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How Sharing Spaces Positively Impacts the Planet

| 1/2/2018 9:42:00 AM


The American dream has changed over the last couple decades — the goal used to be to buy a home and start a family, but with the constantly growing population, it doesn't make as much sense with the current economic state of the country. In addition to helping you save money, sharing space can be better for the planet. How can getting a roommate or sharing your space positively impact the earth?

Reduced Electricity Costs

Having roommates can reduce the amount you pay for utilities that you all use and other shared expenses. Paying half of a utility bill, after all, is always better than having to pay the whole thing.

While you might use slightly more water when you have roommates, you all use the same heating, cooling and lighting, so those bills should be lower. You can also split the cost of maintenance and other expenses with those you share your space with. To avoid disputes, make your expectations clear and set up a system in advance for who pays what. For example, agree on a temperature for the thermostat and make it known, before you get the bill in the mail, that you'll split it evenly.

Reduced Carbon Footprint

Sharing spaces doesn't necessarily just mean sharing your home — the sharing economy encompasses cars as well, with apps like Uber and Lyft. While there haven't been a lot of studies looking into the environmental impact of the ride-sharing apps, studies of carpooling have shown that sharing your car with others during your commute reduces the amount of CO2 released into the atmosphere.

Again, this doesn't just reduce your carbon footprint — it can help save you money too. If you're carpooling during the week, you don't have to fill up your own car as often which saves you money at the pump.

1/9/2018 11:06:14 AM

In 2007, when the economy was very, very bad, I started to rent out rooms from my home. My single parent daughter was living with us (myself and my husband) as well as my young adult son. Times were very tough then, so I put up a properly constructed false wall to close up the living room and turn it into a rentable room. I remodeled the garage to convert it into an efficiency for my daughter and her baby girl. The bedroom adjacent to the garage had a private bath so I opened the other side of that bath and made it into a Jack n Jill bath for my daughter and my son to share. My master bedroom was large and had its own bath so I made it into an efficiency for my husband and I to have our privacy. I still had 2 other bedrooms in the home (my kids original rooms when they were younger) and I rented those out with the newly constructed one in the living room. The kitchen, eat-in area and foyer were large enough to provide open living space for the tenants to share. That gave me 3 rooms to rent which made all the difference in that very harsh economic time. I had very specific rules and duties in writing which everyone signed as part of the lease agreement which I made my adult children participate with as well. Things went smoothly for the most part. I addressed hiccups immediately. Rarely did I have to evict anyone but if I did, the fact that I ran a proper, legal room rental operation made the process of eviction easier. The economic times may not be as bad as it was in 2007, but for many people, it still is pretty bad and more people are being left behind economy wise than ever before. I can vouch for this method of living. If you have the will, the means and the know how, it can work for you. You just have to own the fact that you are a landlord (even though you live there too) and act like it no matter what. One last tip. I did not assign tenant chores. That is a mistake in may situations because people are so different. I just charged enough rent to pay myself to do all the chores or hire help. I also charge enough rent that it covers all the community type expendables like toilet paper, toilet cleaner, dish washing detergent, etc. They provide their own favorite toothpaste, towels and shampoos, etc. Don't make this part negotiable. You'll regret it. Charge everyone the same rent (unless one room is grossly larger than another) and don't give discounts if they decide to help with chores...they rarely stick with the plan. Hope this helps someone out there that is thinking about implementing a similar plan.

1/9/2018 12:51:17 AM

I agree with Maryzaz from Jan. 8th-our economy is doing much better now. I didn't appreciate the article's comment about the economy. But we are seriously planning to move from CA, where we have lived for 30 years, back to our home state of WI. Getting used to the bad weather will be a challenge, but we want to be with our family. The home we will buy in WI will be purchased with the thought that our brother and sister in laws may join us to live in our home at a future date. Neither they nor us have children nearby. So some of your tips are helpful in establishing rules to live by beforehand.

1/8/2018 4:53:50 PM

This is happening with an enormous number of Elder women (and men). The sharing has even more meaning to us than just taking a load off of Elders whose income has been considerably reduced or as in my case, also satisfying my urge to try and help Mother Nature recover from some distressful situation by having a reduced ecological footprint. The renter(s) is/are often the only other person in an Elder's home. Having another person present is very comforting to someone with an aging body and mind. An empty home of any size or description can be very cold and even be depressing to someone who has been used to a busy household with a now missing spouse and children who have gone and fewer friends in and out at all times. Another's presence can bring warmth back into the home for everyone. Anyone who does not understand this had better stop and think about it as it may be a factor in their future sooner or later.

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