Living with roommates can be a struggle. After all, we each have our own silly habits, busy schedules, and personal standards. From the awkward roommate agreement to dealing with your first roommate problem to cleaning up the common area, living with others is difficult regardless of if you have a good roommate or a bad roommate. But if you stick to this guide and establish roommate rules and chores, you’ll be able to navigate such differences and build a great roommate relationship and a positive living situation.
Rule 1: Establish House Rules for Roommates.
First things first: setting ground rules for the shared living space. While you don’t have to actually fill out a written roommate agreement template, signed by everyone, it’s important to lay out the rules together. Set boundaries or house rules and keep the shared space enjoyable for everyone. Have a discussion early on to establish who’s an introvert and who’s an extrovert, whether you shower in the morning or at night, if you like to blast music or not, the expectation of quiet hours, and if your roommates are comfortable with overnight guests. Most importantly, agree on how to use (and leave) a shared space such as the kitchen, living room, or bathroom. Lay out all the expectations of how a common area is to be treated. The best thing is, if you notice things out of order, you can just remind your roommate of these house rules instead of having an awkward roommate conflict!
Roommate Rule 2: Set up a cleaning schedule.
In addition to those basic house rules for roommates, determine a consistent cleaning schedule with household chores to keep a common space in tip-top condition, especially if your housemate happens to be a neat freak. For example, come up with a chore chart where roommate A can commit to taking out the trash every first and third Saturday whereas roommate B will wash the dirty dishes. Cleaning responsibilities switch the following week!
Also set a date once a month to do an entire house/apartment sweep: vacuum, wipe down counters, clean out the fridge, consolidate personal items, and take care of whatever else stinks.
Roommate Rule 3: Who buys what?
It’s annoying to feel like you’re always the one buying and replacing the toilet paper, so to prevent that passive aggressiveness from piling up, start a change jar for common use goods. Each roommate can put in $2 – 5 in the beginning and with a sign-out sheet, you can start a rotation of buying any necessities on the next grocery shopping run with the change in the jar. Keep each roomie accountable! This will help maintain a civil roommate situation with one less roommate issue over paper towels.
Roommate Rule 4: Find happiness through community.
The best part about living with a housemate is that you have a friend and a community right next door. Especially when you’re new to a city, having others to navigate the experience with can make a huge difference. Find a common hobby, and make time for each other. Even if it is just Netflix and chill nights or making dinner together once a week, take time to do something fun, get to know each other, and enjoy each other’s company.
Getting to know each other can even help when it comes to finding ways to resolve conflict with a roommate. But strengthening or building a successful roommate relationship is not only about setting rules. Sharing interests and finding a community is important to have a smooth roommate experience together.
Roommate Rule 5: Cut the stress, and just join Common! We’ll take care of it all.
If finding a new roommate or a fitting residence life seems like a headache, consider joining Common. Every Common home has community spaces, perfect for a potluck meal, movie night, or book club. Additionally, the monthly rent covers utilities so you don’t have to worry about dividing bills, your household essentials, and weekly cleaning of shared spaces by our professional teams. No pesky errands. No roommate conflict or drama. Schedule a tour to find your home!
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