As the economy continues its downward spiral more and more people are moving in together out of necessity. I've been in similar situations myself. Some of them worked out and others did not. This is one of the ways that homeless people can find themselves completely homeless. When friends or family become completely aggravated with the close quarters or duelling personalities tempers flare and agreements erode.
Now I am older I have become the host. My youngest daughter stays with me occasionally and my son stayed for a while. I just learned that my eldest daughter is 99% sure that she want to move in for a while. It will be wonderful to have her and the grand baby here, still with that many in the house we will have to be very organized and tidy. Of course moving in as an adult will be completely different, hopefully, than when you were a child.
With thoughts of living arrangements changing, and extended family and friends bunking together to avoid complete homelessness I arranged a list of ideas to make the transition go smoother. I know I'll get comments with more ideas. You guys are good like that.
Handy Hints for Communal Living:
1) Tidiness. An extreme neat freak will have a difficult time sharing their home with anyone. For the rest of us, help keep the home picked up, vacuumed, smelling nice, etc... Take some spare time and mow the yard or dust the TV and polish the furniture. Tempers are less likely to flare if the home is even cleaner now that you are there. Believe me, it will be greatly appreciated.
2) Quiet times. Know the schedules of all family members. Even if your sisters husband, who has to leave at five AM for work, says your TV viewing until two AM doesn't bother him, he may just be trying to be polite. Some people may work all night and sleep through the afternoon. Respecting others schedules and being quiet when it is needed will go a long way towards keeping the peace. Just ask my insomniac husband who can hear a flea cough on a neighbors dog three streets away.
3) Special skills. One household member is a gourmet cook, while another can make the bathroom sparkle. One person may help out with dog walks, or litter box clean-up. One person may be a home energy expert and can switch out the light bulbs, or install weather stripping. Get it? Everyone has a special skill that they can contribute to the household.
4)Respect. Uncle Harvey may have odd bathroom habits. As much as you want to, don't do your impression of him gargling. Claudine may wear mismatched outfits but don't insert your opinion. Remember this is their house and try to make it as pleasant for them as possible.
5) Arguments. When problems do arise, do not deteriorate into shouting matches. Have a house meeting and deal with it. Compromise, and make a list of house rules if you have to, just don't fight. Shouting will not help anyone.
6) Privacy. Being cooped up for long periods with friends or family you used to just see occasionally may be fun at first and then become difficult. Before relationships become strained, give one another some space. Take a picnic and enjoy a day at the park. Give your family some time away from the house and give the homeowner some time alone in their own home as well.
7) Adult children. Treat adult children as adults. This is simple, Suzie may still be your daughter but she is also a grown woman. Remember this when she is making her own decisions. Also, if you are the child, remember you are grown and don't revert back to the sullen teen in tense times.
8) Cleaning. I know I mentioned this earlier but it is a big one. How much each person does will really depend on how much they work, how much the homeowner wants you to do and so on. If you are staying with someone and you have time though, clean a lot and show your appreciation. It will go far in smoothing a rocky road.
9) Common rooms. Preserve the original function of common rooms. If you are staying in the living room or den, tidy up each morning. Clear the couch, roll up your bedroll, and pack your clothes away. If Aunt Dolly can still sit in her favorite chair and watch her soaps she will be less stressed. No one wants to eat their breakfast while looking at your dirty underwear. Pick it up and keep the home stress free.
10) Budget. Your money situation will be strained, after all that's why your moving in together right? Be very careful with your money so you can get out of this situation as soon as possible. Don't rely on the homeowner to foot the bill for everything though, unless you have no choice. Buy some groceries, or cleaning products, or pay the light bill, whatever works for you. If you have special budgeting skills to share, do so. This is a team effort.