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Extra Housing Help For AmeriCorps VISTA Volunteers

Odd Couples Housing announced a partnership with AmeriCorps VISTA — Mission: St. Louis to launch a housing subsidy program for VISTA volunteers affiliated with the organization. AmeriCorps VISTA — Mission: St. Louis seeks to alleviate poverty across Missouri by creating systemic change and providing direct services that improve the well-being of the poor and disenfranchised, particularly children, the elderly, and people with disabilities.

Preparing Your Home for Your New Roommate

Many of us have spent the last several weeks quarantining at home. If you’re sick of watching TV, baking bread or video chatting, we recommend using your time at home to start your spring cleaning! It’s the perfect time of year to open up your windows and do a deep clean of your house. Plus, if you’re considering opening up your home to a new roommate, now might be the perfect time to prepare your space! We’ve heard from several of our homeowners that a new roommate moving in was the excuse they needed to finally tackle household projects they’d been putting off! If you do have a new housemate moving in, check out these tips on how set you and your roommate up for success!

Whether you’re cleaning out a room to make space for a new housemate, or simply reorganizing your home, today we’re sharing some helpful cleaning tips that will leave your home sparkling!

Make a Schedule

First, consider your goals and your timeline. Your approach will be different if you’re hoping to declutter the garage by the end of the summer versus needing to have the guest bedroom ready to go by your new housemate’s move-in day. Start by establishing your goals, surveying the space you want to clean and jotting down a to-do list. Make a game plan and stick to it!

If you’re feeling overwhelmed by a room in your house, start small. For example, focus on cleaning out the kitchen cupboards first, then work your way up to the whole kitchen.

Not sure where to start? This Room by Room Checklist gives guidance on how to approach each space in your home.

Inventory your Cleaning Supplies

Take a peek at the cleaning supplies you have on hand and safely dispose of anything that’s expired or empty. Re-stock what you need, but there’s no need to go overboard. Although you can find a cleaning product for everything, to save yourself money and a headache, consider a trusted all-purpose cleaner. However, be careful on surfaces like wood or marble, which may need specialized products. If you have sensitivities or allergies, be conscious of any irritants your cleaners may contain. You also may want to consider buying (or making) environmentally-friendly, chemical-free cleaning products.

Before you start cleaning a space, make sure your supplies are easily accessible!

Be Systematic

Once you start cleaning, make a step-by-step process for yourself. If you’re cleaning your full house, go room by room. If you’re working on one room, break it down into smaller, more manageable sections (remember the kitchen cupboards?).

Once you determine your area of focus (a room, garage, or closet, for example), start by organizing clutter. Make piles of what you will keep, store, donate, or throw away. Once things are sorted, you can deep clean. Work from top to bottom to avoid having to clean again since dislodged dust or debris can fall on furniture or the floor.

Don’t shy aware from those particularly intimidating spots, like junk drawers and ceiling fans.

Ask for Help

If you’re feeling overwhelmed by tasks—or the physical demands associated with major cleaning endeavors—ask for help! If you live with other people, make sure they’re involved as much as possible. Live alone? Ask a friend or family member to lend a hand or keep you company while you’re working. Take breaks as needed.

Plan Ahead

As you make progress, it can be useful to pay attention to where the messiest areas in your house are. Once you know your problem areas, you can brainstorm ways to prevent mess from accumulating moving forward. Use this 4-Step Process to assess sources of mess and problem solve.

When you’re done, take a moment to celebrate your progress–you’ve worked hard to organize your space in a way you like! Now, you might consider how you can keep it that way. This is also a great opportunity to make some new cleaning habits for yourself. Even setting aside just a few minutes every few days to tidy up can make a difference! What small things can you do to keep your space clutter-free and clean in the future?

Good Luck!

Don’t be intimidated–you’ve got this! Keep your enthusiasm high by listening to your favorite music and celebrating the progress you’ve made. Most importantly, make time to enjoy your new, organized space!

If you’re preparing your space for a new housemate, remember that in the future, you’ll have an extra set of hands to help with some of these household projects!

How Two Generations Facing Loneliness & High Housing Costs Became Housemates

Before Yuki, an international college student, returned home to Japan due to the coronavirus outbreak, she and Amy (a physician) had been happily living together in Amy’s University City home for months. Despite their age difference, Amy and Yuki enjoyed each other’s company and bonded over their love of Amy’s cats. They both appreciate the financial benefits of home-sharing, but that’s not their main motivation for participating in Odd Couples Housing. They agree that the main advantage of living together is feeling more connected and less lonely. 

Amy and Yuki were among the people interviewed last week on Saint Louis Public Radio (NPR) by host Sarah Fenske. Last Tuesday’s St. Louis on the Air episode also featured Odd Couples Housing Co-Founder, John Levis, and Director, Brian Carpenter who discussed the company’s mission and how we work. Tune in to hear the interviews!

Pandemic Housemates

Like Amy and Yuki, many of our homeowners and their roommates are glad to have companionship while sheltering-at-home. We’ve stayed in touch with our matches during this difficult time, and are happy to report that all is well. We especially enjoyed hearing from the daughter of one of our longest-standing matches who told us that having a younger person living with her mom has given her considerable peace of mind. She said, “especially during the pandemic, it has been such a gift to have them there. The Odd Couples Housing program has been a lifesaver and a true blessing for our family!”

We’re happy that our roommate matches are able to support each other right now. Who are your biggest supports during this time? How do you stay connected with them? Take time to check in with your friends and family, seek things out that make you smile, and find ways to keep your mind and body active. 

Whether you live with housemates, family members, or by yourself, you’re probably adjusting to increased time at home. Limiting social time and activities can be hard. But, it can also create time to think about what you’re grateful for, reconnect with loved ones, and plan for the future. We don’t know what life might look like in the coming months, but we have a feeling that we won’t be taking our social connections for granted! 

Did You Enjoy Hearing Yuki & Amy On The Radio?

If you enjoyed hearing Yuki and Amy’s story, we recommend tuning into this episode of The Mark Reardon Show. Earlier this year, another Odd Couples Housing match (Erika and Diane) shared their experience as roommates on the air. Start at 9:25. 

If the home-sharing situation might be a good fit for you–-now or in the future–-please sign up on our website.