My home consists of my husband, my two youngest daughters, their husband and boyfriend, my eighteen-month-old granddaughter, three cats, two dogs, a 75-gallon fish tank, and a lizard. We have cohabitated for a year to become the “village” for my granddaughter. Here are some thoughts on the pros and cons of our communal living situation…
We live in a co-operative housing unit. Like all co-ops, it’s a blend between ownership and rental. Unlike rentals, every household (or member) has equal voting rights on all major decisions. And everyone has to volunteer to help with running the co-op (usually about 10 hours per month). We also have the ability to make changes in our unit that might not be allowed in a rental. For example, one member put up a climbing wall in his living room! Many of our members have lived here for 15+ years.
The Financial Aid Dorm: What it’s like living with 6 people in our Futurama-themed, “halfway house for twenty-somethings”
At first glance, my house doesn’t look particularly offbeat. Look a little closer, though, and you’ll notice the comical number of computers hiding here and there. Seven or eight bikes in the garage, corralled by a bike rack made of two-by-fours. Five cars that come and go. The duplicate cookbooks and kitchen utensils, the camping equipment lining the walls in the garage. And, of course, the five bedrooms that are definitely occupied by six adults.
My husband, our two closest friends (who are married to each other), and I all live in an apartment building that has recently been purchased by an Evil Property Management Company. We aren’t bound by a long-term lease, so we’re considering moving out — all four of us together. Has anyone else lived as a couple with another couple, or been an introvert living in intentional community? What made it work? What made it hard?
Here in West Palm, Florida, my sister’s family and my husband and I have been co-habitating under one roof. My husband and I help out with cleaning, organizing, grocery shopping, and childcare while they give us a roof over our heads while we’re looking for long-term jobs and a home. It’s working out really great! Here’s how I’ve been helping to make our Family Compound feel like a functional space….
As a single woman of 68, and living in France far from my family, I am beginning to look at end of life issues — such as how to age gracefully in place, how to create a support group and face the last how-ever-many years with dignity, control, and pleasure. I have been discussing creating a shared home with four or five other women and wonder if anyone else thinks of this.
It’s hard to believe that this time last year, I was “living” outside in a park downtown at Occupy Toronto, with several hundred other people. The communal living experience was pretty intense. It’s hard to look back at such a complicated experience, but as we hit the one-year anniversary of Occupy, I think there are some general lessons that can be learned, not only for political occupations but for more mundane but ultimately more lasting kinds of communal life.
Here’s some of what I learned about communal living at Occupy Toronto…
Once upon a time the Click Clack Gorilla escaped from a 9-5 job through the tunnel she had been secretly digging behind the water cooler with her stapler and has been at large in Europe ever since.
This is the story of building her tiny trash house, a little bitty wagon situated in a German wagenplatz.