Who is responsible for consumables during a sit?

I’m always eager to leave a house sit exactly the way I found it. I always top up things like toilet tissue, paper towel, plastic wrap…I’d love to hear your thoughts. What should you be expected to bring with you/be provided for you as a sitter? I recently had a sit where the homeowners did not have “extra” paper towel, toilet tissue, laundry detergent on hand. I definitely had to purchase throughout my stay but I didn’t mention it to the HOs.

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I think it depends how long the sit is for.
If the sit is 1 week and I can see that the owners have a massive stock of toilet paper, washing powder, kitchen roll, … I won’t bother to top up.
If it’s a long sit, I will make sure they have enough to get them started when they come home.

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Many people have offered diverse opinions on this on various threads. My own thought is that many sitters are overthinking things. I have yet to meet a home owner who was counting the rolls of toilet paper. They all seem to understand that they are getting a huge financial perk from THS, so they aren’t going to nickel and dime it. All HOs that I’ve met so far have indicated that I can help myself to things in the kitchen, without going into details. I think they are assuming that I’ll use fair judgement. Don’t go after the steaks in the freezer, but if I’m hungry for a bag of chips, go for it.

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I agree @Els . I like to make sure they don’t have to go to store for the staples as soon as they arrive home from vacay :slight_smile:

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That’s what we aim for as well. I usually ask if I can get anything in for them for their return.
Obviously don’t leave one sheet of toilet roll in the bathroom. That would be so unkind.

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Prior to starting a 9 month house sit for a Canadian couple, they told us to help ourselves to whatever they had in the way of consumables. Except, of course, a tin of Canadian maple syrup they had in the freezer!! For context, the house sit was in Costa Rica and a liter of imported maple syrup (when it can be found) costs ~$30 USD.

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@NorthShore 9 months! Wow! Even here at home (Canada) maple syrup can be priced like gold! haha

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As far as food, my personal guideline is that if an item of food wouldn’t have survived their absence (as in, produce, fresh milk & other perishables, on a sit of a week or more) I don’t replace it, whether I used it or not.

When someone says, “Help yourself” I just… can’t! I just consider it off-limits. Unless they put it on the counter with a note that said, "JUST FOR YOU!”

If I use less than a few tablespoons of something like mayo/ketchup/vinegar/etc. then I don’t replace it. I bring/buy everything I plan to eat, including spices & condiments. I’m a (COVID-forced) unemployed chef, so I know I’m not a normal person, in that respect!

I won’t take food from the pantry/freezer without replacing it. If I’m dying for a snack, and I’m pretty sure I can replace it at a grocery store, I might go for it. Like on this trip, if I wanted to eat an ice cream sandwich (oh boy do I!) I’ll eat one from their freezer, but then I’d replace it with a fresh box.

Why do some of you feel obligated to replace cleaning supplies or paper products? I keep an extra roll of toilet tissue in my car for a just-in-case situation (and I’ve been glad I did!!) If I clean their house, I use their products and assume they understand that it’s a “cost of doing business” kind of transaction. I mean, do you replace their pets’ food that was consumed during my stay, or buy replacement rolls of poopybags?

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@MissChef , I appreciate your perspective. I can rarely bring myself to just help myself. If I do it’s with something I know I can replace also. I think of the cleaning products and pet supplies as “cost of doing business” for sure. That is why they have me there in the first place. Thanks again for your input.

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Hi @Jodi You might want to take a look at some earlier similar threads:

Combined there are over 100 comments :slightly_smiling_face:

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Thanks @Snowbird. This is geat! :slight_smile:

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Like most of the replies here, we take our own food & use the HOs condiments & herbs & spices. A HO once left 2 packets of opened chocolate biscuits in the fridge & said help yourself. I did! I ate all of them over the 2 week sit but I bought replacement packets and leftnthem unopened in their fridge! I don’t replace loo paper, washing powder & cleaners, I use the HOs but I haven’t done any sits longer than 2 weeks. Is thereba time threshold when sitters should replace items?

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We tend to replace what we use maybe not everything but almost. Latest sit the HO told us it wasn’t necessary but we are more comfortable replacing as much as possible.

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I mostly fly to sits so bring along only clothes and toiletries.
And take guidance of the HO about food, etc. If I use something up, I replace it. When allowed use of the car, I at least bring the tank up to where it was when I arrived, maybe a bit more. I’ve done several sits where I leave the car at the airport for the HO to pick up on their return flight.

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As we generally do not go away for longer than a week and at most it would be two weeks, I would definitely not expect sitters to replace any paper goods, cleaning products or condiments. If they used for example a whole bottle of olive oil I would feel a bit miffed if it wasn’t replaced. We always buy a few staples for the sitters, bread, butter, eggs and milk so that they will have something to keep them going until they can get to the shops. They are always welcome to help themselves to tea and coffee…

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@Foldor13 I’m not sure you’re aware of just how much coffee/tea I drink! :rofl: but really, this is so very kind. :heart_eyes:

That said, I would stand by my above statement that I wouldn’t touch “your” groceries. I can’t know what your intentions are and it’s so easy to have a misunderstanding unless you specifically set out a note saying,

I/we got these for you to make your stay more comfortable

There’s an ambiguous point between “accepting hospitality” and “reasonable use” and "taking advantage :upside_down_face: " when a homeowner says, HELP YOURSELF! Many of the people I’ve sat for appear to be able to absorb the cost of the above foods (I estimate that’s about $10 of groceries where I live… and would last me about 6 meals!)

¯\(ツ)/¯ I am one of those people who would like to have a tangible resource of information.

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@MissChef definitely speaks to having great communication with your HOs ahead of time and during the sit also. When in doubt (or if it hasn’t been covered in the initial welcome or the HO welcome guide), no harm in sending a quick text or whatsapp message to be sure :slight_smile:

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HI @Foldor13 It’s nice to see such kindness and consideration by homeowners. Just a reminder though that with our diversity in cultures and food choices, I hesitate when seeing ‘staples’ defined. Many others have mentioned that assumed staples would sadly just be wasted on them. It’s somewhat easier for sitters to extend this kindness as we can see their current supplies, but not so easy for homeowners.

As always, communication is key. :slightly_smiling_face: I inevitably mention to homeowners that I bring my own tea and don’t drink coffee. That opens up a conversation that allows them to not have to panic over cleaning the fancy coffeemakers (which apparently is a chore). It can then often lead into conversations that do avoid waste of food items. I appreciate the kind thoughts, but hate to waste food.

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:smile: I think the difference is that we always have sitters come the day before we leave and share a meal and show them around etc so it is all discussed so everyone knows where they stand :wink:

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I agree, communication is always the key :+1:t3:

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