What Things Should You Share With a Roommate?

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Have you ever shared a room? Have you ever lived with someone other than your family? Are you about to embark on your first roommate adventure?

Living with someone usually means sharing each other’s stuff. Since space is limited, you want to share as many things as possible. 

Before move-in day, get in touch with your roommate and decide who will bring what.

There will be many things that you already own, but some communal items will need to be purchased. Make sure to have a plan in place. Will you split the cost of each item? If so, who will keep the item should one of you decide to move out?

And then think about sharing these things: 

Things to Share:

  • Futon, couch, or other seating
  • TV
  • Coffee maker
  • Bulletin board
  • Kitchen table and chairs
  • Printer
  • Fan
  • Music player
  • Dishes
  • Sports equipment
  • Basic décor
  • Throw rugs/carpets/curtains/lamps
  • Electrical gadgets
  • Gaming system
  • Books
  • Communal consumable items
    • Laundry soap
    • Paper towels
    • Light bulbs
    • Cleaning products

Things to Not Share with Your Roommate:  

Good hygiene is essential. Even though you’re sharing an apartment, you shouldn’t germs. It may seem funny, but: 

Things of a Personal Nature Not to Share:

  • Personal hygiene products:
    • Toothbrushes
    • Razors
    • Bars of soap (liquid soap is okay)
    • Deodorant
    • Combs/brushes
    • Nail clippers
    • Lip balm
  • Clothing items:
    • Shoes (especially if the person doesn’t wear socks)
    • Underwear
    • Hats
    • Towels
  • Bed:
    • Don’t offer up your roommate’s bed without first asking
  • Miscellaneous items:
    • Earrings
    • Headphones

While you may know your new roommate, or at least have put them through an extensive screening process, it’s good to get to know their habits and likes and dislikes. Once you’re all moved in, take time to discuss some important topics.

 Share things about yourself:

  • Do you prefer the windows open or closed?
  • How do you feel about cleaning?
  • Do you hit snooze seven times before turning off your alarm?
  • Are you a light or heavy sleeper?
  • Are you a night owl? Or do you enjoy watching the sunrise?
  • When do you like showering, and how long do you usually take?
  • Do you have allergies to food, animals, medicine, etc.?
  • Trade emergency contact names and phone numbers.
  • Do you have any medical conditions?
  • Have you been told you’re a loud chewer, teeth grinder, snorer, or mouth breather?
  • When you wake, do you need coffee before interacting with anyone?
  • If you’re sad, what’s the best way to comfort you? Or would you prefer to be left alone?

Once you’ve shared these and anything else you feel is necessary, make a roommate agreement.

Things to include in a roommate agreement:

  • Food
    • Which food is communal?
    • Will you split the fridge down the middle or label items?
  • Dispute resolution
  • Overnight guests
  • Chores

Unfortunately, living with someone isn’t always easy, and issues will arise. Some common roommate problems:

  • Taking things without checking
  • Being noisy
  • Inviting over guests without asking
  • Splitting costs
  • The shared space is often messy or dirty

It’s important to address any issues right away. In the roommate agreement, it’s absolutely necessary to have a section about handling concerns.

Remember that communication is vital, especially when sharing living space.

  • Solve problems before they get out of hand
  • Avoid passive-aggressive behavior
  • Timing is everything
  • Use “I” statements
  • Be an active listener
  • Look at it from their perspective
  • Compromise

When sharing an apartment with someone, start off on the right foot. Decide what will be shared and what will remain yours.  And then get ready to make some fantastic memories. Years from now, when you and your roommate get together, you want to be able to say, “Remember the time we…” with a big smile on your face.

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