New Roommate Etiquette
New Roommate Etiquette
Kiddos are off to college, new jobs, and new cities as autumn brings exciting changes. My new roommate etiquette guide can help transition from happy days under a family roof to a smaller one with friends.
Most roommates come to a new living arrangement with different backgrounds. Whether tidy or messy, night owls or early birds, labeled food or free for all, young adults in a new roommate situation have their own ways of doing things. But regardless of personal living style, new roommate etiquette is something that all roommates should share.
Do Your Homework
If you're like me, you don't like to move. I love to discover new places and explore and live in new cities, but I mean the actual sorting, packing up, and physically moving I can do without.
For this reason, it's important to know where you're moving to (the space, design attributes, natural lighting, noise, etc.) and the people with whom you'll live.
If you're ready to sign a lease with your best pal, but have never lived or even traveled with them before, try it out!
Be honest with your self and your potential roommates about what you'll need to live comfortably and successfully. Also, find out what roommates need to thrive.
Visualize Your Bliss, But Plan for Reality
Start by writing down what your perfect living situation looks and feels like. Then write down the attributes that a perfect living partner exhibits for the best fit.
If you're looking for a roommate from a community message board, be very specific in your communications. Arrange for a phone call, ask for a couple of personal references and if those check out, meet in a public setting for a face to face chat.
Don't make any decisions immediately. Plan to give any major roommate decisions at least a day to ponder. If you're asked to make an immediate decision, it's probably best to let that opportunity go. Finding the right roommate is too important a decision to rush into.
Also, consider sharing this article or one like it with your potential roommate to show that you're on the same page.
Write It Down So It Sticks
When entering into a new living situation with anyone it's best to jot down some house rules. Cover areas such as a cleaning schedule, general sleep hours, morning routine and work schedules so that all parties can respect each others needs.
Clean It Up
The Holy Grail of roommate etiquette is making the effort to clean up in the kitchen, bathroom, and other common areas. Learn from the pros and instead of leaving dishes in the sink, get in the habit of a quick rinse and dishwasher load after every meal. Spend five to 10 minutes in the morning or evening picking up common areas so that no one person is stuck with major cleaning.
If necessary, make a chore chart and post it on the refrigerator. Ensure fair division of labor when you rotate jobs every week. Incentivize great results with a jar of cash that gets billed when chores don't happen. Spend or distribute this kitty to those who consistently do their part.
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Respect Personal Space and Downtime
Introvert or extrovert, all humans need personal, quiet time. Respect roommates boundaries with reasonable guest policies, lights out and early mornings. Communicate needs for quiet time before signing a lease and respect roommates' preferences.
Don't Let It Fester
If roommate habits become a problem, bring it up! Respectfully, share personal wishes with "I" statements avoiding blame and raised voices. It's a gift to share living space and protecting those relationships should be a priority.
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