Intrepid house sitter, Clare, has a very useful penchant for making lists. This is great for us, her readers, as she itemises the nitty gritty of her daily struggles as a house sitter in the wilds of suburban Queensland, Australia. One little eye-opener comes at the very end of this article. Keep reading…
Tell us what you think you couldn’t do without while on assignment. Your very handy and helpful personal lists would be welcomed here!
Thursday 1 November 2007
The guy who mows the lawns and the housekeeper were both here today. We all had a gossip. Servants’ hall gossip indeed. I feel like something out of the Edwardian era!
The following is stuff I have in my housesitting kit – much of it missing from the current house:
Dish rack Even if you have a dishwasher you still need a dishrack. I never put saucepans in the dishwasher as they don’t really wash. I suppose people must just put their dishes and pots on the drainer next to the sink – but that doesn’t work very well.
Sundries Blender for early morning smoothies, vegetable peeler, sharp knife, cutting board – so I can keep the owner’s board and knives in pristine condition.
Dishwashing detergent So I don’t suffer chemical overload using one with perfume I am not used to. The same goes for laundry soap powder.
Bottle opener I think I will need to add another item to my house sitting kit, namely a wing bottle opener. When I have people over for lunch I usually need to open a bottle of wine (or two). I have found that the houses I am looking after often have very non functional bottle openers. This house has a ‘fish’ bottle opener which could only be used with difficulty. One of my visitors, after opening the second bottle, left the cork screwed so far onto the corkscrew section that I had to go and buy a pair of pliers to separate cork from corkscrew.
Cordless phone I need to be able to walk around while I am on the phone. I have had to bring a cordless phone to this sit.
Music If the homeowner has foxtel I will just listen to the foxtel lounge and cafe radio stations. If not I will bring my minidisk player and use a FM transmitter to play music on their stereo. This house has no stereo so I have brought some speakers as well which can be plugged into the MD player. I now have an Ipod and I have been playing that too.
VCR/DVD player I have had to bring a VCR to this house and attached it to the tiny 34cm TV which sits on the kitchen bench. I have set up a comfy armchair on the sitting room side of the bench. I decided not to bring my DVD player so I could tape shows from the TV.
Laptop Although I will often use the owner’s computer just for checking email if they are linked up to broadband. I have my own dial-up account which is of course transportable from house to house.
Watering can for the garden.
Bed and bath
Mattress protector I’ve had to bring one of those to the current house as well. I don’t like putting my sheets on the bare mattress.
Sheets and towels Then I have my own 100% cotton items and don’t have to worry about a huge wash at the end of the sit.
Bedside lamp Fortunately this house has them. There have been some houses which haven’t.
Dog food bowls One house had such miniscule plastic bowls which kept sliding everywhere and slopping the food over the sides that I invested in two proper dog bowls to make my life easier.
Kitty litter One house had a cat who would often stay in at night – but no outside access and no kitty litter. It didn’t actually use the kitty litter I set up however. In the house with the infamous Bargearse, I set up a kitty litter at night on the front verandah so the cat didn’t have to go out and be beaten up by the toms next door.
Cleaning stuff Disinfectant, rubber gloves, dog poo bags. These speak for themselves really!
Retractable dog leads With unruly dogs not trained to walk properly on the leash these have come in handy.
Brushes Pet brush for brushing animals.
I tend move stuff in and out when the home owner is not around. I have noticed that owners don’t like it when they see you arrive with a whole heap of bags!