Dishes piled to the ceiling, someone’s makeup brush is missing and one person forgot to take out the trash, war is about to break out and only the strong survive… Roommates the movie, coming to an apartment near you. We all want the experience of living with roommates to be like a sitcom where everyone gets along, shops together, drink wine together and go on fun road trips. While having roommates can be a great experience, it can also be a really bad experience. Learning to live with roommates is one of the important things that everyone will have to learn in their twenties and while we all hope it’s the first scenario mentioned, this isn’t always the case. However, there are some “living with roommates rules” to ensure that everyone keeps the peace.
Make a Roommate Agreement
The most important “living with roommates rules” to consider is creating a roommate agreement. Roommate agreements make the world go round…okay maybe not but they do make living arrangements easier. Making an agreement verbal or written makes sure that everyone is on the same page about what is acceptable and what isn’t. You can write an agreement of your own or you could just download this super handy roommate agreement from the University of Kentucky.
Have a Chores list
Living with a roommate is the prime example of the tragedy of the commons i.e. things that are shared are often neglected because of the diffusion of responsibility. Each person thinks that someone else will take care of it, so a roommate assumes that someone else will take out the trash or clean the washroom etc. so, number two on the “living with roommates rules” is making a chores list. Making a chores list from the beginning establishes individual responsibility for tasks around the house. The list can be rotated that way one person isn’t always stuck cleaning the washroom. I’ve made a Chores Printable docx to help with the process. It has a category for the chore and the week, all you have to do if write the person responsible for that chore each week and they can check it off once it’s done.
Designate one person to be in charge of the bills
Designating one person as being in charge of the finances ensures that bills are paid on time and also lessens the confusion as to what bills need to be paid. Make sure to be honest and pick the person who is better with money and more organized. If everyone is disorganized (It happens) pick the least disorganized person and use an app that helps monitor your bills and sends reminders such as mint.com
Keep track of how much is spent on Household supplies
a big no-no on the “living with roommates rules” is fighting over money. Get a jar and have everyone in the apartment put in equal amounts of money into it every month. In a household of 4, for example, each person can put $10 in every month for $40 a month. This money should be used for cleaning supplies, toilet paper, or anything for general household maintenance, this ensures that one person isn’t stuck paying for everything. Make sure to keep the receipts and a record of what the money is spent on.
Stop the Passive Aggressiveness
Finally number 5 on the “living with roommates rules” is learning to actively communicate. Living with roommates can sometimes come with frustration but passive aggressiveness won’t help. It might make you feel like you are getting your point across but in reality it just leads to anger and pent up frustration. It’s a lot better to work up the courage and actually talk about the issues that might occur in the household and things will actually be resolved a lot quicker.
What are some experiences you’ve had living with roommates? and what tips would you like to share?