I always joke that my friends back home are thinking, “Poor Shaina. 30 years old and still living with a roommate.”
I get it. It sounds pretty dreadful. But the reality is, when you live in a big city, working toward your dreams (or not for that matter), living with roommates at this age is the 21st century norm!
It is what it is.
And let me tell you, I’ve been through it all! Bad roommates, great roommates, guys, girls and everything in between.
But, I’ve finally found the ONE! No not that ONE.
My roommate and I call each other soul sisters. And we met on Craig’s List! Yup, who knew!
With that being said, I wanted to share the DO’s, the DON’Ts (the rules shall I say) of living with a roommate- the ultimate roommate etiquette guide according to Shaina.
To WATCH, “Living with Roommates | Tips,” click the image below!
with gratitude and much love,
Hey guys, welcome back. If you’re new here, I’m Shaina. I am continuing the back to school series with a video on living with roommates. JOY! But of course, you don’t need to be in school to reap the benefits of this video because let’s be honest, if you live in a big city, you could be 36, living with roommates. That’s the 21st century norm after all.
I have a lot of experience with roommates. Obviously in college, I lived in the same one room as other people. In my sorority house, I lived with 50 girls. And since college, I’ve lived with guys, girls…two roommates, one roommate, bad roommates, good roommates…the whole ordeal.
Currently, I have one roommate, Lindsay- but I call her a lifer and we call each other soul sisters. It was a breathe of fresh air for both of us when we found each other…because we just balance each other out so well and we’ve really become great friends.
I just want to start by saying this guys: in the world of sharing living spaces, there’s nothing worst than approaching your door and praying that your roommate isn’t there. Your space should feel like your sanctuary. So if after a long day, you don’t even look forward to going to your own place, you definitely want to try and make adjustments within your current living situation or actively search for something different.
With that being said, let’s get started.
I tried to break everything up into categories, making this easier to absorb.
When you’re searching for and choosing a roommate:
The first point is kinda obvious, but you want to try and find a good match. I know this can be easier said than done sometimes when we’re desperate to find a place or it’s such a good deal, but remember you’re going to be living with this person.
Of course you want to meet with them face to face, and pay attention to their personality. If you’re more reserved, a very outgoing, in your face type of person may not be ideal for you or may be exactly what you need. If you’re very independent, but they’re very dependent on being with the person they live with all the time, that might not be a good match.
Also, find out what their schedule is like. Everyone enjoys the place to themselves sometimes, if you both have mornings off and work in the afternoons, you may not have as much space as you want.
Figure out if they’re clean or messy, what they’re social life looks like, and so forth in comparison to yours. You want to find that overall good balance.
Make sure (ahead of time) that everything is divided evenly & fairly. For example, if you have the master bedroom and bath, it’s the norm to pay a little bit more than your roommate. Just make sure everyone is comfortable with what they’re paying based on what they’re getting in advance.
If they have a significant other, talk about it and place boundaries. Talk about how often their girlfriend/ boyfriend would be over. And if it’s excessive (assuming you’re OK with that), decide how they would contribute to the bills, etc. There should be no dispersing of extra keys without talking to one another. And as a common sense rule, if you’re not home, your significant other should not be either. At that point, they should just be living with one another.
If a roommate confronts you about something that bothers them, especially if it’s an easy fix, then try to respect their wishes and change your behavior to keep a level of peace.
One of the things I’ve learned is “everybody has their things.” Right? Something you could care less about, is irritating to them. Know that it’s nothing about YOU, it’s nothing personal, it’s there own neurosis and just be like “yea no big deal, glad you brought it up.” And on the flip side, if something is bothering you, it’s better to bring it up (even if you hate confrontation) rather than letting it build up.
I’ve never had an issue where a roommate was too loud. But I know it can happen. If someone has to be up at 7am for work, don’t bring the party home that night. Maintain a level of calm and quiet…unless you’re both on the same wave length on a Friday night.
I’m kinda guilty of this. I love using garlic when I cook. Lindsay’s pretty cool about it, she’ll just say, make sure my bedroom door is closed. Make sure you ventilate- use the fan above the stove and / or open a window.
Pick up after yourself. Nobody wants to play MOM. When you cook, clean up the kitchen. Put dishes away. If you’re lounging in the living room. Fold blankets when you’re done and take what’s yours back into your room.
Big cleanouts/ deep cleans. You can take turns in doing this. Or you can set aside a day/ time to do it together. Or a third option, if it’s in you and your roommate’s budgets, you can hire a housekeeper to come bi-weekly or every month and split the cost.
Communal products. Cleaning products, paper towels, dish soap, toilet paper if you share a bathroom (luckily I’ve never had too), etc. To restock these items, you can: Rotate or one person can be in control of it and just charge the other person or persons.
Food. I prefer that everyone fend for themselves. I can’t see how sharing food on the norm would work.
Obviously, if you want to use my ketchup for your
French fries go for it, but don’t eat my last piece of bread- because I’ll kill ya. Economically speaking, it does make more sense to cook shared meals- so you can talk about cooking for another once a week or something.
I take care of ALL the bills and Lindsay just pays me her portion via Venmo (p.s. if you don’t have that app, it’s a game changer in the roommate world). I like to be completely in control of finances. So you can choose one person to take charge of that OR you can divvy up the bills between all roommates so each person handles one or two. I just found it to be confusing. I did that when I lived with two people. (MOCK) Too much math involved.
Post bills on time. You don’t want to be like “Oh, I forgot to post the last two months, so you owe me $400 for cable all three months.” Be on top of it.
Pay on time. Pay the actual bill on time of course, but also pay your roommate in a timely manner. Personally, I don’t care if she doesn’t pay me the day of or even a week later, because I know she’s good for it and I’m also not desperate for it. But you want to be considerate of your roommate and their finances and you don’t want them stressing because you owe them all of this money.
And the last point I want to make is to PAY IT FORWARD sometimes. You want to try to create a homey, loving environment. Because whether you’re living with someone you didn’t know beforehand or with a good friend, the more family dynamic you can create the better!
So if your roommate is sick, say “I’m going to the grocery store, can I get you anything?” or if you know they had a terrible day, maybe clean up the apartment that day. One kind gesture can go a long way.
That’s it for today guys. I hope this video helps you. If so, LIKE it down below, SUBSCRIBE for a new video every Wednesday- it’s free. And I’ll see you back here next week. Bye!
Hi there! I'm Shaina Leis- founder of this inspirational space :) I'm a Certified Life Coach with a passion for helping young adults better themselves and their lives. In this blog, you'll find general advice, career guidance and so much more. Have fun!