Living with housemates can be an exciting but difficult experience, especially if you are moving out of home for the first time. At times, it can be hard to negotiate who needs to do what and avoid conflict when different ways of doing things come up. This is especially true when it comes to food and cleaning. However, there are some ways to make your share house experience as positive as possible and try to minimise these issues!
You always hear about the stories where housemates start leaving passive aggressive notes around because someone has eaten their food. Really, they can’t be blamed – no broke uni student wants the last of their favourite comfort food stolen around exam times! Food can be a big source of conflict in share houses, so it is important to set out some boundaries around food and storage space.
Firstly, it can be helpful to get together and divide up shelf space in the freezer, fridge and cupboards so that everyone gets an equal space to store their food so it doesn’t get mixed up with everyone else’s. Some ways of doing this can to assign specific drawers or cupboard shelves to each person, then getting some plastic crates to divide up fridge spaces that people can put their food into.
Another idea is to share basic food items (if everyone agrees!). This can save a lot of space and can stop things like bread from going bad and being wasted. This can be done in a few ways – one idea is to have a jar of spare change that everyone can contribute to which can go towards milk, bread etc. Another idea is to have a roster of who is responsible for buying the basics for that week so that it is easier to keep track of who has recently bought them.
Cleaning can become a bit of an issue very early on in a share house. Some people tolerate mess a lot better than others, so there might be some clashes over whether things really need to be cleaned or not. Some people might also not be used to having to clean up after themselves! To work around this, it is a good idea to set up a cleaning roster of cleaning that needs to be done every day, week etc. For example, one housemate can be responsible for giving the bathroom a weekly clean, another can be given the responsibility to deal with taking out the rubbish and mowing lawns while you could be in charge of giving common areas a vacuum and mop every few days if they start to get dirty.
As a general rule, most people living in a share house end up doing their own dishes and are responsible for the mess in their own rooms- so it is important to set some standards about how long people can leave dirty dishes sitting around or how badly someone’s room can start to smell before holding an intervention for them!
Also somewhat related to cleaning is laundry. This can be a difficult one to work out sometimes because it can depend on how many people you live with. If you only live with a couple of people (2-3 people at most), it can be a lot more efficient if you set out some laundry baskets for different loads (white, darks and anything that needs to be washes separately) that everyone can put their washing in before a specific day, then someone can just be responsible for putting each load on. Everyone else is usually responsible for collecting their stuff and hanging it up to dry. This system is great for small houses because it can save on water bills, but might not work in larger share houses.
If you live in a big share house (with 5+ people), a better system is usually to set aside time where everyone can use the laundry so that no one is hogging it all the time! Giving everyone a set few hours each week to do the bulk of their washing will give everyone a chance to get it done, and the free time left over can be used by anyone who has some last-minute washing to do, or by people who haven’t had a chance to get theirs done.
By negotiating these ideas with your housemates, you will (hopefully) be able to come up with a system that you all agree with when it comes to all the boring stuff associated with moving out of home! If anyone has some experience in a share house and has some more advice about any issues you have encountered, please leave a comment below so everyone can learn from your experiences!
Header image credit: https://www.realestate.com.au