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How to Avoid Being a Bad Roommate

April 8, 2019

There are some people in this world who genuinely enjoy—even prefer—to have a roommate or two. Their reasons are many: companionship, liveliness, someone else at home at night or when away, a different point of view or energy in the home, new adventures in cooking or living, or financial reasons, of course. There are others who wholeheartedly prefer living solo, and for different reasons: solitude and quiet, assurance of a clean and tidy apartment, routine and order that isn’t compromised, or simply to avoid the possibility of clashing personalities or living styles.

Whatever a person’s preference, sometimes a roommate becomes a necessity. And when that happens, following a few simple rules for being a good roommate is invaluable—for everyone involved. If you find yourself living with a roommate, lead by example. Follow these guidelines to maintain a peaceful home, hopefully your roommate follows suit, and quite possibly you will have made a friend for life—or at least for the duration of your living arrangement.

Be respectful of sound levels

Unless you have soundproof walls within your apartment, remember that someone else lives with you, and they have their own routine and preferences. Maybe they’re studying or working or sleeping. Maybe they have different tastes in music and movies. Maybe they’ve had a challenging day and just need some peace and quiet. Maybe they don’t care how loud you are, or they like to hear everything you’re saying and listening to. But, unless they let you know that important fact, be respectful: maintain the peace by keeping reasonable sound levels.

Keep Common Spaces Clean

In many cultures, the feng shui of a home is equal to the quality of a life. If your home is cluttered, your life and mind will be chaotic as well, whereas an organized and peaceful space equals an organized and peaceful mind. So, do your roommate a favor and you’ll be doing yourself the same courtesy: maintain a clean and tidy home in general—especially in the common spaces—and enjoy a more peaceful life. Besides, nobody likes somebody else’s sock in the middle of the living room.  

Maintain Supplies

Running out of toilet paper at an inopportune time is never ideal. Ditto for paper towels, cleaning supplies, trash bags, and hand soap. So, do your part to keep common supplies stocked. When you see that something is running low, replace it. Better yet, buy extra on your next shopping trip, even before that necessity has the chance to get too low, especially in regards to toilet paper.

Pay Your Bills. On Time.

This one goes without saying. Want the lights shut off? Neither does your roommate. Not paying your bills on time definitively makes you a bad roommate. If you cannot afford your bills, it’s time to either find a better job or find a cheaper place. But, if you’re living within your means, then you’re able to pay your bills, and you should pay them on time. It’s a lot easier to do that than to lose your power plus have to pay a late fee.

Above All, Keep the Balance

Maintaining a peaceful home takes equal effort. Balance is the key. If there’s trash to take out, everyone should make the effort. Everyone should wash their own dishes, unless there’s some understanding, as in an I-make-dinner-you-clean-up-type of situation. All inhabitants should do their part to vacuum, dust, clean, and take turns replacing common household necessities.

If you find yourself taking on the bulk of the tasks, it’s probably time to have that conversation you’ve been avoiding. Maybe you need to post a chore schedule on the fridge, or maybe they just need to be made aware that they haven’t been doing their part. With equal parts effort and communication, the path is clear to a harmonious roommate relationship, a peaceful home, and a better life.

If, in the spirit of keeping your home clean, you are inspired to minimize and de-clutter, find out where you can do another good deed and donate the items you aren’t keeping. Don’t know what to keep or to donate? Read up on three ways to determine what to keep.

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