Most of us have shared homes with housemates or family members before, so the concept of shared living isn’t entirely new. Life in a co-living community of 500 strong, however, may be a little bit different! Thankfully, little things like splitting the bills and the cleaning responsibilities are taken care of at The Collective Old Oak, freeing you up to enjoy the benefits of the community. With that in mind, here are our top tips for making the making the most out of co-living:
1. Get rid of stuff you don’t need
Living in a co-living community, you may find that you have less personal storage space than before. Take stock of your possessions – how much do you actually need on a daily basis? How much had you forgotten existed?
Downsizing your wardrobe is a good place to start. Most of don’t wear a lot of the stuff we own – clothes gather dust because we feel too guilty to throw things away. We’ve all been there: waiting for that questionable spontaneous purchase to come into fashion. Reality check: it probably won’t.
2. Introduce yourself to your neighbours
Make an effort to get to know your neighbors and the people around you, especially when you first move in. Don’t be shy to knock on their doors and introduce yourself! Going into a new environment is always challenging at first, but remember: no one is going to think you’re strange for actively trying to get to know people. Living in a co-living community means you’re surrounded by other people who have made a conscious decision to live in a more connected way!
3. Attend community events
If an individual introduction feels too daunting at first, attending community events is another great way to connect with other members and explore what’s on offer. At Old Oak, there’s something for everyone: with weekly yoga and dance classes, film nights, guest speaker series, potlucks, live music and laidback drinks, there’s something for everyone. Try attending events that appeal to your interests because it’s here that you’ll find like minded people.
4. Be respectful
Leave shared spaces in the way you’d expect them to be found; tidy up after yourself and report any issues to the community managers. Be mindful of other members in terms of noise. As in any community, co-living relies upon mutual respect between members to make the community function at is best.
5. Be mindful of introversion and extroversion
One of the best things about co-living is getting to know a diverse range of people. But living in such close proximity to others, it’s useful to have an understanding of introversion and extroversion. Being aware of your own preferences and tendencies, and having the ability to recognise them in those around you, can go a long to way to avoid potential conflict.
Generally speaking, extroverts tend to be outgoing, enthusiastic and expressive, feeling their best when surrounded by people, and seeking social interaction to recoup. Introverts, on the other hand, regain energy from within, needing a certain amount of alone-time and preferring social interaction in smaller groups.
Be proactive and help shape the community. If you’re aware of a problem, put forward a solution. If there’s an event or club you’d like to see in the community, make it happen!
7. Capitalise on the network
Variety is the spice of life, and in a community of over 500 people, you can be that most bases are covered. Whether you’re looking for travel tips, cooking suggestions, a specific skill, professional advice or to make a business connection, there’s doubtless someone in the community that can help you out if you ask! Make sure to pay it forward and help out other community members if you can!
8. Keep connected
To keep up to date with community events and developments, and to connect with other members, make sure you’re plugged into the available channels (Facebook groups etc.).
9. Give yourself time to adjust
Transitioning into a large co-living community is a pretty big adjustment for most of us. It’s new and exciting, but it can also be overwhelming at the beginning – especially in contrast to the more solitary living arrangements many of us are used to . Don’t be afraid to take the time you need to settle into it. Co-living doesn’t mean you have to be surrounded by people 100% of the time; it’s ok to have private time for yourself, knowing that there’s always people to engage with when you want to.
10. Enjoy it!
Though it may be a big adjustment at first, enjoy yourself! Embrace community living with all it entails. Humans were designed to live in tribes; living more socially is scientifically proven to be good for our mental and physical health. Enjoy the diverse and dynamic nature of co-living, and make the most of being truly connected to a new extended family who share a home with you.
Written by Grace Waters