Studies show that Toronto and Vancouver are the top two cities in Canada where individuals are most likely to live with roommates. The financial benefits are obvious: not only are you splitting your rent, but your utilities as well! Many adults who live with non-family members also report a sense of companionship as a bonus. Of course, if you are moving into a home where you will be living with roommates for the first time, it can be intimidating. Don’t sweat it! With our simple tips you’ll learn how to share a space like a pro.
Know Your Deal Breakers
Our first suggestion starts before you even move in: when selecting a roommate, know what you absolutely cannot tolerate. Be honest with yourself, yet flexible: you can’t have everything you want! Write a list of deal breakers you know would make your living situation untenable and state them clearly to your potential roommate. Maybe noise late at night is a no-go, or leaving dishes in the sink overnight. Whatever it is, by identifying and stating a few must-haves (we recommend no more than three), you’ll be laying a foundation of communication and trust with your new roommate.
Figure Out Each Other’s Schedules
Does your roommate sleep in later than you? What time do they tend to use the kitchen? Or shower? Knowing (and respecting!) each other’s schedules goes a long way with roommates. Avoid grinding your coffee beans early in the morning when you know someone is sleeping in the next room, and mutually decide when each of you will use the bathroom and kitchen. Some roommates find they can make use of the kitchen at the same time (and even cook meals together), but being clear about your preferences is necessary to avoid conflict down the line.
Communicate In Person, Not Over Text
Sometimes tension might arise between you and your roommate: that’s fine! Conflict that is tackled head-on is often a learning experience that proves positive for everyone involved. We recommend communicating in person, and doing so sooner rather than later. Letting problems fester is never a good idea! Speaking to your roommate face to face in a relaxed, friendly way often dissipates tension (whereas the lack of clarity in texting or email can increase it). As a tip, we suggest using “I” language to avoid sounding confrontational.
Make A Decision About Sharing
Whether it’s milk or shampoo, sharing items with your roommate(s) often makes financial and practical sense: if there are multiples of something, why not go dutch? However, remember that it’s important to be on the same page! Just because you think it’s no big deal to take a few slices of your roomie’s bread, they might not agree! As in most situations that involve co-living, communication is key.
Consider A Chore Chart
Sometimes, clear rules about housekeeping ensure things get done and there’s no confusion about who’s responsible for what. Other times, a more informal arrangement works, in which roommates agree to tackle chores as they see fit. Either way, it makes sense to bring up the topic with whomever you are sharing a space. Although it may seem a little rigid to have a chore schedule, many report it eases their stress as they are assured they’re holding up their end of the bargain when it comes to cleaning.
Seriously! Perhaps living with a roommate wasn’t your first choice, but if you keep an open mind, you may be surprised. Companionship, convenience, and meeting new people are all positives that come with having a roommate. Try to set aside time with your roommate to get comfortable and learn about each other. Here’s hoping a friendship blooms!
These simple tips will really pay off when put into practice! When it comes to roommates, communication is key, then everything else usually falls into place. Be sure to follow along on the Medallion blog for more tips on living as a renter!