Before this moment occurs, some preparation needs to be done. The first step is preparing yourself so that you are ready to share your home with someone else. The second step is preparing your physical spaces so that the new transition will be enjoyable and straightforward.
To best prepare, we encourage you to practice empathy, the act of understanding and sharing the feelings of others. Imagine yourself in the shoes of your new housing companion. What kind of experience would you like to have? How would you like to be treated and welcomed into the home? To get into this mindset, you can read through the example below.
Imagine for a moment that you are about to move into your first companion home in a new city. This is a big transition for you, leaving your prior home and community of 10 years to start a new job.
It’s Saturday afternoon; you just finished driving three hours and have finally arrived at your new home. You are feeling tired from the drive, and your mind is fatigued from thinking about all the changes. Your new host is expecting your arrival, right on time at 2:00 pm, as you discussed on your phone call that morning. You take your suitcase from the trunk of your car parked on the street, and you walk to the front door. It’s just like you saw in the photos, but now it feels real, you have arrived! You stand in front of the door and knock, knock, knock…. You anxiously wait, excited and nervous all at the same time. You hear footsteps approaching the door, then it slowly opens, revealing a warm and welcoming smile.
“Come in, set your bag down. I just pulled cookies out of the oven; would you like one with your coffee?”
What a nice way to be welcomed! Right away, you feel safe and included in the home. You can sense the energy permeating from your host, and they have put great care and attention into your arrival. As your host grabs cream from the refrigerator, you notice a note in the refrigerator stating which shelves shall be yours. It begins to set in that you are now a member of the household.
“Are you done with your coffee? Let me give you a tour of the home, and I will show you your room. Afterwards, you can bring all of your bags in, and we will review the house rules and expectations.”
As you tour the home, your host carefully checks off each item on the Move-in checklist with your acknowledgment. You finally arrive at your room and can’t help but notice the carefully made bed with fresh linens pulled taut to all corners. You are now excited and happy with your decision. The home is wonderful, clean, quiet, and oh so inviting. Back out to your car, you go to unload your bags, taking them one by one through the home’s entryway.
“I want you to feel at home; this is now our home after all. I ask that you respect me, then the home and I will do the same for you. We already discussed my home rules over the phone. Now I want to review them again to ensure we both understand how we will share this space and help one another through good times and tough times.”
You were worried that you could not share a space with someone as you are very particular in your ways. Now it is apparent that your host cares just as much as you. You appreciate the clarity of communication and structure, knowing that there is a system in place for respect and accountability. You complete the entire move-in checklist and manage to negotiate a few terms to best suit your schedule. You feel happy and listened to; this is nothing like your roommate’s experience in college.
“Great! Now I want to show you where the cleaning supplies are and the methods I found to work best for keeping the home clean.”
You walk through the kitchen, bathrooms, and laundry room. Your host shows you the shower spray and scrub pads they use to remove soap scum. You learn how to make a vinegar solution to clean the toilet and the tiles. You are shown how to reach the hard-to-reach areas with the vacuum and how to clean the filter. You feel excited with your host’s enthusiasm; you didn’t know cleaning could be so fun and easy!
“I think we’ve covered everything for now. If you don’t know something or don’t feel comfortable, please let me know right away! Now, I believe you have some grocery shopping to do. I will show you on the map where I like to shop.”
Wow, what a wonderful introduction to your new city and home. You feel comfortable in the home as all your questions are answered. You are confident that you and your host can live harmoniously so long as you abide by your own rules and maintain respect. Now, let’s hope the new job goes as well.