leave. Better off mentioning politely to the HO that it would have been useful to have XYZ.

We would never buy new Tupperware, it’s not important, mismatched stuff still works ok. It makes a very negative statement saying that “your stuff isn’t good enough for me” and is definitely not an appropriate gift. We don’t leave wine or chocolate gifts as everyone’s tastes are different. We will only leave home cooked food gifts if we are certain the HO would eat it.

I am a keen VERY amateur photographer, so we email or text my best digital photos to the HO of their pets as our thank you. They can then choose to have these printed and framed, or not. We are very particular about how we display our photos at home, so we like to leave that decesion to the HO. Love @Highfive’s idea of the glass bowl from the charity shop & will tuck that idea away for the future. :smiley:



Eco friendly households will not thank us for using bleach and some other cleaning products.

Yes I absolutely agree, if a sitter used bleach or any other cleaning products different from my normal ones I would be absolutely furious.


Some HO’s in Mallorca were very hospitable and lent us their car to use. We dropped them at the airport and collected them too. Normally I would fill up the car with fuel but wasn’t sure how to get the lid open to fuel so we asked some hikers what the best walking book on Mallorca was and bought them that instead. They regularly rented out their property in the spring and summer and it was something that they didn’t have in their pack of resources. I also got maps etc to leave from the tourist information for future visitors.
My best gift for them was introducing them to some English friends with excellent Spanish … they have become great friends and regularly meet up as they live locally. It’s great to do something that makes a positive impact. We’ve been back to Mallorca after the HO’s no longer had pets. I taught our friends Canasta and left two packs of cards so we play lots when we meet up! Win win! Ha ha !


Everyone has different preferences for washing dishes. I never use a brush, preferring an abrasive sponge instead. If a visitor bought a brush and left it for me, I would not be offended. I would leave it in the cupboard, knowing that some future visitor might want to use it.

We often purchase common kitchen tools if they are missing, such as a ladle, a whisk, a serrated knife. We leave these for the hosts, but they are not pointed out as a “gift.” We leave them in the drawer. As others have stated, we leave a small gift, taking cues from what is already in the owner’s home.


Both of these items aren’t 100% essential to everyone but super useful & cheap as chips.

n NZ & parts of Aus during our winters, many homes have wood burners as a main heat source & perhaps a heat pump. I find matches annoying so I pick up a bic fire lighter to keep myself & the lovely pets warm :slightly_smiling_face:.

The other item is a squeegee for showers as have seen them at quite a few sits, picked up a few for our home & will find one again.

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Shrug. When I owned a house I had three toilets and one brush. On cleaning day I absolutely carried it from bathroom to bathroom. Why buy more stuff than necessary.