5 Tips for Living with a Roommate

We’ve all probably heard (or experienced) some horror stories about living with roommates. Moving in with a stranger when you’re used to living alone or with siblings is a huge change. But don’t fret. Living with a roommate can be fun and easy.

Here are five tips to help you adjust:

1. Reach out Early

Once you know who you’ll be sharing a living space with for the next lease term, contact your new roommate before your move-in date. If you’re in the same area, it wouldn’t hurt to meet up somewhere for lunch and have a chat face-to-face, but if not, a simple phone call or e-mail will do. Get to know each other a little bit. Some questions to consider include:

–       What is your roommate’s schedule? Does he or she have to wake up early in the mornings?

–       What shared items does your roommate already have?

–       How does your roommate feel about guests?

2. Set Boundaries

Once you’ve gotten to know your roommate(s) a little better, sit down with them and set up some rules and boundaries. How are you dividing up the bills? Chores? Groceries? Do you need to set quiet hours? If you have any particular pet peeves, now would be a good time to share. Communicate about any concerns early and you will eliminate future misunderstandings.

3. Clean up after Yourself

This is a biggie. Do not become the dreaded slob roommate. You’re living in a shared space, so you’re going to need to respect your roommates and keep your personal clutter to a minimum. If you make yourself dinner, wash your dishes and wipe down surfaces. If you’re doing your laundry, make sure you do it in a timely fashion, rather than letting it sit there for days when others may need to use the washing machine. It’s the little things that matter when you’re living with roommates. Keep it clean and keep the peace!

4. Communicate

Communication is key in a healthy roommate relationship. Make sure you’re both on the same page regarding upcoming bills and chores, and be clear about any items you do not wish to share. Even if you decide to split the groceries with your roommate, chances are you’re going to have a few things you’d rather keep to yourself. Invest in a handy label maker, if that makes things easier.

If your roommate is doing something you don’t like, be straightforward and tell them. Letting things slide when they get under your skin is only going to build animosity and an uncomfortable living environment. Being passive aggressive is not going to help things either. Having a polite conversation is the only way to come to a respectful agreement.

5. Stay Organized

The best way to keep on top of shared living expenses and chores is to stay organized. Create a chore chart and hang it on your refrigerator or in a convenient, highly frequented area. You can download apps now to keep track of who owes who, or simply create a spreadsheet. Keeping these items out in the open will remind everyone to do their part.

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