Did your housing situation change during the COVID-19 pandemic? The covid lockdowns of 2020 upended our day to day lives and, in many cases, our homes as millions of people were forced to reckon with the comfort of their households. Employees, suddenly able to telecommute full-time, took the opportunity to relocate – often fleeing crowded cities in favor of less-densely populated suburbs. Parents, stuck in the house all day working on laptops while their kids attended virtual school, required more space. Many who didn’t move to a new house expanded their current one. The sale of home renovation materials spiked amidst shortages, especially of lumber.
College students and young adults moved back in with their parents, rather than live in a college dormitory or expensive apartment. The divorce rate went up as spousal relationships strained under the stress of extremely close quarters. Solitary dwellers got way, way too much alone time, which has led to an increased post-pandemic interest in communal and co-living.
None of us needs reminding about the chaos of 2020, of course.
I bring all this up to demonstrate how having to spend 24/7 during the covid lockdowns inside a single house or apartment gave us all a crash course in defining our personal boundaries and preferences, otherwise known as ‘must haves’ and ‘can’t live withs.’
Making decisions about something as important as your home is best done deliberately, not in a hurry or out of desperation. How many people who rushed to purchase a house during the frenzied market of 2020 later regretted their decision? If you’re unhappy with your current housing situation and want to make a change, start the process now – don’t wait until something as drastic as a worldwide pandemic or personal health or financial crisis forces change.
Pandemic or no, it’s natural for our preferences and criteria for a home to change throughout the years.
I have always lived with other people, and even now after years of doing so I am learning, through experience, what I prefer. Take for example the last place I lived: a small house in Baltimore where I rented a room from Kara, the homeowner who was also my home-mate. Kara was a single woman 10 years older than me, and we got along great. Living there made me realize, however, that I prefer the dynamic of a three-or-more person household over a two-person household.
Mismatches, Compatibility, Compromises
Kara and I were both at home most evenings, and there was often a mismatch in our desire for socializing. I work in customer service and am on my feet all day – I usually want alone time after work. Kara worked in an office, and arrived home in the mood to talk. A third person in the house would’ve meant an extra person to take the reins of conversation.
On the whole, I enjoyed our daily interactions – it’s just that some nights I was tired and unenthusiastic about engaging in chitchat. But, I knew that our near-daily catch up was a practice in goodwill, harmony, and trust which led to a mutually satisfying living situation. Making conversation, even when I wasn’t in the mood to do so, was a small compromise that I willingly made.
Kara and I were compatible home-mates, and her house was a comfortable environment for us both during the two years that I lived there. When I moved out last autumn, however, I moved into a multi-person household. Because, the other thing about a two-person household is that when Kara would go out of town for a business trip or vacation, I got lonely! Too much solo time in the house was always a good reminder of why I choose not to live alone.
The positive shift
I do think the pandemic gave many people a lasting, ultimately positive attitude shift, most notably people’s increased desire to a) live with others and b) live in more flexible situations. Eventually, I hope post-pandemic society gradually restructures itself to where each person is housed in a comfortable, stable, space that allows for a balance of time alone vs. time spent with others.
A big part of this restructuring, however, is for each individual to have a clear idea of what they want in a home. The resources offered by Sharing Housing, Inc. help you envision and execute a suitable shared housing situation from the get-go. You don’t have to stumble through trial and error, or risk getting stuck in a terrible situation.
If you’ve found this blog, you are perhaps in the process of making the switch from living alone to living in shared housing. The fantastic thing about sharing is that there are so many ways to do it. The resources offered here provide a focused, efficient, but also gentle approach to the solo-to-shared transition. Learn by reading about the experiences of others, enroll in one of the Shared Housing courses or buy a copy of Annamarie’s guidebook.