House sitting tips to get you invited back

If you have a house sitting gig lined up, you already know all the basics: do the chores, don't have any big parties and keep the pets alive. Anyone can do the minimum, but if you want to get a great reference or get invited back next year, you need to make the most of your last day on the job. Follow these tips to leave the house in top condition and go the extra mile to wow the homeowners on your next house sitting job.

House sitting tips to get you invited back

1. In the morning

  • Change the sheets. Put fresh sheets on the bed you used and make it up. Get sheets into the washer.
  • Hit the grocery store. Stock up on staples like bread, eggs, milk, and juice. Make sure you replace anything you used up, including goods like toilet paper and paper towels. Also on your list: ingredients for your favourite cookie recipe and a bouquet of flowers.
  • Drop the pets at the groomers. Don't do anything drastic to change a faithful companion's appearance. A basic shampoo and brushing are all that's needed to create the picture of a healthy, happy pet when the homeowners return.
  • Bake a batch of cookies. Keep it simple and get them in the oven before lunch. The benefit here is two-fold: you will be filling the house with an irresistible aroma to welcome the homeowners, and you will be leaving a nice gift behind. There's nothing better than providing a snack to hungry travellers.
  • Run the dryer. Don't forget to transfer the load of bed linens to the dryer.

2. In the afternoon

  • Run the dishwasher. Once you've had lunch, get your lunch plate and the cookie utensils in the dishwasher. Resist the temptation to eat again so you can keep the kitchen clean.
  • Clean the house. You want to make it look like you were never there, so be sure to straighten any items that you used and put them back where they belong. Dust shelves and the television, then sweep and vacuum. Use some glass cleaner to wipe down the bathroom mirror and faucets to make them shine. Wipe out the sink. Close the toilet.
  • Tie up the loose ends. Pick up the pets, fold the laundry and put it away and empty the dishwasher.
  • Say thank you. Write a short note expressing your gratitude for your stay in their lovely home. Set it up near the vase of flowers you bought on the kitchen table. Arrange cookies on a plate nearby.
  • Make your exit. When the homeowners return, stay only as long as it takes to exchange keys and give them any updates they need. Don't linger. It's likely that they are tired from travelling, and any invitations they make for you to stay and have dinner are just polite. Let them relax and enjoy being home and you will likely score a great reference from them later on.
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