It’s all over the internet.
Ways to make money from home.
Each way boasts about how simple and wonderful the job is. Testimonials of white-toothed, put together Mom’s bouncing a clean white-clad baby on their hip brag about how well this method works. Private sales, secretary, tutor, even positions in the corporate world- all from your own comfortable couch while dressed in PJ’s.
Sound like the life, huh? Well, I’ll tell you from experience that it actually isn’t that easy to secure a job working from home. It actually does require work. And I can gaurentee that your teeth won’t look as white as the lady’s in that add. And I bet your will have cheerios stuck to your butt if you actually sat on your couch all day working from home. I know I would.
But I do have a way to make money from home- and I don’t do a THING. Honest.
Wanna know the secret?
If you are a typical American, this might blow your mind. You will wonder HOW? You will wonder what possessed us to have this thought, and how in the world were we brave enough to go through with it? You might wonder if we are safe, or how I could be so preposterous to propose that you consider this as a plan for your life? (And if you are in the bunch of international friends, I’m sure you will grin and nod your head and agree that it only makes sense).
So what is the plan? This dangerous, unheard of plan?
We rent out some bedrooms to a young lady.
The only thing that I have to do is make sure I have the bedrooms available. Oh, and accept the check from her.
Ok, I’ll be a little bit more honest as there are some other things that I “have to” do. Like share my kitchen and my driveway. And worry a little every time that Tera howls in the middle of the night. But otherwise, I don’t do anything.
Theo and I didn’t bat an eye when we came up with this idea when we first moved to our new house in December. Growing up, the DeValves almost always had someone living with us! From short termers, to peace corps workers, to overnight guests…I never remember my parents turning anyone away, no matter how short the notice of their stay. And we didn’t have a lot of extra space, either! If the person didn’t mind sleeping wherever there was room, then they were welcome in our home.
This picture is a throwback….me, my brother and my other “brother” who lived with my family for six months. We had a two bedroom home…and yet Jeremy living with us was never an issue.
Theo’s family operates in a similar manner. I’ve never seen such a high-traffic household! They have also had many different people live with them throughout the years. Whether single missionaries home on furlough, or med students who need somewhere to live for the time being. Especially as Theo’s brothers started to leave home, his parents started to realize that they had more than enough space to share. I simply love that attitude, and it’s something that both Theo and I wanted to implement in our own home.
So in December, when we signed the papers to buy this house, we immediately put out a room for rent ad. We bought a house with 4 bedrooms. What in the world would we do with 4 bedrooms? One day, we hope to have our children and foster children filling the rooms, but right now we could use a little extra income and we have the space. So renting out it is.
We put out an add, but we were very careful about HOW we found a renter. We first decided to advertise to the Cedarville network. Living near a university is perfect for finding renters, and we were quick to hope that advertising to Cedarville would hopefully pool someone who was a believer. The next action if we didn’t find anyone from Cedarville was to reach out to the international orgs at local universities and see if they had anyone needing a place to stay. We then specified that it had to be a female, and they had to be willing to share our living space and kitchen with us.
We moved into our house the beginning of December, and within the first week we had a lady come and look at the rooms for rent. We have four bedrooms- two upstairs, and two downstairs. We also have a bathroom upstairs and a bathroom downstairs. The renter gets two (fully furnished) bedrooms and a bathroom. They also have a mini fridge and a cupboard in the kitchen, and are welcome to use any of our kitchen supplies. They also share the living space with us, but this isn’t much of an issue as either one of us can retreat to our respective bedrooms if privacy is needed.
Since January, we have had a renter, and we have one until August. The woman who lived with us January-April is married and has three kids at home- 2 hours away. So, she went home every weekend and worked insane hours from 7am to 8 pm everyday. She admitted that she never cooks and never used any of our kitchen supplies. We hardly ever saw her, although when we did, we always enjoyed fellowship with her.
When she left in May, we found a young lady to take her place. This young lady, E, is a local university student, and is getting married in August. She works locally from 9-5, and is at home in the evening and on the weekends. Her fiancee also lives nearby, so he is over quite often as well.
There are a couple of things that I have to get used to with having someone else live in my home. We have been able to come up with a good kitchen sharing technique- waiting until the other person is done to work on our own meal. It may take some waiting and some dishes-washing-sharing, but it works out.
But what about having a baby? Well, we made sure that E understood that we have a baby. We made sure that she understood that babies cry. E’s first night here, Tera screamed for two hours straight. She hasn’t done that since she was two months old. I was SO embarrased and slightly humiliated, and when I apologized later, E said, “Oh! It’s fine! D (the fiancee) decided that we won’t have kids for a long time yet after that!” Haha, oops.
And that brings me to my final point: renting out our rooms is a ministry. E sees the nitty-gritty. She hears how often Tera is up in the night. She observes me trying to cook a meal with a fussy baby clinging to my legs. She might have an idealized view of a stay at home Mom…but she won’t when she is done staying with us! Haha! No, but really…we may make a little bit of money from having a renter live with us, but it is also good for us. It gives Tera a chance to be around different people, and to see people in her home. It gives me a chance to minister through my home. It gives me a chance to mentor a young lady (even if it is just through my actions and the four walls of my home).
So often in the American culture, we over-protect our privacy and don’t let anyone into our lives. Sure, we might have people over for dinner, but in doing that, we make sure that our home is spotless and our faces are smiley. Well, I’m not always smiley and my home is most certainly not always spotless. E gets to see this. Is it hard to let someone see my rough days and my filthy kitchen and my inability to back out of my driveway? Sure. But it’s so worth it because that is real life.
So there you go…take it or leave it, that is how I make money from home. My hope is that after you read this post you will think about how you can open up your home during the nitty-gritty everyday moments. Sure, E pays us to live here…but really it’s a win-win-win situation.