Keeping the Peace
In your twenties and thirties, it’s inevitable that you will probably need to find roommates to share the expenses and chores that come with living on your own. New living situations provide great opportunities to learn how to coexist among others. Much of communal living is dependent on everyone’s courteousness and active effort to not be a jerk, but it’s also about maintaining stability in the relationships with your roommates. With the experience of currently living with five other people, here are a few learned tips that can help diffuse potential strain in your living situation.
1. Things will get dirty, fast. Communal living definitely helps to build a solid immune system, but a house can quickly invite disease without consistent effort to keep it clean. Keep track of any musty or moldy smells and try to find the source (Tilex is amazing for eliminating mold or mildew). Make the kitchen and bathrooms your top priorities because these are perfect breeding grounds for bacteria.
2. Rotate the dirty work. Nobody likes doing dishes or scrubbing toilets, so don’t stick any one person with all of the unpleasant chores. Keep a list on the refrigerator that notes which roommate needs to clean what in the house that week. This approach eliminates unnecessary confrontation and keeps things fair in terms of individual contributions.
3. Find a mini fridge. With limited kitchenware and space in the sink for a stack of dirty dishes, we try to eat communally whenever possible. But with six hungry people under one roof, it is to be expected that your food will get eaten. Be generous and don’t let it irk you, but it is okay to keep a personal stash that’s just for you. Just keep food air-tight so you don’t invite any unwanted pests into your room.
4. Get money straightened out ASAP. When you decide to sign a lease with other people, you are essentially entering a business partnership with each of your roommates. It’s no surprise that the 1st happens every month, so don’t be caught off-guard when the rent is due. Be vocal if you might be short this month and make sure to have all of the money collected at least three days before the bills are due.
5. Find your balance. Whether you are living with friends or strangers, make it a goal to balance your personal relationships with your roommate relationships. It’s important to feel comfortable both collectively and individually among your roommates, so speak up when something is bothering you. Make sure you have other friends for when you need to get out of the house, but enjoy the limited time you have at home because these won’t be your roommates forever.
Annie Sragner, contributing writer for ifIknew