Three young adults who are roommates, smiling and moving into their living room.

How To Live With Roommates

Tips for Living With Roommates as a Working Adult

Starting a new job, relocating for work, or even moving abroad are monumental steps in an adult's life. Often, these significant changes come with the challenge of finding a place to call home, and for many adults, the solution is to live with roommates. In the United States, among adults aged 25-34, more than 8% of men and nearly 4% of women lived with a roommate unrelated to them. Sharing a living space provides an opportunity to save money, but it also offers the unique experiences of communal living, creating memories, forming bonds, and developing life skills.

When done right, living with a roommate can be an enriching experience. However, just like any relationship, it comes with its challenges and nuances that must be navigated. When living with a roommate, it's essential to consider some of these factors and plan accordingly.

Set Ground Rules

If you re going to be living together, things will be much easier if clear expectations are set from the start. Managing a household is a big job made up of smaller responsibilities. Any living situation can become contentious when one of the roommates feels they are unfairly bearing the responsibility of those household duties.

As such, it's important to set ground rules and expectations for how these duties will be handled. While it may not be feasible to account for every eventuality before moving in together, starting with agreed-upon expectations offers a firmer foundation than trying to figure it out as you go along.

Plan Your Move

Especially if multiple people are moving into the home at the same time, the logistics can become complicated quickly. Employing the use of professional help can make the process much simpler and more straightforward.

Even a small move can become complicated without proper preparations. Discuss who will be responsible for shipping items. If necessary, try to split the responsibilities between items like:

  • Large items: It may be necessary to designate more than one person to take charge of difficult-to-move items such as furniture and appliances.
  • Electronics: Delicate and expensive electronics, like televisions and sound systems, can be awkward and unwieldy to move, so they require some thought into how they can be shipped.
  • Fragile items: This includes items like personal collectibles and antiques, which may require additional considerations when packing them up for a move.

This can help keep things or7ganized and avoid conflict and miscommunication in the future.

Respect Each Other's Privacy

While living with roommates offers countless opportunities for bonding and shared experiences, it's equally crucial that roommates understand and respect each other's need for privacy. In order to foster an environment of trust and security within your home, it's essential to establish boundaries and set clear expectations regarding private spaces like bedrooms and bathrooms.

Create a Shared Space

While personal spaces can offer a retreat for relaxation, shared spaces form the heart and soul of a home. These areas, such as living rooms, kitchens, or even a balcony, act as neutral zones that encourage socialization, allowing roommates to interact and bond.

In a shared living space, each resident brings their own set of experiences, preferences, and ideas to the table. Ensuring every voice is heard is vital in creating an inclusive environment. Make sure to make efforts to include all roommates in activities and decisions in order to create an environment where everyone can get along together.

Discuss Finances

Money can be another potential source of conflict between roommates. It's essential to have an open discussion regarding finances. These aren't always the most fun conversations to have, but they are critical to a working roommate relationship.

Discuss budgeting money and how your income will contribute to shared expenses like bills and rent. Additionally, make plans for expenses like groceries, toiletries, and other potentially shared resources. It might be a good idea to take turns buying these items so no one party always feels obligated to take care of the responsibility.

The logistics of bill payment are also an important consideration. It can help avoid confusion and misunderstandings in deciding which utilities are in which roommates' names, as well as methods for making payments. This goes for rent, too. Discuss whether each roommate will write a separate check for rent or if one roommate will be responsible for paying while the others reimburse them.

Establish Cleaning Rules

Keeping your home clean is a primary ongoing source of potential conflict. Little messes can build into big ones; if one roommate does more tidying than the other, it quickly becomes apparent. Agreeing on some house rules regarding cleaning can make a big difference in ensuring no one feels unfairly overburdened.

  • Set aside time to clean: Establishing a regular schedule to clean can help prevent clutter from building up. This can augment actions like washing dishes immediately following meals.
  • Designate areas for belongings: Each roommate should have designated areas to keep their belongings. Whether in their room or a specific spot in a shared space, this can keep things tidy while preventing disputes about the ownership of belongings.
  • Disposing of garbage: Share the duties of taking trash out and changing trash bags. If everyone is clear on whose turn it is, it can help avoid disagreements between roommates.
  • Try to find a system that helps keep your living space tidy and free of clutter that all roommates can agree on. If everyone is on the same page, it should reduce conflict and help by sharing theresponsibility of cleaning up.

    Keep an Open Mind

    Moving in with roommates may seem daunting, and it can undoubtedly be a challenge. However, being flexible and approaching this living situation with an open mind can help create a more comfortable environment and a sustainable living relationship.

    Regularly check in with each other to ensure everyone feels content and heard. Monthly meetings provide an open platform for roommates to express concerns, share ideas, and make suggestions. Open communication can help resolve conflict, avoid resentment, and lead to a more pleasant time living together.

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