What food do you leave for your house sitters?

We have noticed a big difference between Sitters in what provisions they bring with them and what they use from the home whilst sitting.

We are fortunate in that we grow a lot of fruit and veg and raise our own animals for lamb, pork, sausages, ham, chicken etc. If fruit & veg ripen whilst we are away we are only too pleased that Sitters enjoy it; likewise the eggs. We always tell Sitters to help themselves but we did feel once that we had been taken for a ride when they must have lived a purely carnivorous diet! I feel it would be rather pernickety to ask them not too eat too much meat or for us to lock the freezers. The freezers also contain essential goods like milk, bread etc as there are not convenient shops.

What do other HOs do?

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Well, if our freezer is full, i manage to put away our stuff and leave for them an empty drawer, like that sitters may store some freezed shopping
I leave in the fridge butter, milk, eggs for their breakfast. I throw away the stuff which could rot
We have fig and cherry trees, they may pick up fruit of course when it’s the season

I must confess i hide champaign and wines. As all bottes (if they would like to replace them), are not alike…

As a sitter i never use the owner’s goods, unless they have told me to empty their fridge. I dare use salt and sugar of course. I would take rice, noodles or something “usual” but would replace it (with the same brand and label if possible)

We behave as sitters the same way we do when we exchange homes.


As a sitter, I am appalled that your sitters took so much advantage of your generosity. We always take our own initial supplies (usually emptying our own fridge) but wouldn’t dream of using anything the owners have left unless specifically invited and then only in moderation. If we have used up milk, etc., we always leave a replacement so owners don’t come back to an empty fridge. It’s a grey area, for sure, but common sense tells you sitters should not expect to be fed as well as enjoying free accommodation!


You are so right Doggy. We only use owners food and drink if they specifically offer it.


Hi Margaret,

As a HO, we always leave the essentials (bread, milk, juice, etc)
but we’ve usually found that many sitters like to do their own shop as part of their settling in. We’re fortunate in that we’re only five minutes from a big supermarket, so that does make it easier, of course. We always tell sitters to help themselves to anything we’re leaving behind, such as fruit, etc that would otherwise just be wasted. No-one’s ever raided the wine rack … yet!! Although they’d be welcome if they did :smile:


We would absolutely feed ourselves and not use anything that wasn’t specifically mentioned as being for us.


As a full-time sitter travelling to distant or international locations without a car it can be challenging to arrive at a new house-sit to find the fridge empty of even the most basic of milk and butter. I’ve found that home-owners tend to fall into two main categories with at one extreme the empty fridge scenario and at the other a full fridge and a pre-prepared meal for the first night having previously checked to see what I eat. (Not difficult by the way as I eat everything!) As I usually only take sits of at least 4 weeks it can be challenging to continue to eat well in homes that don’t have the basic ingredients available as I can’t be forever buying the basics most of which I will have to leave behind. I wouldn’t dream of using any food unless offered and certainly would not raid the wine cellar. I am grateful to those home owners who leave enough so I don’t have to make my first activity a supermarket visit before I’ve even had the chance to settle in and spend time with the animals.


Our last lovely owners took us out for dinner the first night :yum:


I leave basics (milk, butter, bread, tea, coffee …) and give them access to everything in the pantry. They usually return the favour so I can have tea and toast as soon as I get home, and it’s always interesting to see what herbs and spices have been added to my collection.


As a sitter I wouldn’t dream of using the HO’s stuff in the freezer or drinking their wine.

Most home owners so far have told us to use whatever’s left in the fridge, which seems the most logical option to me.

On long sits if we use their sauces/herbs/… wr always replenish.
I think it’s nice to buy the HO’s have the basics for their return as well, like milk, butter, bread,…
Nobody wants to come home & run straight to the shop.


As a sitter, I too, would never assume that the food in the fridge is for me! I make it clear I’ll bring my own tea bags, small jar of coffee, fruit, milk and perhaps a ready meal for that first evening. Even when I’ve been told to empty the fridge I have not done so. I’ve replaced everything I’ve used. One home owner though, left not a morsel of food ( it was New Year’s Eve). There was no kettle for me to make a coffee and the dishwasher was chock-full of dirty dishes. Their dog was definitely better cared for than their sitter. Another home owner took me out in their car to the local supermarket and I stocked up. That was much appreciated. In cases such as this, the arrangement is clear.


As a sitter, if the sit is more than a week, we’ll use what is in the fridge that would otherwise go to waste. We wouldn’t dream of eating from the freezer or drinking from the wine rack.
If we are sitting in our own country we travel with a box of staples, if we are back packing abroad I’ll use a pinch of herbs or spices and a tablespoon of flour, but would expect to buy my own meat/veg/carbs

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I get a food service such as Hello Fresh or Home Chef. Since they come on a weekly basis, I will allow my sitter to choose what they would like, if they like to cook. I think it is worth it for watching my babies.


Hello @careinard welcome to the forum and what a lovely gesture, thank you so much for sharing your kind thoughts, we cannot wait to get to know you all better.

Your babies have a lovely Mum, their sitters will have a very special time to look forward to. Thank you for joining in our community conversation and enjoy meeting members from around the world.

Angela & The Team

Like the others, I do not eat food from the freezer although it’s been offered a few times. It’s nice to have bread, milk, butter on arrival but to be honest, I don’t really need it because we always go do a big shop when we first arrive. Most of our sits are a week or longer so we try to use up anything that will go bad while we’re there.

I enjoy baking so I sometimes use pantry ingredients but I always replace them if I use a lot. I also travel with my own herbs/spices because not everyone has the things I like to use. We have only had their wine if it’s been offered or if we are able to replace it with the exact same bottle.

And when we leave, we generally purchase the same products for their return - milk etc.


That happened to us lately.
Think the offer of fresh bread milk etc is lovely.
Shops etc close earlier on certain :date: dates.
Upon leaving we left milk bread .
Fresh home made soup etc
Flowers and a lovely scented candle.
Wasn’t even a thank you.


oh dear no wonder my 2nd & 3rd sitters were surprised when I said they had to supply everything themselves. I was told by another sitter that helped me join that they had to. I will have to change that when it comes to condiments & food not in the freezer. I have to admit having only 3 sitters & my first awful was surprised that one couple left gifts for my canaries & cat. Will in future leave something special

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I tell sitters in our home guide “use any pantry items, just leave a note if you use the last of anything, and please eat anything perishable.” I would not expect my housesitters to eat my freezer items unless I’d told them to. I suppose if I were leaving for six months I’d tell them to eat freezer items. But, no, sitters should not be helping themselves to the filet mignon I put into the freezer a week before I left the house when I’m due back in two weeks. :smiley:


I like to leave a local welcome package, usually wine, cheese and chocolate, as a small token of thanks and a teaser “taste” of the area. I’m happy to leave bread, milk, etc but so far they’ve all elected to bring their own food (they’ve all driven from home). I always tell sitters to help themselves to anything in the house and make themselves at home. Thanks to that we’ve arrived home to some super special treats, like a loaf of homemade sourdough bread (made with my flour and starter) and a strawberry rhubarb pie with one piece missing :joy:. Makes me happy when people are that comfortable here!


We would never help ourselves to any of the HO’s food or drink unless they had told us we could. Even with permission we’d use very little or look to replace what we’d used.