What food , if any, should I leave for my sitter?

I’m often in others’ homes as the chef in charge of managing/providing food., I have a ton of experience trying to accommodate several restrictions at the same time. It’s rough!

I can drive yourself batty if i try to please all of the people attending with a single menu… But you’re extending a great kindness to just 1 or 2! So just ask, or have a stash of long shelf life food they choose from.

Honestly, feeding US isn’t TECHNICALLY your responsibility, but if your home is remote and the sitter doesn’t have a car, the time they must spend to get provisions isn’t time spent caring for your pets.

I’m trying to think of what someone would do here at my place: no delivery services for restaurants (or anything), 6 miles to the gas station, 15+ miles to a supermarket. If the person visiting couldn’t drive, it would be a problem!!


I know that most sitters don’t expect to be fed, regardless of where the house is located. I just tell them they MAY use any dry goods and spices, not that they HAVE TO.

The same applies to the welcome basket, which I am quite pragmatic about:
What I leave is a gift, period.
If a sitter doesn’t want it, fine.
If they don’t drink wine, don’t open the bottle! I won’t be offended, because I will drink it myself when I get back.
It’s nothing more than a gesture and I don’t ask for specifics beforehand.

That’s why my husband and me agreed not to give each other anymore Christmas presents, because it’s ridiculous to ask what the other person would like. I either have an idea or I don’t, but I don’t want to ask or be asked.


I feel the same way when I choose to leave my HOs a meal/flowers/chocolate/wine or some other gift upon their return. What they do with it when I walk out the door doesn’t matter to me. It’s the kind gesture that counts.


If a home owner leaves me food/goodies I may not eat etc, I can pass it on to folks I know who do like x or y. :+1::+1:

You can always take it to a backpackers & sure it would be used there!

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We usually just left a gift basket with a bottle of wine, some morning snacks and some tv snacks (chips, popcorn, candy bar, etc.) as well as info on places to see while in town, including a local magazine with lots of valuable info.


I don’t expect the HO to leave any food for me either.

I may use a bit of salt, spices and cooking oil but everything else I bring myself. If there are perishables left in the fridge which would go off by the time the HO returns I use them up as far as possible - and on my last day I buy the same or similar items fresh, so the HO has some fresh milk, bread, bananas etc. for their perusal when they return.

That is very thoughtful of you, @long1016 .
I’m sure your kind welcome gift makes your sitter feel appreciated!

As a sitter, I always ask the homeowner if it’s OK to use staples such as cooking oil, spices, etc. – things that one normally wouldn’t buy for a relatively short period. When we do a sit within driving distance, we often bring the spices we use most often, plus other dry goods.
What I really do appreciate is the homeowner leaving room in the fridge and the pantry shelves for the things I will bring or buy while I’m on the sit. Take inventory of what it’s in your fridge well before your trip and plan to use up most perishable items so the sitter doesn’t have to push items to the back of shelves to make room


The biggest thing is to throw away any perishable foods. Don’t leave the sitter stuck cleaning up your fridge. If it’s open and/or won’t still be good when you return, ask them if they want it and, if not, bin it before you leave. This includes meat, dairy, veg, fruits, leftovers, etc. As for food to leave for them, if you’re planning to buy special stuff for them, ask first. I see many HOs say they always buy bread, yogurt, milk, fruit, etc. for their sitters - “the basics” - which is kind. I don’t eat any of that. It would all go directly in the bin after the HO left, which is a huge waste. I’d much rather be left with nothing than a bunch of stuff I have to toss the moment they’re out the door.


Hi, as a sitter we tend to arrive with our basics, tea, coffee, snacks & breakfast items.
Weve often forgotten basic things like oil, margerine & spices, so appreciate that if its available.
I agree that not everyone consumes bread, diary or other basic items, so i wouldnt buy these items especially but i also wouldnt throw them out either, that always seems a shame.
You could invite the sitter to use whats left if they can or give to a neighbour.
Tbh we appreciate any thought a HO puts into what they leave.

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I think offering the food to the sitter is good as long as, if the sitter doesn’t want it, the HO disposes of it. I’ve had HOs be like “help yourself to whatever in the fridge” and then leave fridges full of half used/will expire before they’re home food to the point where there was no space for my own food. Having to deal with it is annoying and shouldn’t be my responsibility. If they don’t want it to go in the bin, they should find a home for it whether it be in their belly, with a friend/neighbor, or some other alternative.

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We’re actually active and certified food savers and would be horrified if HOs would just bin everything before we came. Obviously it doesn’t make sense to leave half a slice of cheese or a single dumpling, but some fruit and veg are always welcome.


