Community Living // THE HOWS

This is a follow-on from yesterdays post: Community living // Introduction

So. Lets talk the practicals of living with another family.

(by the way I love that out of the 8 parties involved in our ‘experiment’ I am the only one giving recount of the affair. Thus my tale can be entirely fabricated and biased. OF COURSE living with ME is AWESOME! )

First up – the obvious aspect of sharing your home and nearly always the first question I’ve been asked.


I am sure more people would consider living communally if they had the space to allow it. Lots of people were quite curious how we could fit a second family in our home. We had a very standard four bedroom home and conveniently our little family only inhabited one bedroom (with attached ensuite and robe). This left three spare rooms. We did not have dual living spaces but for long term community living this would be ideal. I personally could have lived in this set up long term happily but I know that most people need more personal space than me!

Because I think very visually myself, I’ve made this very rough map of our home for you. Just cos’ I know that’s what I’d want to see if I was reading this post – Plus – I love you guys.

Now… As you can see – there is a reason I am not a draftsman ;)

Room 1 is the master bedroom with attached walk in wardrobe and ensuite. This is where Errol and the babies and I lived.

Room 2 was Scarlet’s – amusingly the only person in the equation with her own room

Room 3 was John & Heidi’s and Willow was in with them.

Room 4 was the ‘spare’ room which John used as his study and Heidi and I used as a dumping ground for the copious piles of washing.

Many a morning Heidi and I would meet here wearing only towels trying to find something from the chaos.

The living room, kitchen and dining we shared equally. Piling two families worth of things into one space. Our cupboards looked like mini chemists:


I am always curious about what other people are doing with their money (or wondering why the frick we always seem to be running out) so I am going to give you the itty gritty on MULA.

Over our time sharing with friends and family one of the great aspects has been a reduced expenditure. We wanted things with Heidi and John to be simple so split the rent 50/50 ($200 each if you must know!) and our shared weekly grocery shop 50/50 ($100 each).

Errol and I continued to pay the electricity and internet to keep things nice and simple, we didn’t want to risk anything getting messy with money and wanted to make things easy for Heidi and John.

Living alone Errol and I were paying the entire rent + utilities + food which meant our monthly basic living expenses were INSANE (to the tune of $2400!!).

Next up in the series is COMMUNITY LIVING // A KITCHEN OF CHAOS  so please check in tomorrow!

11 Responses to “Community Living // THE HOWS”

  1. gravatar for queenmumsibell queenmumsibell

    Having done the community living for 10 years I have to say I never ever want to go back to it if it involves shared bathrooms. At one stage we had 18 people in one house with one bathroom and the loo in the bathroom.

    In retrospect I can laugh that one girl wanted to kill people because her expensive shampoo got nicked but at the time it was traumatic. Life became reduced to who was in the bathroom longest and when is a good time to book in a poo. Horrid.

    That said, the arrangement we had with your bus or people very nearby in a situation allowing you some privacy is ideal and wonderful.

    You are a saint!

  2. gravatar for Sarah Sarah

    I think organising food and expenses is the *hardest* most *awful* part of living in community… When we first moved in with mum and dad.. and nan and joey… I did all the cooking/shopping in exchange for free rent. At one stage i was cooking 3 meals for 8 people every night. Now we have two fully equipped kitchens making life SO much easier. (Why are we moving out again?!?!) I think living with friends is in a way much easier than living with families.. sometimes i think if i hear one more comment or opinion however well-intended i will crack.

  3. gravatar for Beth Beth

    I love the size of the master suite in this house, and can see how that makes it so much more doable. I think houses in the UK generally tend to be much, much smaller (well, the ones we can afford, anyway!) – we live in a very averagely sized 3-bedroom house, of which our bedroom has enough room for a king-sized bed and very little else, the second bedroom is slightly smaller and the third bedroom is barely big enough for a single bedroom. The living areas are also much smaller, so everyone would be tripping over themselves.

    What we really need to do, is build a house from scratch. Now that would be fun :D

  4. gravatar for mel mel

    i love it, i love IT! how fun. envious of all the fun and let me tell you, community living for us these last few months would be delightful and i think i would be able to let out a sigh of relief if we could split the expenses 50/50 with friends cause man, life is expensive.

    • gravatar for Georgia Georgia

      Tell me about it. Life is ridiculously expensive. We’re living with Errols parents at the moment and it is sweet relief! Ahhhhh. I just want to sell our car now cause petrol is so expensive! You should totally find some housemates!

  5. gravatar for trista trista

    haha, similar to how we lived, in a 3 bedroom with a den. we had the master (us and 2 kids), the MIL/FIL in one room, BIL/GF in another, and other BIL in den. it was quite cozy, i did notice no one really hung out in the family room and we all crowded into the *smallish) kitchen a lot :]

  6. gravatar for Cara Q Cara Q

    Yeah I think the fact that a lot of houses are not new-builds and most flats are converted old grand houses over here the community living with another family would be a squash. Of course, there is an option to buy a HUGE house and have many families living there.

    It annoys me when small families occupy HUGE homes and that happens a lot here, too. It’s their choice, of course, but to me it seems illogical. Roll on community living!

  7. gravatar for aloucura aloucura

    hello! I love this little corner.

    I apply to live with you guys in community for 2-3 weeks (our holiday time) some day. we have a little girl of 6 y.o. called Ema :)


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