Living with others may seem simple. Heck, you’ve probably been living with your family your whole life. But the transition from living with your relatives who you’ve known forever, to living with people your age who you hardly know can be more complicated than it seems. Read on for some handy tips.
Don’t be gross
This gem of advice is pretty simple. Don’t be gross. Although it can sometimes be difficult to achieve when you factor in laziness, classes, and hangovers. However it’ll be worth your while to refrain from being gross and keep the peace with your roommates. There are surprisingly few steps to not being gross. Clean up your own mess. Keep your bodily functions to yourself. And, if you’re going to be gross, try to limit your grossness to your own room, and your own possessions. Speaking from experience, possibly the most horrible roommate experience you can have, is realising that your roommate has used your toothbrush. More than once. Every day. And the only reason you noticed is because they left it lying in the sink. We will call this toothbrush user roommate X. You don’t want to be roommate X. No one will want to live with you if you become roommate X.
There is nothing more terrifying than discovering mould – a furry green substance that proves that it has definitely been too long since you last cleaned. A blossoming of mould can prompt certain terrifying phrases to fall from your mouth, such as ‘I am pretty sure that used to be food’ and ‘I didn’t know carpet could grow things!’ Imagine how magnified your terror would be if the mess you found wasn’t even your mould! Imagine how much more gross it would be if you couldn’t possibly determine the origins of the fungi because you weren’t the one who left the original non-mouldy substance lying around. Spare a thought for your roommate, and consider how you’d feel if you had to scrape a lumpy, fuzzy mess from a mug just so you could have a drink. An easy solution is to put your food in the fridge, wash your dishes, and occasionally clean out your bag to ward off any nasty surprises.
Don’t put it off
The weekend is a magical time, full of sleeping and relaxation and endless hours to spend however you please. That is unless you are one of the many people who will ‘get to it on the weekend’. Your hours of weekend goodness severely dwindle when you wake up on Saturday to a pile of dirty dishes higher than Mt Everest, crusted with week-old Weet-Bix paste, and every item of clothing you own has been thrown onto your bottomless washing pile. Pajama days are not as much fun when they’re your only option. I cannot stress the difficulty of trying to clean a bowl that has three day old yoghurt stuck to it in a pasty, gluey, mouldy mess. We have all been exposed to at least one horror story of forgotten cleaning in our time, and the universe does not need another cautionary tale about strange laundry smells.
Do unto others
A good rule of thumb to surviving the roommate experience is ‘do unto others as you would have unto you’. Also the karmic rules of ‘what goes around comes around’ might help you to navigate your roommate relationship. It’s actually quite easy to follow this piece of advice. If you don’t think it would be much fun to be on the receiving end, then don’t do it. There are, however, certain acts that will fire up a roommate like nothing else, and these should be avoided at all costs; using all the hot water, leaving wet towels on the bathroom floor, drinking the last of the milk and putting the empty carton back in the fridge, having a party the night before your roommate’s exam. If you steer clear of these, then your roomie experience should be (mostly) smooth sailing.
Veteran roommate students – lend us your tips. Share your best roommate etiquette tips via @CSUCharlie