House-sitter checklist tips

Making a checklist for your house-sitter

If you'll soon be setting off on your long-awaited holiday, one of the last tasks to do is draw up a checklist for your house sitter. Here are tips for drawing up the activities and responsibilities.

House-sitter checklist tips

1. Phone numbers for the house-sitter

  • Make sure your house-sitter has a list of emergency phone numbers, including your own contact details. These numbers include emergency services, hospital, and veterinarian numbers if you have pets.
  • Remember to provide numbers for utility emergencies, such as gas, electricity, water, and HVAC systems.
  • The contact number for your alarm/security company is a must.
  • Ask a neighbour or friend if they are agreeable to being a local contact for your house-sitter so there is someone nearby to answer questions if necessary.

2. How things work

Write out instructions on how to operate various devices, including:

  • Security alarms and lights
  • Audio/visual equipment and Wi-fi password
  • Laundry machines and dishwasher
  • Outside lights
  • Pond and swimming pool pumps
  • Automatic sprinklers
  • Furnace and hot water systems

Go through the list with the house-sitter, demonstrating and allowing the sitter to operate the equipment. If you have any tricky door locks or jamming toilet handles, show the sitter how to cope with them. Newly made duplicate keys should be tested with the sitter to make sure they fit and work.

3. Looking after pets

If your house sitter is responsible for your pets, list:

  • Foods, including types and frequency of feeding
  • Accessories, such as leads, bowls, and toys, and where to find them
  • Medications, how much and how often
  • Cleaning up, including cages, litter boxes, and outside toilet areas
  • Exercise schedules

4. Weekly to-do list

  • The house sitter needs to know what day to put out the trash and recycling bins. If you use trash bags, ensure there is a good stock of them and show the sitter where they are stored.
  • Plants may need to be watered regularly, whether they're indoor or garden varieties, so add this to the checklist. Put watering cans, hose pipes and attachments in easily accessed spots for the sitter.

5. Put the rules in writing

  • Lay down in writing specific rules about who is allowed into your home, and make sure your friends know you'll be away so they won't visit.
  • House-sitters need to know if they can invite personal visitors into your home, and which areas are out of bounds.
  • The same goes for food: do you expect your house-sitter to purchase food for the stay or are you going to provide the basics?

6. Enjoy your time away

  • Once you've worked through your checklist for your house-sitter, don't forget to reward yourself: leave home and relax.
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