house sitting questions

8 House Sitting Questions with The Hermit Crab

We have started a new feature here at Sell All Your Stuff. One of the great things that selling all our stuff allowed us to do was to become house sitters (and travel much lighter). In this new feature, we ask fellow house sitters eight house sitting questions related to their adventures as a house sitter. And now let’s get to know our first participant!

house sitter Richard Lamb
House sitter Richard Lamb…the hermit crab

Name: Richard Lamb
Age: 45
Hails from: South London

And now for the 8 questions:

Question #1. How/When did you become a house sitter?

I’ve been a full-time house sitter for 15 months. Can’t believe it’s been that long, it really has flown by. I initially decided to do this because I wanted to start my own web design business and I didn’t want to go bankrupt while building a client base and paying rent and bills at the same time. This seemed like a great way to completely cut the cost of living. And so it has been, but now I’m doing it because I love it.

Question #2. What’s the funniest thing that has happened to you while house sitting/travelling?

My ongoing battle of wills with a chicken. I was looking after a big house in the country with two dogs and a big group of chickens. The great thing about having chickens is the daily free eggs, but there was this one chicken who seemed determined to keep me from collecting hers. She would peck at my hands whenever I tried to get near and I tried everything to distract her, even resorting to ‘look behind you’, which didn’t work. Surprisingly. Her stubbornness simply sparked off mine and we would face-off every morning. Sometimes she won and I gave up, sometimes I was quick enough and won the day. Eventually I put on a pair of thick gardening gloves and that was that. She could peck me to her heart’s content and I could ransack the booty at my leisure. Victory!

Question #3. What’s the worst thing that’s happened to you on your travels/house sitting?

Chickens again. This time dead ones. It was last summer when the heat was above average. Within the space of a week, two of the chickens I was looking after just dropped dead. It was one of my first house sits so I was freaking out. I’d followed all the instructions for feeding and watering, but two chickens just keeled over apparently for no reason. Thankfully, the owners were lovely, and assured me that this happens, and it wasn’t anything I had done wrong. But for a few days there, I thought my house sitting life was over.

Question #4. What is the single most important item (aside from laptop/phone/electronics) that you take with you to every house sit?

I’m a pretty sentimental guy so I always have one or two mementos of good times, usually times I spent with my partner (who lives in the US), that go with me everywhere. It could be T-shirt, a souvenir from somewhere, or even something as simple as a plane ticket. Whatever it is, it comes out the moment I start unpacking and is given prominent place in the room. Or I carry it with me. It reminds me that, although I may be drifting, I’m not anchor-less.

Question #5. How long do you plan on house sitting?

Indefinitely. I imagine there will come a time when I’ll want to stop moving and settle, but I’m not there yet. Too many places to see!

Question #6. What’s been your favorite house sit so far, and why? (location, awesome pets)

Two months in Jackson Heights, New York. Hands down the most vibrant, fascinating and colourful place I’ve ever house sat in. New York is amazing, no matter which borough you visit, but to live as a local in such a melting pot of cultures, and with Manhattan just an L-train ride away was a dream come true. Second place goes to Edinburgh. I adore Edinburgh.

Question #7. If you could improve one thing about house sitting in general, what would it be?

A little more clarity, and perhaps honesty, from homeowners advertising their house sits would sometimes be welcome. It’s not a major, or commonly recurring problem, but there’s nothing to be gained by glossing over the defects in your home, or failing to be honest about any special needs your animal has. Also, the price of British rail travel could use improvement, too.

Question #8. If you could offer one piece of advice to would-be house sitters, what would that be?

Take it seriously. Although you are going to be moving around, living in amazing locations, you are still going to be looking after someone else’s home. Don’t let the ‘free vacation’ mentality make you frivolous with other people’s things. And if you are going to be doing this full-time, don’t be reluctant to take house sits in less than glamorous locations. It’s a roof over your head, and sometimes you should view a house sit as a chance to get your head down and do some work, so when the fun one comes along you can make the most of it.

Bonus question: What’s your favorite movie?

Raiders of the Lost Ark. The perfect movie.

Haha, we can relate to the chickens and have learned sandals are never a good idea when venturing into the coop!

Based on Richard’s desire to use house sitting as a way to see many places, and with his favorite movie being an action/adventure classic, we are pegging him as an adventurer!

You can check out more from Richard (with or without chicken incidents) on his blog and social profiles:

If you would like to share your awesome stories and take part in our 8 House Sitting Questions, please visit our contact page to reach us.


Now go sell all your stuff!



12 thoughts on “8 House Sitting Questions with The Hermit Crab”

  1. Question… what happens after a house sit is over. Are you homeless then or do you always have something else lined up? What if the next house isn’t lined up? I assume this is a paying gig. Do you set the price, or does the homeowner? I have a ton more questions – where can I go for more info?

    1. Hi Jenn, all great questions. Since we are full-time house sitters, when the house sit is over we are homeless. Some people only house sit periodically for their vacations so they have their own home to return to. For example; after this house sit we have a 4 night gap before our next seven week house sit starts. We will go on a mini-vacay for those 4 nights. This gives us time to do some travel at our own pace. Since we started this full-time we have never had longer than one week in between house sits, but I’m sure at some point it will happen and we might have to rent or just stay with friends/family etc. This is not a paying gig, it’s an exchange of services – we get free accommodation in exchange for looking after the house and animals. But that’s not to say you can’t get paid for local house sits. For all your other questions, our book; Sell All Your Stuff and Become a House Sitter is an awesome resource. It includes numerous checklists and worksheets to help you get started. Also, if you sign up for our newsletter you get free access to the worksheets. Thanks for stopping by!

  2. I was surprised to read about homeowners not being fully honest about their homes and expectations. And yes, I’m sure that’s not always the case, but especially when you’re entrusting somebody with something so big as your home, you’d want them to be ready for whatever befalls them.

  3. I’ve been seriously considering house sitting as a way to stretch my travel budgets. Is this something someone can do occasionally? Or is it a full-time only thing? I love this post! Sooooo helpful and honest.

    1. House sitting is definitely something someone can do part time. There are lots of long and short term assignments listed on the house siting websites. Lots of people who have a home base, house sit in locations they would like to travel too as a way to see the world a little cheaper. Go for it!

    1. Unfortunately in some parts of the world house sitting isn’t something home owners want to partake in, they tend to use family or friends to watch their house / pets instead.

  4. Loved this post! The chicken incident sounds like something that would happen to me! House sitting seems like it would be so fun.

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