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!
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?