Thursday, August 20, 2015

What I've learned from living with AWFUL roommates

Hi guys! I can't believe we are so close to the end of August. It's blowing my mind. I'm headed out to Memphis for Labor Day weekend to spend some time with my family and it cannot come fast enough! I don't get to see my extended family very often- we are all scattered from California to New York and everywhere in between. Unfortunately, we won't get to have everyone there but I will take time with anyone I can. Family is super important to me.

As I've shared previously, I'm currently living alone. For me, it was an easy choice that I'm thankful to be able to pull off financially. I've never lived on my own before my current situation. I went straight from my parent's house to dorm life, to sorority house living, and then apartment living- always with a roommate/several roommates. I've roomed with complete strangers and I've roomed with close friends. It's been good, bad, and messy (but never ugly because I've been blessed to live with people with awesome taste!). To be completely transparent with y'all, I'm a Type A person. I like lists, and organization, and cleanliness. I picture myself as flexible and forgiving with others but there are definitely things that get under my skin when it comes to shared spaces. With it being back to school time and also when many people are making career transitions, I wanted to share some lessons to help you avoid similar struggles that I've experienced with your roommates!
 Clean your dishes. I had a roommate right out of college who I met the day we signed our lease. We both relocated for our job (same company) but had never met. She is a sweet girl and very similar to me, but was not particularly clean. I enjoy cleaning and am able to deal with most messes without being bothered with a few exceptions- one being dishes. In my home growing up, we weren't allowed to leave the dishes in the sink unless the dishwasher was running. Even then- the plate needed to be rinsed and potentially soaped-up depending on the meal so the food didn't get caked on. I blame this for my lack of tolerance, but please don't make someone else clean up your dirty food dishes! Even I have times where I don't load my dishwasher right away, but if you share a kitchen do remember to come back and do it. You're not living with your mom anymore and unless you have a conversation to assign this task to a specific person, YOU are responsible for YOUR mess!

Chore share. Regardless of my schedule, I always make time to clean. It's important to me to have a clean space to live in! I'm also one of those people who will procrastinate by cleaning, so that distraction goes away if my place is already tidy. Because of my tastes and tendencies, this is something I do without thinking. Although I may wish- I am not super woman and cannot do everything I set out to accomplish, so I've found that my living situation it much easier if we divide chores between roommates. It's hard for one person to clean up for several people- that's a full time job! Plus, tasks are more easily accomplished when broken down into more manageable activities. A clean house is not unattainable with teamwork!

Respect personal space. Learn your roommate(s) or simply ask- how they feel about sharing items in your common spaces. Do they mind if you use their Keurig? Or favorite coffee mug from Europe? Their KitchenAid mixer? The candle in the living room? Will you be sharing shoes? Or clothes? Make sure you are both clear on these boundaries so that you won't accidentally cross one and cause problems later. Living together can be tough and silly problems don't help! 

Understand needs for alone time. Every person is comprised of a unique mix of introversion/extroversion. Therefore, we each have different needs when it comes to alone time. Depending on your job/class schedule/extracurricular, you might need time to decompress when you get home. Or, you might need to be welcomed by friendly faces when you walk through the door. Make sure you express these needs so you can be supported/be supportive of your roomies! This will help keep you on the same page and help to minimize animosity.

Be thoughtful with guests. When I was in college, I had a year in an apartment with 3 other girls. We each had our own rooms, were paired off for the bathrooms, and all shared a kitchen as well as a living room. At the time, we all had boyfriends and were having them over at different times depending on our schedules. I liked all of my roommates' significant others, but I think it was hard to be respectful in our small apartments. If someone was having a fight in the living room at 1 AM or having a pre-gaming party to go out, we all heard. Make sure you are mindful with friends or significant others. Yes, it is your home and your oasis- but the same goes for your roommates!

While these lessons won't prepare you for every single roommate situation you're bound to run into, they will help you steer clear from some of the sticky spots I've gotten stuck. I hope you find them useful!

What are your tips for roommate living? How do you make sure things go smoothly?

18 comments:

  1. I had some terrible roommates too. I actually ended up having to move out and get an apartment by myself. These are really great tips for people who are going to be living with a roommate for the first time.

    xx
    Lauren Elizabeth
    Petite in Pearls

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  2. The dishes is a big one for me, I hate when there have been dishes in the sink for over a day. It literally drives me crazy.

    xoxo Lex // LexMeetsWorld

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  3. I'm so scared to have an awful roommate for these reasons! I agree with Lex -- the dishes get to me.

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  4. One of my old roommates used to leave her dishes in the sink very often and it really grossed me out.
    I'd always end up doing them myself so that things didn't get all disgusting.

    xoxo, Jenny || Breakfast at Lillys

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  5. DISHES! YES! Such a problem living with sloppy people when you're neat. Great advice!

    Nicole // Chronicling Home

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  6. Thankfully, I've never had an awful roommate, but I don't think I could handle it!!! I absolutely hate when people leave their dishes in the sink!!

    xo Ashley

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  7. Thankfully, I had great room-mates and still we are in good touch even after 3 years of separation!!

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  8. Sorry to hear you had a bad roommate experience... unfortunately I've been there, too! :( Great insight, couldn't agree more, especially about chore sharing!

    xo,
    Stephanie
    Diary of a Debutante
    www.thediaryofadebutante.com

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  9. Yikes! that would be tough listening to your roommate and her significant other fighting! I have only had one dorm roommate so far in my life so wish me luck! Xo
    Chelsea // trendychelsea.com

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  10. Great tips! I'm a clean freak, and never had a roommate, other than my boyfriend. My friends have all had similar experiences to yours and they live alone now, lol, not fun.

    Tracy
    www.TracysNotebookofStyle.com

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  11. This is crazy because I was just talking about it yesterday! I've heard some CRAZY stories about roommates. Luckily, I've never had a bad roommate since I live at home. But I've stayed with friends in their dorms and it's been horrible just for that one day! Some roommates are CRAY

    Lauren
    The Fashionista's Diary

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  12. Haha! Thankfully I've never had to deal with this but I've heard horror stories!

    Xo,
    Michelle
    www.mash-elle.com

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  13. Living with people is so difficult! I totally agree with the dishes, it can be super foul when they pile up! I've had awful roommates too, and I'm happy I finally found a good one (I hope she stays forever, haha!)

    xo, Alicia | Alicia Tenise

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  14. These are all very solid tips. I've had some rough roommate situations, but I was lucky enough to always live with friends and we could usually work out problems by talking. Still, it can be hard to find the balance of being accomodating of others without being walked over!

    Julia | Pennies & Paper

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  15. I've never had to live with a room mate, thank God! But, my sister just left to FSU and she's in a dorm with a girl she doesn't know so I'm definitely sharing this info with her! She's already had problems. :( ahhhh

    xo // www.thematerialgirl.co

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  16. Luckily I haven't had terrible roommate situations but I am so sorry you had to deal with that! I think what you learned from it will help further your character!

    -Morgan
    How 2 Wear It [] http://how2wearit.com

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  17. Great post! You and I are the same. Very type A. :)
    xo Miranda
    www.citygirlsouthernstyle.com

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  18. Such good tips! I am in awe of you type A people and it blows my mind that you grew up almost never putting dishes in the sink! I struggle daily with the discipline it takes to get up and clean but I totally wish it came natural ha. I feel like once I have kids if I keep a clean house they will always want to be tidy so that's one of my main goals in life.

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