Whether you’ve gotten closer to a friend throughout the years and decided to take the friendship up a notch, or are moving to a new country and can’t afford to live alone; at one point of time or another, many of us will be faced with the dilemma— do we want to live with a roommate?
Sure, there are multiple benefits about having a roommate– you will be able to share the cost of your living space, you will also have constant companionship so you never get too lonely, and in the event where you are gone for extended periods of time, your roommate would be able to help with mundane chores like watering the plants or picking up your mail.
However, like a game of Russian Roulette, finding the perfect roommate may be tricky. Even if you choose to move in with your best friend, this is not a sleepover; and overtime, you may realise that both your lifestyles clash head on. On the flip side, what starts of as living with a complete stranger out of convenience may blossom into a lovely friendship.
Either way, here are some helpful tips to keep the “mate” in “roommate“:
Pick a location that works for everyone
If you’ve decided to move in with friends, have a quick chat about what suburb works best for your various lifestyles. It is vital to consider the characteristics that are essential to each individual.
For example, the safety of the suburb might be of utmost importance to someone who often works late, whereas the affordability of the area might take precedence for a student living on a budget.
Sites like Liveable may come in useful at this stage, as it takes these factors into consideration and efficiently churns out a list of potential suburbs that would be able to satisfy your overarching criteria.
Establish Ground Rules
To ensure that miscommunication is kept to the minimum, lay out some ground rules within the first few days of moving in with each other. Are basic condiments and cleaning supplies going to be shared between roommates? Is smoking inside the apartment tolerated? Should the noise level be kept to a minimum after a certain time? Questions such as these help to ensure that everyone is on the same page from the get-go.
A cleaning schedule should also be agreed upon—perhaps one roommate absolutely detests vacuuming while another would rather that over dusting. Divide the chores up and determine how often they should be done. To enforce this schedule, perhaps note it down on a calendar and pin it on the fridge as a constant reminder, and to keep each other accountable.
Discuss how utilities should be split
Splitting up household expenses can be tricky, hence, it is essential to discuss how utilities, such as electricity, water and the internet bills should be split. An easy way to do this is to split the bills equally amongst roommates, but if not, think up a solution that everyone is satisfied with.
A shared money pot may also come in handy when it comes to buying shared household staples.
Respect Shared Spaces
‘Messy’ could be your middle name, but when it comes to living with roommates, it is important to remember that everyone has a different threshold when it comes to messiness. Limit your mess to your own bedroom, and ensure to always clean up after yourself in communal areas, such as the living room or the kitchen.
Actions as simple as refilling the toilet roll if you use the last of it will also definitely be appreciated by your roommates.
Be Mindful about each other
Mutual respect and consideration for each other is the cornerstone of every good roommate relationship. Don’t borrow their belongings before asking, if they have an early start to the day, don’t go blasting punk rock at 3am in the morning, and always extend basic courtesies to each other.
It may also be useful to find out how comfortable they are with people staying over. They may be cool with an odd couch-surfer every now and then, but if your significant other is staying over six times a week, it may be another story.
Communication is Key
When living in such close proximity with others, problems will definitely crop up at one point of time or another. If you have an issue with your roommate, TALK IT OUT.
Yes, this may seem daunting and the idea of leaving passive-aggressive notes for your roommate to find may sound tempting, but trust me, this won’t solve anything. Although confrontation is never comfortable, nipping a problem in the bud would stop resentment from breeding.
Also published on Medium.