Living with roommates is something almost everyone experiences at some point in their life, whether in college or in their early adult years. Many people have bad roommate experiences as well, because they don’t know exactly how to deal with the experience of living on their own, much less living with a friend or even a stranger. It can be hard to navigate all the small details that come along with roommate living, such as chores, bills, visitors, noise, communication, etc. We’ve researched some roommate lifehacks to make it easier for you as you try to adjust to living with roommates for the first time. That way, you can hopefully avoid some of the horror stories you may have heard from friends. Here are some basic roommate lifehacks to follow.
Communication is one of the most important roommate lifehacks because if you can’t communicate with your roommate, you’re going to find yourself with a lot of issues. Whenever something is wrong, you need to be able to talk to your roommate, even if you don’t consider your roommate a friend. Whether you talk to them in person or just through text, talk it out. Let your roommate know when something is bothering you early on; that way, tension won’t build in your household. You never want to feel like common spaces in your house or apartment cannot be shared. You never want to feel like you can’t come home, or you must be locked up in your room. That’s the worst way to live, so always communicate, or at least figure out how not to communicate.
Replace what you use.
Living with roommates requires you to share certain things. If you ever accidentally use something that is your roommate's, be sure to ask first and always replace whatever it is that you used. This is common courtesy. Don’t ever treat your roommate in a way that you wouldn’t want them to treat you. Would you want your roommate to eat your food without asking and not replace it? Of course not. That is disrespectful. So, respect your roommate, and in return, hopefully, they will do the same.
Split the price of shared items.
When you first move in with a roommate, you should both communicate with one another and decide on the things you are going to share. Are you going to split the price of shared items such as toilet paper, paper towels, dish detergent, etc.? If so, discuss these things and be open about it. This is a great roommate lifehack to learn from the beginning, so that it won’t be awkward later on.
Split the chores.
Another intangible thing that you and your roommate will have to split is chores. If you and your roommate don’t split chores, such as doing the dishes, cleaning, taking out the trash, etc., you will have tension build up because one of you is going to feel taken advantage of. You don’t want a roommate that makes you do all the work or makes you feel like you’re their parent. Also, you don’t want to take advantage of your roommate and make them do all the chores, or else they will end up resenting, and maybe even replacing, you. Split chores to keep the peace.
Respect space, privacy, and noise.
A great roommate lifehack to know is to respect the space and privacy of your roommate, as well as the noise levels during late and early hours. Again, this is just having common courtesy when living with roommates. You don’t want to treat your roommate in a way that you wouldn’t want your roommate to treat you. You wouldn’t want your roommate to wake you up with loud noises, so don’t do it in return. Be respectful always, and you should receive the same respect.
Don’t be passive aggressive.
Being passive aggressive when living with roommates is one of the worst communication tactics. Passive aggressiveness builds tension in the household and it will only make living together worse over time. Instead, learn to communicate in an upfront way so that problems get addressed from the beginning. Otherwise, they will grow to be much worse.
Clean up after yourself.
Being a clean freak may cause you some anxiety when figuring out how to choose a roommate. Cleaning up after yourself is hopefully something you learned as a child when living at home. This is a skill you can take with you when living with roommates, and it is a great roommate lifehack because your roommate will appreciate living with someone who can keep things clean from the start. While cleaning up later is great, being able to clean up after yourself immediately is a great skill.
Learn to compromise.
Learning to compromise is probably one of the most important roommate lifehacks you can learn. There will come a time when living with roommates where you must learn to compromise. It is simply unavoidable unless you want to be extremely frustrated and unhappy in your living situation. If you can learn to compromise with your roommate on certain things, then you two can live peacefully, because you two will disagree and differ on some things, and that’s okay. Compromising with your roommate may even make you a better person.
Warn each other about guests.
If you’re going to invite guests over when living with roommates, that’s completely acceptable. However, be sure to warn your roommate first. Be respectful of the fact that your apartment is equally their place as it is yours. So, it’s important to let them know when you’re going to have a guest. You don’t necessarily need to ask for their permission, but you should be polite and give them notice.
Follow the golden rule.
As you can see in all these roommate lifehacks, the common principle is the same. Follow the golden rule. Treat your roommate with the same courtesy and respect that you would want them to treat you with in return. If you follow the golden rule, you will have a much easier time in your living situation, and maybe, with enough luck, you and your roommate may even get to be friends! We wish you the best in your roommate journey. Remember that all of us have been there before, and it’s a scary, yet fun part of life.