When the word “roommate” comes to mind, a positive association doesn’t always come with it. And it’s totally understandable why. Many of us have had at least one not-so-great experience with a roommate – I’ve for sure had my fair share of not-so-ideal roommates experiences as well. Luckily, I’m in a great situation now, but I’ve definitely learned a lot along the way.
Believe it or not, this topic actually comes up quite a bit and questions regarding advice/tips on “the roommate life” continue to slide into my DMs and inbox. But I mean, when I think about it, it makes sense that this is a popular question/topic because it’s so relevant. It’s sort of one of those #adulting things that people don’t really prepare you for; or at least, I wasn’t totally ready for it. And I feel like there are some unwritten rules that aren’t always explicitly stated too? It’s just different living with people that aren’t your family; there’s certainly a learning curve. And sometimes the sheer logistics of doing life *well* with other humans is hard; like figuring out how to confront conflict with grace, communicate hard things, or deal with personality differences.
So when O-Cedar® reached out to me about partnering with them to celebrate National Roommate Appreciation Day (which is today!), it felt like the perfect opportunity to tackle this blog post topic! Plus, I have frankly already been using one of their floor cleaning products for years. As a blogger, it’s always such a happy and rewarding moment when I get to work with brands I’m ALREADY excited about.
What I’ve Learned + Tips For How To Be a Good Roommate
Whether it’s a friend or a stranger, living with a new roommate is always a little risky – no matter how well you *think* you know them. You are literally sharing a home and your personal space with that person. And people are very different when you experience them occasionally and when you LIVE with them, you know? I mean, obviously. But sometimes we learn the hard way #amiright?!
If it’s a stranger, will you like this person, trust them, and vibe well? If it’s a friend, is living together going to change your dynamic and ruin your friendship?
I’ve learned a few things along the way to make for a more positive experience. And to switch things up, I’m currently not only a roommate but also a landlord – so that adds an entirely new dynamic that I’ve *tried* to navigate well. Although there’s still much room for improvement there as well! But even still, I’m a roommate first and have been living with other people that aren’t my family for the past 10 years. Needless to say, I’ve learned a little bit about living with people. Here are some of my tips on how to be a good roommate:
Honestly, a heck of a lot of issues in life could be avoided if people were just more straightforward with themselves AND others about what they expect. Think about it. Almost all frustrations in life arise from sort of misalignment between expectations and reality. Sometimes we don’t even know what we expect until we get frustrated about it. When living with other people, it’s super important to get all this out in the open, have the conversation, and try not to assume that your idea of “common manners” is the same as someone else’s, you know? If you have a particular pet peeve – like dishes in the sink – then let your roomies know, so that they can be respectful of that. I know that I for one don’t really care if there are dishes in the sink because I know that whoever left them there will clean them up within 24 hours. But I’ve also lived with roommates that literally cannot stand dishes in the sink no matter what.
You can make it as casual or formal as you want, but create the space or time to have a conversation about expectations. And talk about who will clean what and when, each of your pet peeves, rent deadlines, laundry schedules, things that matter to you, and so on. Have a roomie pizza night, grab some wine, a pen and paper, and hash it out. It can be fun and will be a great bonding experience that will make your overall experience better anyway. And honestly, it wouldn’t hurt to have this conversation every so often too in order to touch base – you definitely don’t want things to build up!
If you’d like to go the more formal route, O-Cedar® actually created a “Roommate Agreement” that you can download and print-out to guide the conversation! It’s actually really cute (really though). My roomies and I filled it out last week together and I personally think it’s a great tool or even just a starting point if you want to make a “roomie agreement” yourself!
