How to deal with your messy roommate

Whether it is in a dorm, apartment or house, living with a roommate can be a sticky situation. Everyone has their own idea and definition of what words like clean, neat, tidy, messy and dirty mean. So what is the line between tidy and messy, and how do you deal with the situation when someone crosses that line?

#1 Set out clear expectations from the beginning- Don’t wait until a problem starts to talk about this situation. When you first move in with someone, make sure they know how you like to keep your place. Setting some sort of guideline ahead of time shows that it is important to you, and they can’t claim they didn’t know you liked your home clean if they become a messy mate later on.

#2 Talk to them- This is the first step when your roommate gets super messy. If you put it off and don’t tell them how you feel, how can you expect them to change? Your anger and frustration will continue to build and you may just blow up at them over something small and they will have no idea what caused it. Sometimes one simple conversation can fix everything.

#3 Share the responsibility- Okay, we know that you aren’t the one to blame for the messy room, but your roommate doesn’t have to know that. Telling your roommate what he or she is doing wrong may make them feel attacked and cause an argument. Instead, make it like you both have some work to do. Most of the time, the messy roommate doesn’t realize they are being messy in the first place and will agree to do some work. Come up with a list of chores for each of you to do every Sunday so it’s a bonding activity.

#4 Helpful Hints- If this isn’t done the right way it can come off a bit passive aggressive. For some it’s hard to gain up the courage to talk to someone about an issue so it’s easier to just work around it. Cleaning the room in front of your roommate may make them feel bad for leaving the mess in the first place and they could even join in. Helpful other little hints like leaving toilet bowl cleaner in the toilet or cleaning supplies on their desk on “accident” may help them get the picture too!

#5 Flaunt your cleanliness- Just because they’re messy doesn’t mean you have to be messy or act like their mom. Keep your parts of the room clean and if they have something dirty on your property, pile it on their side. They may get jealous of how great your side looks and want to match that. Once other people come over and note the difference, they will be too embarrassed not to clean up.

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