I don’t leave any food for my sitters unless they are perishables. I communicate with the sitter beforehand that they would need to bring their own food. I say this in the video chat before the sit is confirmed and also in the welcome guide. I like to be highly communicative and transparent so there are no assumptions.

Sometimes I have salad, milk, and fresh veggies in the fridge. Since I’m going away on vacation, I’lll let the sitter know they are welcome to that. Otherwise, sometimes my fridge is empty as I’m not a big cook in the first place.


I’m with you on this one re fridge perishables @Timmy. I agree with others that finding rotting or way out of date food in a fridge with no space is not good, but as an avid cook I always look forward to arriving at a house sit and seeing what’s been left in the fridge that can be utilized, to make a meal. Sort of like a house sitters version of “masterchef” :rofl: At our last sit we were left some unopened local ham and homemade pies, cheeses and plenty of fine veggies, all of which got used :slight_smile:

I think this is also an easy one to resolve as a home owner or sitter - we always check in one last time before a sit starts and this is an ideal time to say … “please don’t worry about leaving perishables, we’ll use what we can and dispose of anything we don’t eat”, or “we tend not to use food left behind so please dispose of”, or as an owner, “would you like us to leave any in date perishables in the fridge for you to sort through”.

On the topic of fridges, as we tend to do a shop on the way, we do often say we’ll be doing this and “will there be space in the fridge/freezer” … which works as a good prompt for ensuring some space :slight_smile:


It’s why HOs should ask. Some people eat anything so are happy to use what’s left. Some people have limited diets for whatever reason and shouldn’t have to be stuck cleaning out someone else’s fridge. I once arrived to a sit with an overflowing fridge = “We left a few things for you, just in case you wanted them”. There were multiple half eaten pizzas of indeterminate age, half full take-away boxes of indeterminate contents, half used veggies, half eaten yogurts, etc. They were going for a month. None would have been viable to keep for them and none of it was anything I would eat. I got stuck having to carry all their garbage down to the dumpsters because they didn’t dispose of it themselves. It was pretty gross and rude of them to do.


I always clear out the fridge but I don’t throw everything away. There usually is enough space for the sitters to put their own food in.
I would never leave half eaten meals in the fridge, but if we weren’t able to eat the last three yoghurts (still closed and not expired) I also wouldn’t throw them away.
Our last sitters made us a cake with the yogurt before it expired, because they didn’t want to eat it and didn’t want to throw it away, which I found very thoughtful of them. If the sit had been longer they would have put it in the freezer until our arrival.
I don’t buy food for the sitters but I fill up stocks of coffee and milk. If they don’t want it, we will wenn we’re back.


It’s nice if ho says what type of milk you like or is it ok to leave some basics like cheese or eggs and cereal and type of bread.if your late arriving.as a sitter arriving exhausted from car and two planes and pick up from airport late at night it’s good I don’t have to look for a shop nearby to get essentials. I take my own tea bags and coffee in my case. because I prefer my own.or if early enough please take me for a shop to supermarket saves me getting a bus to carry back.gives me time to get my first night and day in without going anywhere.


That’s a great idea!!! I was thinking of having some movie passes for the sitter as well, there’s a movie theatre pretty close to me.

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Movie Passes are also a great idea!

However, even if all restrictions concerning Covid-19 have been loosened or skipped at all, I would consider that people still might not feel comfortable with lots of others indoors. The pandemic is far from over and for those, who still like to be careful, it would be a waste of money. I know that I would not want to sit close to someone else, who doesn’t bother to wear a mask, yet.

A voucher for a café, where sitting outside is possible, or for a grocery store at the moment might maybe be better?


As a sitter, I would expect nothing in the way of food left for me/us. As a sitter I’m already delighted you’re offering me “free” (or in exchange for a small service if “free” rubs people the wrong way) accommodation. I certainly don’t also except feeding.

If you do cook (I know some homeowners don’t, perhaps esp. in downtown condos), I suspect you have salt, pepper, evoo, condiments, etc. in the kitchen. Your Welcome Guide might offer the sitter use of those sorts of things? (and as a sitter, if I finished, for example, your evoo, I’d replace it, etc.). Perhaps even extend that offer to “staples” in the pantry (rice, pasta)? Or cans? But the reductio ad absurdum here suggests you come home to all of your vittles used and the pantry bare, … which obv. wasn’t your intention. Clearly there needs to be a way to communicate something like: “within reason, please help yourself to some pantry basics, but not everything, and think about replacing items if you use very many”.

It’s good of you to think of this, and consider offering it. But, really, as a sitter, I’d not expect it.