Moving out of home is one of the most exciting (and slightly terrifying) chapters of life, but if you’re going to move into a shared house with housemates it can be a little bit of a rocky journey as you find yourself adapting to spending so much time with friends – or even complete strangers!
I lived with a housemate for around a year and during that time I learnt some big lessons about how to make sure you avoid conflict and live in harmony with someone else.
Mutual respect for each other’s belongings
When you’re living with someone it can be easy to see something you need and to take it and use it. Stop! No matter how close you are, you need to remain respectful of each other’s boundaries. Before using something that doesn’t belong to you, take the time to check with the other person if it’s ok. Whether that be their Netflix account, some food in the fridge, or their shampoo when you realise you’ve run out of your own.
Communication is perhaps the most important part of house-sharing. If something is upsetting either of you, there needs to be the willingness to discuss these calmly and sensibly. Without talking things through you’ll find that resentment and bad feeling can build up, affecting the feeling of the house and eventually building up to an argument. Be honest, be kind and be respectful of each other.
Share the housework
One of the most common things that people fall out over with their housemates is who is doing their fair share of the housework. Be sure to clean up after yourself (nobody wants to walk in to the kitchen to find someone else’s dirty plates everywhere) and set up a rota for the other household jobs like hoovering and taking out the bins. Although you may not be in a relationship or even close friends, you need to make sure you work as a unit to keep the household happy.
Have fun together
Even if you don’t know your housemates very well, it’s inevitable that there is going to come a time when you’re in the house at the same time and have to spend time together, and – at the end of the day – you ARE living together! Make the time to get to know each other and have fun. Maybe have a film night at home, or go down the pub together. You could even take turns to suggest fun things to do together – who knows, the housemate who began as a stranger may well turn out to be one of your closest friends.