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10 Tips for Finding a Great Golden Girls Roommate

Ready to join the movement of mature adults sharing housing? You’ll enjoy an affordable living situation and have the opportunity to make friends for life.

But like all good things, finding a great roommate takes work! But it doesn’t have to be difficult. Here are 10 tips to help make your path toward shared housing an easy one.

  1. Join Golden Girls Network! Even if you search and don’t see anyone in your area immediately, join! If you don’t, the next woman (or man) that visits the site won’t know that you’re out there either.
  2. Create a detailed profile. Take the time to tell others what makes you a great roommate. Remember the old adage, “you only have one chance to make a first impression.” Make yours as fabulous as you are!
  3. Search! And, connect. Be proactive. Don’t wait for others to contact you. Search the network for others that fit your criteria, write to them, and get the conversation going.
  4. Respond! If you receive a message from an interested roommate, give her the courtesy of a response even if you’re in the process of talking to someone else, have already found another roommate, or aren’t interested. Be sure to respond directly to the member contacting you and double check your message is going to her – not back to Golden Girls Network. You’d hope for the same to your inquiries! Plus, you never – even if the person that contacts you isn’t the right fit, she might know someone who is.
  5. Stay engaged. Check your spam. Sometimes inquiries from members end up in your spam folder. Check there! To help inquiries land in your inbox, add info@goldengirlsnetwork.com to your email contacts.
  6. Search again. Didn’t find your match on your first day on the network? Look again! New members are joining daily so there’s always someone new that might be the right fit.
  7. Be flexible. Perhaps there isn’t a Golden Girls home right in your neighborhood. But have you considered one town over? Or a condo instead of a single-family home? We’d never recommend compromising on your non-negotiable criteria, but for other factors, be open to options and alternatives – it will greatly increase the pool of available homes and roommates and you might find something terrific you hadn’t previously considered!
  8. Take your time. Living with a stranger is a big commitment. While some homeowners offer month-to-month leases, even a few weeks can feel like an eternity if the roommate match isn’t a good fit. Spend time interviewing one another up front. Look for any red flags that might make the potential roommate simply not the right fit. There’s a home for everyone so don’t feel bad if you’re not the right lid for someone’s pot.
  9. Update your profile. Once you’ve found your match, update your profile to indicate that you’re not actively looking. You don’t have to leave the network – we love having you! Plus, should you need to move (for whatever reason!) or need to find an additional roommate, your profile will already be there and ready to go.
  10. Bottom line – make it happen! We can’t stress it enough – take an active role in finding your next home or roommate. Registering alone is not enough. You need to search, respond, and engage. By taking a few extra minutes, you’ll set yourself on a path to a great shared housing experience.

If you’re having trouble, we’re here to help! Email us at info@goldengirlsnetwork.com or call us at 301-383-1482 and our fabulous customer service manager, Regina, will be glad to help.

How Do I Find A Golden Girls Housemate?

Now that your soon-to-be Golden Girls Home is housemate ready, it’s time to start looking for those special roommates who will help you embark on this grand adventure of making new friends and trying new things while you save money on living expenses.

Your first step will be writing the advertisement:

— Start your ad with “JOIN A GOLDEN GIRLS HOME.” This lets everyone know that you’re seeking to live like Rose, Dorothy, Blanche, and Sophia.

— Liven up your ad with something about you. For instance, are you a retired teacher, a golf lover, a cat fan, or a vegetarian? Then say so. Details will help you find roommates who share your interests.

— Decide how much you will charge to lease the room in your home. Check out Craigslist.com and your local newspaper to find the cost of similar rooms in your area. Set your price where you feel comfortable, but if you have difficulty finding a housemate after three months of advertising, consider lowering the price.

— Understand fair housing rules. Most Golden Girls Homes are exempt from the Fair Housing Act, but do not discriminate. Of course you won’t!

— Don’t list your phone number because the calls will come at all hours and will become Use an email address instead.

— Be specific about how many adults will be living in the home.

— Indicate the size of the room, whether it is furnished, whether the bath is private or shared, and anything that makes the room special.

— Highlight the benefits of your home: Does it receive lots of light? Are you in walking distance from a park or great shopping district? Do you have access to a pool, hot tub, or gym? Use details that make your home shine.

Here is a sample ad that you can edit to meet your needs:

$700 – JOIN A GOLDEN GIRLS HOME!  I have an amazing 4-bedroom home and am looking for roommates who have a vision of living together with autonomy and quiet time but who want to share occasional vegetarian meals and activities. We will all pitch in to make it work. Unfurnished room, private bath, utilities included, no pets, no smoking, lease required. Email me at xxxx@xxxx

Your second step will be placing the ad where potential housemates can find it:

— Target your advertising to find people who might share your interests. If you’re a member of a church or community organization, talk to your friends there, place a flyer on the bulletin board, and advertise in the monthly newsletter.

