If you’re lucky enough to find a house sitter to care for your home while you’re on vacation, it will be a better experience for both of you if you prepare beforehand. You’ll set down ground rules, of course, to make sure your philodendron doesn’t droop and your mail doesn’t pile up in the box, but there’s much more to caring for a home than doing a couple of chores. This person is caring for your house, possibly without even being paid. Go the extra mile to make it an enjoyable experience.
You may trust your house sitter 100 percent, but accidents happen and guests drop by unexpectedly. Instead of hoping for the best when it comes to your most treasured possessions, get them out of sight before the house sitter even arrives. Store jewelry, collectibles, and other high-end belongings in a safe, or give them to family members for safekeeping. Keep in mind that if your house sitter is a minor, you may want to hide the alcohol before leaving. If you don’t own a safe and family isn’t nearby, hide your valuables using diversion safes and creative hiding places, as Apartment Therapy suggests.
You can let your house sitter try to figure out the many different appliances in your home, or you can make her life easier by handing her a folder with instructions for every machine she might use while you’re away. Giving her a booklet ahead of time will ensure that she can use the Tivo without erasing your saved shows and relax in the hot tub safely. Use the original manufacturers’ booklets if you have them, or print out your own directions if you’ve lost the originals. Check online for copies of instructional booklets; you’ll find many sites like ManualsOnline.com that are dedicated to copies of lost booklets.
Accidents happen, and usually at the worst possible time. If something elaborate like your hot tub breaks in your home while your house sitter is there, she may not know what to do. Make her a detailed list of all your favorite service providers and post it in a prominent place, emphasizing that these are the only people she should need to call. If the breakdown isn’t an emergency, it may be better for your house sitter to simply wait until you get home. You may be able to fix the problem yourself. Doing your own work and putting in parts from a supplier like HotTubWorks.com can save you money if you’re sure of your repair skills.
Most people leave a refrigerator and freezer full of food and snacks as part of a house sitter’s pay, but it’s nice to do a little bit more than that. Do some quizzing ahead of time to find out their favorite foods and supply some of the best. Buy some luxury toiletries and leave them in the bathroom. Make up a gift basket with snacks and treats and leave it in the room they’ll sleep in. Add a thank you card, and have everyone in your family sign it.