The prospect of sharing personal space can be overwhelming. Regardless if you’re living on or off campus, sharing space with one or more person is not easy.
Two or more people means more clothes, more books, more furniture, more trash and a lot more noise. These factors can be overwhelming and ultimately you have less space than you’d prefer but instead of focusing on all of the negatives, focus on how to overcome them. Establishing and maintaining roommates rules is the key to creating a happy and positive living environment.
Helpful Tips For Sharing Space:
#1: Have Realistic Expectations…
Everyone has their quirks. Expecting someone to change their habits (annoying or not) is like expecting someone to stop acting like themselves- It’s not realistic or fair. TIP: Throw out the picture perfect “best friend” idea of what your roommate should be like and understand that they’re probably going to get just as annoyed with you about your habits that you will with theirs. And yes, you have them whether you want to admit it or not. So it is best to keep an open mind.
#2: Communicate Expectations…
You don’t want to have to pick up after someone and I’m sure if they don’t do well at picking up their own stuff they certainly won’t be good at picking up yours. Making a point of communicating who is responsible for what and how often each roommate has to do each chore is a good way to prevent a sink full of dirty dishes or an over flowing trash pile. TIP: If dirty dishes becomes a habit that either of you can’t kick, try getting different colored dishes. Go to Walmart, Target or Ikea and get your own set of dishes. This will allow you to keep track of your own and then each roommate will be responsible for what they use.
#3: Keep Your Items Separate…
Clothes, hygiene products, and food usually fall into this category. Unless you establish a split policy on food, a general rule of thumb is what’s yours is yours and what’s theirs is theirs. TIP: Write your name on your stuff. That way you can keep track of your items and your favorite shirt doesn’t end up in someone else’s closet “accidentally.”
#4: Respect Your Roommates Privacy & Stuff…
This may seem simple or more of a common sense rule, but more often than not people forget to communicate that they’re bringing a few friends up to the dorm or to your apartment and the next thing you know your roommate is pissed that you’ve had people over all weekend for the last few weekends in a row. TIP: Being mindful of their space is key to avoiding conflict. Everyone has their on and off days. Understanding that they won’t always be up for having someone over or you borrowing their printer because your ink ran out “again” is essential.
#5: Address Something When It Occurs…
Not 2 months later after you’ve stewed about it like a four year old kid. Allowing yourself to stew on something that upsets you will only create long term conflict and you’ll end up becoming resentful towards that person. Hoping someone will quit leaving their crap all over the counter or placing their shoes by the door instead of in their own closet is just prolonging confrontation. TIP: Chatting to your roommate off the bat about something that upsets you will prevent any tension from occurring and it’ll set the stage for maintaining an open line of communication.
As a Dorm Room Movers author, feel free to leave additional roommate tips. You can also check out Roomsurf, an online resource for college students to locate other college student roommates.