More than ever, Americans are choosing to save money and live with roommates. There has been a noticeable increase in community living situations in the last decade. Roughly 32% of Americans live in a roommate scenario.
Since entering adulthood I’ve lived in eight different houses with roommates so far. I lived with everyone from close friends, to new acquaintances, to siblings and other family members. In these various settings, I believe I’ve already pretty much seen it all. The following might be things you are currently doing subconsciously. For the sake of your living situation it’s important to avoid these annoying lifestyle habits.
10. Leaving your laundry unfinished
I’ve lived in homes that don’t have a washer and dryer, so I have a huge appreciation for this commonly overlooked convenience. Spending unwanted hours in dingy, crowded laundromats is no fun at all. It seems like a common courtesy but it’s easy to put off your laundry when you’re in the middle of a busy day. Follow through with it and complete your laundry in a respectful timeframe. Treasure the fact you have a working washer and dryer and finish what you’ve started.
9. Poor communication leads to frustration
The barriers of ineffective communication are sometimes hard to break down. Everyone needs to be on the same page, and there has to be a clear cut way to easily get into contact. We live in a world where everyone has cell phones, so utilize that and actually respond to those you live with. Group texts are great because they keep everyone informed and centralize important conversations. In the tech friendly world we live in, no one has to be left in the dark. But more than anything, make sure what you are communicating is purposeful; stop talking and start communicating!
8. Not paying your bills on time sucks
Bills are very commonly split among roommates, which in essence makes the process more convenient for everyone. However, the last thing you want if for your roomies to have to pry the money you owe them out of your hands. Keep in mind that if the electric bill is in your roommate’s name and you pay them your portion late, they’ll more than likely have to front the money for you. As in my past experiences, this puts you in a bad spot.
7. Messy public areas
I’ll admit it, my bedroom isn’t always the cleanest place and neither is my car sometimes. One thing’s for sure though, the public areas around my house are. Places like the kitchen, bathroom, and even porches and closets can spiral into unorganized chaos. Don’t leave food remnants on your kitchen counters or other areas of your home. Do you want to attract mice and rats and catch the hantavirus?! Didn’t think so. Communicate to your roommates that it’s ideal to have some form of system in place to avoid recurring messes.
6. Avoid battling over the thermostat
This is a timeless argument. One roommate prefers to live in a freezing cave and the other pinches every penny and refuses to turn the AC on when it’s the middle of July. Discuss the situation, and come to a compromise. It’s literally that simple.
5. Clean the items you use to cook
The kitchen could be the most high traffic area in your home, especially when you live with people who all cook and eat on different schedules. This can often times lead to bitter feelings tied to finding your prized frying pan covered in bacon grease from three days ago. I’ve seen knives dulled and dishes so dirty that it’s debatable whether they’ll actually ever be clean enough to eat off again. Have you experienced someone who makes pillars out of dirty plates, or collects cups in their room like they are hosting some type of filth museum? Not okay!
4. Don’t ‘casually sample’ their food
Quite possibly the most annoying part of living with someone is when they take advantage of your tasty leftovers or casually eat their way through your weekly grocery supply. Roommates are not parental figures (typically) and they don’t want to provide for your lazy ass. Buy your own food, cook your own meals, tie your own shoes, and tread lightly if you absolutely feel the need to be a leftover rogue. It’s only a matter of time before you get caught in the act.
3. And don’t forget to clean out the refrigerator every once and while
I once had an incident in a fridge at a house that I shared with four other people. It involved what I would consider a bag of primordial ooze that I believe was kale at one point in time. When food gets so moldy it’s radiating a toxic scent, it’s definitely time to throw that stuff away and clean out your disgusting refrigerator. It’s amazing how that unknown putrid smell is instantly gone once your fridge is clean and sanitized. You should never have to be afraid of what’s lingering inside the vegetable crisper.
2. If you have a pet, take care of it
This one should go without saying but it’s astounding that people often times forget about basic levels of care associated with owning a pet. Whether a cat, dog, or chinchilla, routine care like providing fresh food and water daily can get pushed to the backburner. Just like small children, animals sometimes defecate inside homes. Remember to always clean that shit up…literally.
On that note, litter boxes can be treacherous territory with the potential to stink up an entire house. If you live with a pregnant roomie, excessively dirty litter boxes can cause birth defects in newborns. You don’t want to live with that guilt. So clean up after kitty, they’d do it themselves if only they had opposable thumbs.
1. Quite simply, don’t be a mooch
It may seem like it’s easier to be the person who never buys toilet paper, or slyly uses someone else’s laundry detergent like some evil cleaning supply bandit. But ask yourself, do you really want to be the source of a constant headache? Contribute equally and don’t burn bridges. Often times people take a slightly passive aggressive stance with these issues. This is unfortunate and can lead to the whole ordeal getting blown out of proportion. Easy solution: buy your own stuff and don’t be a freakin’ mooch!
Have you had a terrible roommate and learned by their mistakes? Post your advice in the comments section below.
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Author: Robert Parmer
Self-driven web writer, chef with an emphasis on all things sushi, and lover of all things cat-related.