We’ve all been there. Someone in the house didn’t do the dishes and now no one is speaking to each other. Getting along with housemates can be a challenge at times but there are a few simple ways that you can avoid unnecessary squabbles in the household.
Respect your housemates’ boundaries
A door is usually closed for a reason. You may share the lounge, kitchen and even bathroom, but your housemates’ bedrooms should always be off limits unless they give you permission to enter. Same goes if they have a private bathroom.
Make sure you’re on the same page about guests
Coming home after a long day to find a stranger sitting on your sofa is less than ideal. Make sure you and housemates agree on a guest policy, whether it’s giving each other notice before inviting someone over or rather meeting your friends somewhere else.
Don’t touch what isn’t yours
This goes for food, shampoo, magazines, significant others, you name it. If it’s not yours or you’re unsure to whom it belongs, best to keep your hands to yourself. Nothing will set off an argument quite like eating someone else’s leftover pizza.
Have a very clear financial agreement
Whether you’re splitting everything cleanly down the middle, or you’re just renting a room, there must be a very clear understanding of who pays for what. Naturally, you pay for own food and toiletries but if someone is using more than their fair share of electricity or water, this can very quickly lead to strife.
Pets can complicate things
Think twice before introducing Fluffy into the dynamic. If you simply rent a room in a house that has animals, you don’t have as much of a say but in this case, don’t rent a room in a house if you have an issue with animals. Likewise, if you share with other people, your dog, cat or bird might not be a welcome addition if one of them is scared of dogs or allergic to cats.
If something is bothering you, speak up. Even if you think it’s petty (which it may very well be), leaving it festering will only lead to resentment and before you know it, everything your housemate does will annoy you. Just bear in mind that this is a two-way street.
But avoid TMI
Oversharing can be an equally big problem. No one wants to share a house with someone who feels the need to go into gross detail over their ingrown toenails or the latest tiff they’re having with someone at work. A bit of complaining and gossip is normal but don’t be that person that everyone avoids because they don’t want to hear you go on and on and on…
Establish a fair cleaning schedule
Someone is always going to feel like they’re the only one that ever refills the sugar bowl but when it comes to a cleaning schedule there must be no room for interpretation. Everyone must get their turn to do the dishes, cook dinner, clean the windows and scrub the toilet. No excuses.
Keep the noise down
Noise is probably the number one complaint from housemates (and even neighbours). People can get very worked up when their sleep or concentration is being disrupted by someone else’s inconsiderate behaviour. Keep your TV, music, late night conversations and guitar practice on the down low.
Accept when you’re just not compatible
All the consideration in the world won’t help if you and your housemate simply don’t like each other. It’s not always an option but if you have the luxury of finding another housemate, do it before there’s blood on the carpets.
Control your clutter
It’s perfectly acceptable to keep some of your things, such as your laptop, books or ornaments in the shared areas of the house but watch that your stuff doesn’t end up dominating and getting in the way. Keep most of your belongings in your room and, if there’s not enough space, consider off-site storage for the excess items.
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