Keep common areas clean
This goes without saying, but none of us enjoy living in messy or dirty spaces (at least nobody I know does!). It’s so much different when you live alone – if you don’t feel like doing the dishes after dinner one night, you’re not really impacting anyone else’s day. But coming home late to a dirty kitchen – and a mess someone else made – isn’t exactly ideal. When you live with others, it’s important to keep the common areas clean. That includes keeping any clutter off the couch and dining room table, too!=
Respect each other’s space
I’ve had roommates that don’t quite understand the concept of personal space. Both physically – like barging into my room – and emotionally – like wanting to have wine nights every night or talking 24/7 in common areas, if you know what I mean. Yes, living with roommates has its perks – like having someone to hang with, someone to help with the bills, or someone to laugh with (like my current roomies, yay!). But there are those days – and we all have them, where you just want some alone time – those days you don’t really feel like talking or hanging out with anybody. And that’s totally fine! It’s healthy and important to have alone time, so try to respect each other’s personal space, and don’t expect your roommate to want to hang out with you every night just because you live together.
Split Costs For Common Household Expenses
I mentioned this a bit when talking about setting expectations, but I think it’s worth mentioning again as a “tip” of its own. Regardless of the living situation you’ve got, there will always be a few common household items and cleaning supplies* that will benefit everyone living in the apartment/home; and it makes sense to discuss how costs will be divided among everyone. There are a number of different ways to split these up, the key is just making sure you have the conversation and setting some sort of system up. We buy all our supplies in bulk so that we can deal with these costs on more of a “macro” level – rather than having to text the roomie group thread every other week about garbage bags. Instead, we just keep track of who bought paper towels last time and have someone else purchase it the next.
Since I own the house, I felt like it made more sense that I purchase the vacuum, mop, broom, dustpan, and things like that. For quick cleanups like spills, muddy footprints, etc., we use the O-Cedar® ProMist® MAX Spray Mop. Do you have one of these? It has a dual-sided mop head that makes cleaning so quick, and I love that I can just throw the pad in the washing machine and use it again. Did I mention I can use my own cleaning solution with it too? I love it and we use it all the time, really.
Learn to compromise
I first learned how important it is to compromise after living with a roommate that had a completely different style than mine. I wanted to decorate our house one way, and she wanted to give it a completely different look. Obviously, we needed to come to terms with the fact that we both couldn’t have each room look exactly as we’d envisioned it. That’s where compromise came in – I realized that in order to be a good roommate, I couldn’t expect to have things my way or the highway. We split up the decorating and had a cool mix of different decor in each of the common spaces, which actually turned out to look pretty great.
As with all relationships, communication is key to a healthy one. I had one roommate who really only had females in her family and was so used to borrowing their clothes that she didn’t even think twice to ask before she borrowed mine. I remember feeling so frustrated when I saw her in one of my tops – I honestly wouldn’t have cared if she’d asked me to borrow it, but it was the fact that she didn’t even ask that bothered me. Since we all come from different backgrounds, it’s SO important to communicate with each other. You’ll avoid a ton of unnecessary awkwardness if you do, trust me!
Any tips on living with roommates from y’all? Any entertaining horror stories lulz?! But for real, I hope these help – and should!
In addition to the Roommate Agreement I mentioned above, O-Cedar® is also celebrating National Roommate Appreciation Day today and all month long month by running a fun Sweepstakes! You can enter to win the $5,000 Ultimate Roommate Appreciation Sweepstakes (HELLO THAT’S A LOT OF $$) that includes $2,000 to help cover expenses like rent or housing expenses, a $1,500 Amazon gift card, $500 gift cards for meal delivery, laundry/dry cleaning and video streaming services, and an O-Cedar® product bundle to help keep your home sparkling clean all year long. Just for entering the Sweepstakes, O-Cedar® will give you a $5 coupon for their ProMist® MAX Spray Mop – a perfect tool for roommates! You can enter the Sweepstakes all month long and download the Roommate Agreement at www.promistmax.com/roommate.
*Common household items and cleaning supplies – to get you thinking, here are a few items that we have on our “common” costs list: paper towels for the kitchen, dish soap, dish detergent, hand soap for kitchen, hand soap for guest bathroom, toilet paper for guest bathroom, floor cleaning supplies, all-purpose surface cleaner, trash bags, and then we split some common kitchen items as well (like olive oil, salt & pepper, spices, ziplock bags, Saran Wrap, and other basic cooking supplies).
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