I lived with roommates my sophomore, junior, and senior years of college. If I told you it was all a walk in the park, I would be telling a huge lie. If you’re anything like me, sharing space is not an easy thing to do. With college about to start back up, I thought it would be good timing to share with y’all some things that I have found make having a roommate a pleasant experience!
1. Clean up after yourself. When sharing space with others, it is only polite. (Especially if there are limited dishes & silverware!) Roommates are not maids. If you eat something, wash your dish and load it into the dishwasher. If you spill something, wipe it up. If you use the last of the toilet paper, replace the roll. (And just remember, when tensions get high, no one can freak out on you for not cleaning up after yourself!)
2. Set rules. I get it – you just moved away from home, and you’re in college now so rules are lame. However, knowing up front what behavior is and isn’t acceptable up front makes life much easier and prevents a lot of drama. Decide on how late guests should be allowed over, what the protocol is if a boy comes over, who is in charge of what chores, rules for borrowing clothing, etc. We all have our quirks, and expressing things we’re a little psycho about (for me, it’s a clean kitchen) will save lots of headaches. I promise, it will make things easier. (And if one of your roommates turns out to be a lunatic, being able to show that you all agreed upon a list of rules and said roommate continues to break them will help you have her removed.)
3. Don’t take advantage of others’ supplies. Sometimes it makes more sense to grab someone else’s dryer sheet than to run to the store and by more before throwing your clothes into the dryer. But consistently using someone else’s “supplies” is unfair. (I once heard someone say that it was okay to use a roommate’s detergent because the roommate’s parents had paid for it… Flawed logic. Don’t do it.) Shared supplies are another great time when a schedule or some cutesy dry erase board come in handy. If someone is consistently having to buy all of the supplies, eventually there will be a disagreement about it. And quite frankly, it’s not right to expect on person to do all of that.
4. Be respectful. This rule is mostly just to reiterate the first three rules. Be respectful of your roommates and their space. Be respectful of shared space. If your roommate is in the living room studying, don’t sit there and watch music videos without your headphones in. If you always watch Pretty Little Liars as a group, don’t bring your boyfriend over to lay on the couch and watch movies at 8 pm on a Tuesday night. It all goes back to The Golden Rule – treat others the way that you wish to be treated.
5. Be open. If someone you live with has pissed you off, politely say something to them. If you feel uncomfortable being that bold about it, try writing them a note (still politely.) It’s easier to say something and resolve the situation than pout around like a child.
I hope that these tips will make living with a roommate much smoother!