BY TARYN JEREZ
Before you skip town for the weekend or gear up for your next big family vacation, you may be met with a to-do list of tasks from getting the family packed up to making hotel arrangements. With so many things to check off the list, don’t forget to make arrangements with your house sitter ahead of time and get things ready for her arrival in advance.
It may seem as simple as leaving a spare key under the mat, but there are definitely some things to consider taking care of up front to help both parties feel prepared.
Get Things Spick & Span
The hustle and bustle of leaving town may be counterproductive sometimes to keeping a house clean as you’re organizing things to take with you. If you have little ones, for instance, you may even be able to trace each of your steps by the tornado of items left behind while packing! Do yourself a favor and before your house sitter is set to arrive, give your space a quick clean up to help it look its best. You can start with prioritizing the main living spaces and then tidy up the bedrooms and bathrooms if time allows. While this will help your house sitter seamlessly make her way through your home as needed, it will also give you the peace of mind that you’ll be coming back to a beautiful, clean home.
Don’t Forget, Safety First!
Take inventory of all access points to your home before you head out to make sure everything is closed and locked. You’ll also want to arm your alarm system and leave special instructions for your house sitter on how to disarm and arm the alarm, so she doesn’t run into any issues. Notifying your alarm system company in advance with your house sitter’s information and the dates you’ll be traveling isn’t a bad idea either. Besides keeping the house itself safe, leave behind a list of emergency contacts such as neighbors, close friends or family, nearby urgent care, hospitals, and firehouses. Consider providing contact information for where you’ll be staying as well, in the event your sitter needs to get in touch.
Any Furry Friends to Think About?
Some house sitters may double as a pet sitter when you’re out of town! Be sure if it’s the first time you’ll be booking your sitter that you schedule a time for her to come by the house to get to know your fur babies in advance and learn the layout of your home. If you have anxious dogs, for instance, it may be advisable to have them greet and sniff this new human before they arrive at your home without you. You’ll want to have all pet supplies easily identifiable and placed out, such as food, food bowls, bed, toys, treats, leashes, and any medication that may be needed. Additionally, leave a schedule with any time-sensitive instructions regarding your pet, like feeding or medication times. Last but not least, pet safety is just as important, so have that vet and emergency pet hospital information out for your sitter as well.
Any time you have someone in your home outside of the family who occupies it, it’s a good idea to make sure everyone is on the same page. If certain areas of the house or resources are off-limits, be specific and let your house sitter know. Both parties will also benefit from setting specific responsibilities around the role of the house sitter before the gig begins. Discuss which tasks are included, such as setting alarm systems, checking the mail, taking out trash, cleaning, pet care, communication, and more. You will also want to confirm the schedule for your trip, making sure everyone is on the same page with the dates and times you’ll be out of town, as well as the duration your sitter will plan to stay or check in on your home. Know what rate your sitter is charging and the method and time of payment they prefer so you are squared away before you leave.
Remember, choose a house sitter you trust and feel comfortable having to watch your home. When using someone new, always ask for references and schedule a time to meet with the person in advance.