— In most places, local print newspapers aren’t great for attracting prospects, but if yours has a decent online version, try placing an ad there, too.

— Register on roommate websites. GoldenGirlsNetwork.com offers an electronic matching service for adults over 40 to meet other mature adults who would like to live in shared housing. The membership fee is $39 for six months. Once you put your data into the system, you can search for promising housemates and contact them.

Roommates.com and Craigslist.com are other online services where you can search for housemates.

Next month, we’ll discuss how best to choose a housemate from all of those people eager to live in your lovely Golden Girls Home. Until then, good luck on your housemate search!

Excerpt from “How to Start a Golden Girls Home” by Bonnie Moore. Click here for more info or your own copy.

10 Tips for Spring Cleaning Your Memory-Cluttered Home

Spring CleaningSpring is here and with the longer days and warmer weather come the annual itch to sweep out the little-seen corners and clear out the overstuffed coat closet. For those of us who’ve been in a home for a long time, however, our things can become laden with memories and that weight can make them much harder to get rid of than dust bunnies.

“If you have spent years in a house, you become the keeper of things and define yourself as the keeper of memories,” said professional organizer Janet Schiesl, who has been helping people get organized since 2005 with her company Basic Organization. “It’s a struggle because you’ve held on to an item to honor someone and you hoped to pass it on so the next in line could honor you.”

The reality is that the younger generations are less interested in antiques and hand-me-downs and more interested in living in smaller homes with fewer items.   As we age-in-place and we start thinking about the next phase of life, it’s useful to start thinking about downsizing.

Since many of us are thinking about shared living, we need to make space for the new roommate.  The really interesting part is that as you freshen up your home and clear out the unneeded items, it feels like a load has been lifted and you have a fresh start!

Here’s another thought.  Look around and realize that you have everything you need and you simply don’t need to buy more stuff.  Replace broken items, but don’t buy new.  Replace clothing that is old, but don’t add stuff.  Replace a worn out or broken piece of furniture, but don’t keep the old item.  Give it away to someone who will repurpose it.

Here are some ways you can use this year’s spring-cleaning momentum to get yourself ready for your new roommate:

1.  Identify a method of donating your unused items.  If you have a Freecycle group nearby, join it.  This is an easy way to give something away and know that someone else will continue to get use out the item.  Also think about Salvation Army, Goodwill, church groups, and certainly think about a yard sale!  Yard sales are great…especially when you can donate your items to someone else’s sale.  It makes it a lot easier to say goodbye to a favorite item if you know someone else will enjoy it.  Have a spot where you collect “give away” items, and then give them away.  It’s much easier to give away than to throw away. Our founder, Bonnie Moore, still goes through her house and garage annually looking for “goodbye” items…she loves to tell the story about how she finally gave away all of her camping gear to a Girl Scout Troop.

2.  Question whether an item will support the future you. Schiesl asks mature clients to envision their future: Would they like to spend more time enjoying life rather than taking care of stuff? Then she asks how a particular item will support that idyllic future. “It’s easier to let go of if you realize it’s not going to support you in the future than getting caught in the memories from the past.”

3. Focus on quality over quantity. “You can keep things near and dear to you, but just keep the best of them,” advises Schiesl. Use the pristine guest towels and get rid of old toweling. Old towels can be donated to an animal shelter.  Keep the most comfortable pair of black dress shoes and donate the other three pairs. Choose your son’s baseball trophy that means the most to you and take a picture of the rest of them and preserve them in a scrapbook. Do you have a favorite collection?  Are these dust catchers?  Could you choose to display two or three, and pack the others away so that you can rotate them annually?

4. Talk with your kids now. If you’re holding onto an item for a child, call them now to ask if they want it. Perhaps they can take it off your hands. Perhaps they do want it, but don’t have room for it yet. And perhaps you’ll discover they’re not interested in it. No longer being a caretaker for an item lessens your attachment to it and allows you to discard it.

5. Embrace technology.  Take pictures of those items that no longer serve a purpose but whose memories you’d like to keep. Your grandmother’s hutch can live on in a scrapbook or a digital photo frame. There may be a learning curve, but much of today’s paper clutter can be eliminated with the use of e-readers, online subscriptions and electronic file storage.  Old magazines, books you’ve already read, newspapers you never got around to reading, copies of something that was once important…all of these things can go now.

6. Schedule your organizing time. Schiesl warns that people woefully underestimate how long it will take to organize an area. Once you decide to start a Golden Girls Home, get that spare bedroom cleaned out, and keep going through the other rooms.  Consider scheduling one room each month.  Go through that room with a fine-toothed comb and get it organized.  Schedule the next room for next month, and keep going.  Do this every year and keep looking for items that someone else can use, bottles that are almost empty, duplicates, expired items, broken items…you know what we are talking about!

