Rules On Sofa Surfing

index27I’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 Β£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.

About therabbitholez

I returned to this blog in September 2014, after a 2 year absence, due to depressive illness and homelessness. This journey charts the rocky road to recovery and my feelings about it, and getting a home together after losing everything, this too has been a rocky rocky, both things connected on many levels, but separate at the same time. If you want to know more please read my blog:) and comment on any blog you like I enjoy the interaction, and belong to a great community on here. Thanks for reading.:)
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18 Responses to Rules On Sofa Surfing

  1. mrsabbyj says:

    Reblogged this on mgwebbuddy.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: Rules On Sofa Surfing | Gotta Find a Home:

  3. Thank you for writing this. This is the life that a lot of my friends endure every day. The general public usually has no idea of how perilous and insecure this situation can be. ~ Dennis

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for the reblog, I’ll be writing some more “how to2 blogs over the next few weeks, sadly this presently is my reality.

      thanks for your feedback:)


  4. Thanks for writing this. Many of my friends over the years have been homeless or verging on it, and this is such a raw description of what I saw many people I have known go through for one reason or another. I am currently not sure what my own housing situation is about to look like next month and the month after that due to changes that occurred in my disability status; I have Bipolar disorder and PTSD. However, the powers that be here in the US have decided that as of January 1st, I am no longer “medically” disabled. It has been a very scary ride. Once again, thanks for posting this. It is uncommon to get a woman’s perspective on being homeless.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for reading and commenting:)

      Sorry your situation is looking pecarious, at the moment, with your disability status, is their an appeals process you can access, it can delay some areas whilst that process is being followed.

      I’m not sure about the US but here in the UK there is nothing to be done until actually homeless and even then it’s difficult.

      Is there somewhere if the worst comes to the worst, that you can store your possessions.

      Also, it be worth asking around friends/family now, if your able to stay with them on a temporary basis.

      Are there hostels, in your local area that you can stay in.

      I don’t mean to be all doom and gloom but gather as much information now about what the worst case scenario might be, so at least your somewhat prepared and may have some options.

      Good luck πŸ™‚


      • I have a couple of places I could go, and I am sure that my mom (maybe not my dad) would help me with a storage locker. But, while I am preparing for the worst to happen, I still have faith that everything will be okay (fingers crossed).

        Thank you for the ideas. I have been close to being homeless in the past but never quite made it there thank to the intervention of my mom. It is probably my biggest fear; not having a place to go and being at the mercy of what I know to be a dangerous place for women, especially.

        We do have an appeals process here, and I am set to have a hearing on the 25th of June to tell my side in person. In the meantime, I am looking for employment. That really bites that in the UK you can’t even appeal until you are homeless.

        I have a certain amount of faith that this will turn out in my favor, but I still have the “what if’s”….

        Liked by 1 person

      • We can appeal beforehand, but help is not available until your actually out on the street.

        Hopefully your mum will help you out again.


  5. daninasia says:

    It’s sad because these ‘rules on sofa surfing’ are guidelines developed through personal experience just to maintain some sort of sanity. In the past, I’ve actually been paying rent for lodgings in the UK and have experienced some of the things you mention like unwanted guests entering your room, being denied kitchen or laundry facilities and having to leave early and come back late. What I had to endure was paying rent to people for a room who clearly did not want me in their house, so they make life as hard as possible for you even when you are respectful to them by implementing the considerations you mention in the article.

    Liked by 1 person

    • The whole thing with sofa surfing is that some are willing to do you the favour even though you pay, however it appears that the word “homeless/2 seems to strip you of your right to be treated with a modicum of respect.

      You aware that your are staying in somebodies home and and act accordingly, that is always be resepcctful of their space and generosity, I know many who don’t do that, however don’t take money then act like you have the right to treat another as less than human.

      This is why I came up with my rules, they haven’t always worked however, it lessons the impact of them worrying about you and introducing draconian rules and regulations.

      Thank you for reading and commenting:)


  6. daninasia says:

    I hear you. What saddens me is that you’re in a dire position anyway without having the extra burden of tip-toeing around not trying not to offend the hosts. And as I found out – even paying them doesn’t mean that you are going to be treated with respect. The whole thought of this kind of scenario is what keeps many people from seeking any shelter indoors, as mental illness and anxiety start to take hold.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Mental illness is linked with homelessness, and most are severely depressed, so there are 2 issues to deal with and it’s challenging to get help for either when you’re losing yourself


  7. Cat says:

    It must be so hard to live life around these rules, that’s an understatement of the year, the whole homelessness sounds my worst nightmare and it’s the whole dependency on other people’s moods that can be so volatile. I know you probably feel like you’re drowning in it from time to time, but you show admirable strength and courage, although that may at times be to your disadvantage when it comes to services and housing opportunities.

    Liked by 1 person

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