Spending some time to prepare your home for sharing will help make the transition easier and more enjoyable for everyone.
When you invite someone into your home, the first impression is important to set the expectation. Spending some time to think through how you will share space, what rules you want to enforce, and that your home will be comfortable and inviting are all very important. Reflecting on the introductory story in this module, envision yourself in the shoes of your new housing companion.
TThe bedroom is a great place to start the preparation for your new housing companion. This will be their exclusive space, so you want them to feel comfortable. As a general rule, you want this space to be neutral in décor with some flexibility for personal styling according to your housing companion’s taste.
Clean the room thoroughly. Your housing companion will be expected to return the room to the same state they find it. Give the room thorough dusting, clean steam carpets, wipe down the windows and blinds, wipe down the walls. Is the room clean and comfortable enough for you to enjoy?
The bed. Most hosts will provide a bed for their housing companion. If you are, then you should ensure you have a comfortable and newer mattress. If your bed is over ten years old, you should consider updating it. This step should not be overlooked as having a good night’s sleep is a sure way to increase your housing companion’s happiness and ultimately yours!
If you are providing a furnished room, make sure that everything is included and functional. The attention to detail here can make a big difference in the comfort and experience your housing companion has. Now is an opportune time to fix any broken furniture and ensure that all the light bulbs are working.
The kitchen will likely be the second most used space next to the bedroom. Having another person in the home will increase overall use and the potential for a disorder to escalate. If you have been living alone for a while, this step is particularly important. You want your housing companion to feel like they can use the kitchen and prepare meals without hindering you.
Things to consider:
Your housing companion will likely need some space in the home to store their items. This could be as little as a suitcase, to large sports equipment like a kayak or bicycle. Suppose you forgot to ask how much space your new companion will need during the interview process. In that case, you should ask before their arrival to ensure there are no surprisesYour housing companion will likely need some space in the home to store their items. This could be as little as a suitcase, to large sports equipment like a kayak or bicycle. Suppose you forgot to ask how much space your new companion will need during the interview process. In that case, you should ask before their arrival to ensure there are no surprises.
Things to consider:
The common shared areas of your home should be considered ‘Always Happy’ spaces. No one likes negativity or dealing with another person’s mess. As a general rule, whenever you are in the common areas, you should only share positive emotions and support for one another. You may find that establishing this culture with your housing companions can help cheer you up even on the worst of days.
The physical spaces should remain open and inviting so that everyone can feel comfortable gathering to play games, share tea, and engage in conversation in this space. Décor should be kept tasteful and simple; however, you can decorate seasonally to your heart’s content with your housing companion’s mutual support and agreement.
Things to consider:
Remove personal items. Any personal or delicate valuables should be removed from the common areas if feasible. It would be disheartening to have your housing companion accidentally breaking something of significant sentimental value.
Do you have any renovations that are half done? Perhaps you wanted to install new kitchen countertops but have been delaying it for some time. Before you start sharing your home is an opportune time to clean up these loose ends. It will be far less intrusive to complete these projects before your household gets busier.
Note: You should not feel obligated to renovate your home for your housing companion. That is not the intent. Companion housing is about utilizing your existing home to its full potential while implementing best practices to keep it clean and orderly.
Do you want to make your new housing companion feel extra special and welcomed into your home? Starting on the right foot can help ease all anxiety to prepare you for an enjoyable experience.
Steps to get ready
The first time your housing companion sees your home, they’re going to be nervous. Try to make them feel comfortable as much as possible. Make them feel at home. Help them move in, offer some snacks or beverages. Be gracious and spend some time trying to get to know them.
Prepare your home for companion housing. Click on the self reflection exercise below to access the preparation checklist.