Whether you’re entering your first year of college or moving to a new city, living with roommates isn’t always the easiest thing to do. Old habits die hard, and living in a shared space can sometimes challenge the lifestyle that you’ve grown so accustomed to.
If you find that you and your roommates are constantly fighting over who ate the last slice of leftover pizza, or the acceptable noise level when having friends over, take a look at these 5 helpful tips to lessen the daily struggles of making decisions, compromising, and more.
1. Track Expenses using Apps
Whether it be ordering takeout, calling a taxi, or paying this month’s utilities, living with roommates doesn’t make managing finances the easiest. Using apps like Venmo and Splitwise will help you keep track of your finances easily so that you aren’t arguing later on about who still needs to chip in for the Domino’s you ordered last week. You can also use online banking applications like e-transfer or apple pay. Additionally, if you are planning on traveling around the city, apps like uber have a split-the-bill option that makes tracking finances easier.
2. Create a Chore Chart
Maintaining the shared living space should be a household responsibility, but it is too often forgotten or split unevenly, with one roommate complaining about always having to do the dishes. Creating a chore chart to visually keep track of all the different chores will drastically decrease the disagreements over who needs to take out the trash this week and who was supposed to vacuum the floor, and fairly assign tasks so that no one is stuck doing all the grunt work.
3. Exchange Emergency Information
Even if you aren’t the closest with your roommates, it is always a good idea to exchange emergency contact information. It is always good to set up a medical ID or Health Record on your phone to let others know your medical information. You never know when there might be an emergency. As well, let them know that you are there to help if they are ever in an urgent situation. It’s good to establish a mutually amicable and helpful relationship so that you know you have someone to rely on if you are ever in need.
This is especially important if you are living away from home. Although having your parents as your emergency contact is important so that they know what is going on, they won’t be able to respond on-site as fast as your roommates who live in the same city.
4. Let Them Know if you’re Having Guests Over
When living with roommates, be considerate and give them a heads up by shooting them a text if you’re planning on having friends over. This way, they won’t be overwhelmed when they find a group of strangers sitting inside their home when they come back from work, saving a lot of awkward conversations later on. It’s important that your roommate feels comfortable and that you respect each other’s personal space.
Also, consider creating a space for entertaining your friends for a more relaxing atmosphere. An entertainment shared-space such as a home theater is something that is fun for everyone. It can act as a designated space where guests and friends can sit back and relax. That way, if you or your roommate do not feel like interacting with anyone after a long day, either of you won’t have to expect to come home to a bunch of guests sprawled out on your bedsheets or favorite recliner.
5. Act like your Parents are Visiting
Last but not least, it is all too easy to get too comfortable in your own space and forget to maintain a neat and inviting atmosphere. At least once a week, treat your home like your parents are coming over and keep not only the living room and kitchen clean but your bedroom as well. Maintaining a tidy and appealing environment is essential to ensuring cooperation between you and your roommates. No one likes a slob.
The key to getting along really lies within mutual compromise and consideration. Adopting these 5 tips into your lifestyle can really improve the dynamic between those you’re living with, no matter if they’re close friends or near-strangers. These 5 tips will make living with roommates more like living with friends, rather than enemies.
>> Comment below your first experience living with roommates and what you wish you knew beforehand. If you’re interested to learn how couples with clashing styles can share a space, read our next article.