7. Allow yourself a “maybe” pile. This is the technique Schiesl recommends when you get down to the nitty gritty:
— Go through a closet or drawer as quickly as you can sorting everything into three piles – “Keep,” “Get rid of“ and “Maybe.” The “maybe” pile gives you permission to not have to make a decision about every item.
— Put the “keep” items away, throw out the “get rid of” items and put the “maybes” in a box.
— Mark the “maybe” box with the date and a deadline, say two months out.
— Review all of the gadgets…remember how often it has been used, then either keep it and put it away properly, or toss it.
— Everything still in the box after two months, items not useful to your future, can now be peacefully discarded.

8. Create a home for items. In shared-living situations, much of the stress of “I can’t find…” is eliminated when items are given a home – such as a basket for remotes and a drawer for keys – and everyone knows where that item “lives.” You can also create an area for “homeless” items or items that belong in someone’s room. A basket near the stairs can be a good spot to set items that need to be put away upstairs.

9. Bring something in, take something out. After downsizing, try this… discard an old item every time you bring a new item home.  You will never struggle with de-cluttering again! Schiesl said a beautiful set of hangers will keep you honest in your closet. If you only buy a blouse when you’re prepared to discard one and never allow wire hangers, your closet will never be stuffed by more clothes than you need.

10. Work with a professional or call a friend over. Deciding what to keep and get rid of with an objective outsider can help lessen your emotional attachment to stuff, Schiesl said. A friend will ask you how often you have worn something, and she will be able to toss it when you can’t.  A professional organizer can help you focus on your future goals instead of past memories and can help you stay on task until the job is complete. Professionals also can call in companies for jobs like junk removal, moving and shredding, if necessary. Schiesl recommends checking the National Association of Professional Organizers for organizers in your area, and then meeting with the person before hiring to insure you are comfortable and feel heard.

How to Get Your Home Housemate Ready

How to Get Your Home Housemate ReadyYour soon-to-be Golden Girls Home may already be the most inviting place in the world for your future housemates. However, many of our homes need a little work. Walk outside, turn around, and walk in again, pretending that this is the first time you have ever walked through the door. What would you do to make it a more inviting home for you?

First Impressions:

– Sweep the walkway free of leaves
– Make sure the entry is reasonably free of clutter.
– Check to ensure stair railings are securely fastened.
– Consider – Does your home have inviting lighting and cheerful decorations?
– Make sure the home smells good. No pet or dirty carpet odors!
– Change the front door lock if you have had housemates in the past.

The Bedroom: A housemate will need a room large enough for a full- to queen-size bed, at least one nightstand, a dresser, a desk, and a small table or TV stand. They will need a medium-to-large closet to hold not only their clothing and shoes, but also personal keepsakes.

– Consider clearing out a room and renting it unfurnished.
– If you are renting the room furnished, put a neutral bedspread on the bed with attractive pillows. Otherwise, have minimal decorations.
– Bring in professionals to shampoo the carpet
– Give the walls a fresh, neutral-colored coat of paint.
– Check the windows. Are the curtains or shades attractive and functional? Are the screens in good condition?
– Provide and air-conditioning unit and/or space heater. Everyone likes temperatures slightly different.
– Fill nail holes from previously hung pictures or art, and consider allowing your housemate to hand pictures.
– If you have two smaller rooms with small closets, consider renting them both together to allow your housemate to use one as a sitting room and the other as a bedroom.

The Bathroom: A private bath is a big plus when looking for a housemate. If it is necessary for the bathroom to be shared, make sure the morning schedules are compatible.

– Clean the bathroom and make sure it smells good.
– Ensure you have adequate towel bars and bathroom hooks.
– Water pressure is important! Improve it if necessary.
– Provide a place to store toiletries, tissues, and towels.
– Furnish a shower curtain, rug, waste basket, plunger, and toilet bowl scrubber.

The Kitchen:

– Make sure your kitchen is clean and the counters are clutter free.
– Provide two or three shelves in an easy-to-reach cabinet to store just the housemate’s goods.
– Provide one shelf in the refrigerator and freezer for your housemate’s exclusive use.
– Decide if you’re willing to share your dishes, utensils, bowls, gadgets, storage containers, and other kitchen If not, is there room for your housemate’s kitchen supplies?
– Pack away or store on top shelves any special dishes, expensive appliances, or anything that you don’t want used on a regular basis.

The Rest:

– If you have valuables in your home — expensive rugs, artwork, jewelry, heirlooms, treasured antique furniture, or something very special to you –either pack these things away, put them in a safe place, or put them in your private bedroom. It is a rule of the universe that your favorite thing always gets broken or soiled first!
– Provide cable TV service and an internet connection.
– Make sure there is a spot – in the driveway or on the street – for your housemate to park a car.

Take notice of these details in your home and you will be sure to provide a welcoming residence to a lucky Golden Girl or Guy!

Excerpt from “The Golden Girls Network Workbook” by Bonnie Moore. For more info or your own copy click here.