I’ve already highlighted my own situation here and not knowing I would ever have to write a post like this, I was asked what was it like to sofa surf, and do I manage it sometimes on a day to day basis.
Firstly the whole thing about sofa surfing is the uncertainty of not only where you might stay on any given night, but if you’ve been given a sofa for say a week the the person might change their mind, and you probably won’t find out until you arrive on their doorstep that night( this happens often).
1. Make sure that who your staying with understands you have nowhere else to go and that it is only temporary, if your doing the asking.
2. If your asking, never ask fir more than 3 days, if they ask you might be able to stretch it out for a week, occasionally longer.
3. Be as unobtrusive as possible, which means leaving at least by 9am and not coming back until later, (With a few people it I couldn’t come back until 10pm)
4. Eat outside of their home, meaning don’t cook there, with people I know reasonably well I get to cook as a thank you.
5. ALWAYS clean up after yourself, I even collect what little rubbish I have put it in a carrier bag, and dispose of it in a public bin.
Make sure you don’t hog the bathroom, in fact go after they have finished, and take no longer than 15 minutes.
Ask if you can use the washing machine, and make sure it’s stuff that can all go in one load.
6. Sometimes you might be given the spare room, I found just by going straight there after hello’s so you don’t disturb anyone, if you are sleeping on the sofa you have to wait until they decide to go to bed.
7. If you can offer anything, do so even £5 will go towards something.
8. If your staying with a female friend, sorry to say this but be aware of boyfriends, most are fine, but I did have a nasty experience when one came into my room during the early hours, he said he walked into the wrong room coming back from the bathroom, bullshit, I made a fuss, and had to leave in the early hours around 6.30am( in this situation women foolishly won’t believe you)
9. If your male beware of boyfriends who won’t take too kindly staying overnight at their girlfriend’s, it can be a really sticky situation especially if you have no plan B.
10. NEVER leave anything behind, unless they say you can, also sometimes your things can be thrown away, on occasion accidently on purpose.
How to carry your life around in two bags:
1. If you can buy one very sturdy bag, that can also be toted on your shoulder
2. If you have personal papers, get them photocopied at the library and put in a sealed envelope, you can usually find someone who will keep that for you, keep originals in a plastic folder.
3.Toiletry bag, containing bare essentials, if you can’t always shower or bath, use baby wipes, very cheap and will suffice when you don’t have access to facilities.
3. Clothes but at least 3 changes of clothes, t,shirts and jeans mainly & underwear and a small towel, all things that can be folded up small so not to take up too much room.
4. If you have one your phone, charger,even if you can’t afford credit, at least people can phone and text you..
5. I’m female and have a handbag also so the rest of my stuff fits in there, also there are several services around town where you can have a shower and change, always check those out.
6. If you do have a job ask if you can keep some of your stuff there, I do and it’s a massive help.
It all reads as a pretty awful experience which it is, but it can be managed, until an alternative comes up.