Living with housemates can make your time in a house share a wonderful experience. However, spending a huge amount of time with them, in close quarters, can bring some to a boiling point.
Getting on with others, is, of course, a key skill in life, but learning to live peacefully with your flatmates is a different skill altogether. We outline 7 key ways to make your life in a house-share, that little bit easier!
Close kitchen contact – With over 4 people in a house share, kitchen space can often be an issue. Try to plan early (before you move in) who gets what area. Fridge space will come at a premium, but it is possible to economise on shelf space. Try buying cooking utensils as a house and sharing the washing up duties evenly. This will save on space, and encourage a sense of community within the house.
ChoosingRooms – Rooms are always likely to be a contentious issue. All house shares are likely to have a ‘master’ bedroom, which, naturally, will be the most sought after. While in some houses, the cost of the rooms will be different depending on size, making the decision a fairly simple one. In other, it may be a bit of a free for all. Solutions can always be found for this however, from the biggest room bringing with it more chores, to all the house-mates simply drawing straws. If a compromise cannot be reached, then rotate the rooms every few months.
Cleaning/Sharing Jobs – If you like your house share to be spotless and your house mates aren’t interested in cleaning up – what do you do? Well, the first thing to remember is to take control of your kingdom first. Make sure you have a ‘safe’ (clean and tidy) place to retreat to when you need to. If the issue gets to the point where you can’t handle it any more, try and persuade your flatmates based on housekeeping logic. What do we have ants/will we get them? Is it healthy to live like this? What if the landlord comes around? When they realise that there could actually be serious implications, they will usually come around.
Cost and fair usage – Coming out of halls of residence or having lived at home, can be a bit of a shock when it comes to the actual cost of living in a house share. You will be frantically going around turning off lights and flicking off plug sockets. But what to do if somebody doesn’t get the message. One good idea for this is having a ‘electricity swear box’ – when somebody leaves a light on or wastes electricity in another way then put a pound into the box. This can be a great way of reminding them to keep the lights off in the future and can also create a fund for ‘above average’ energy consumption.
Conflicts – Conflicts within a house share are clearly not beneficial for anybody. However, if they do occur, then they need to be addressed. Frequently, the best way to go about this is to try and defuse the situation. This can sometimes be apologising, and other times simply staying out of their way. Stress with your house-mates can have a deeply adverse affect on your social and work lives. Remember, you only have to last until the end of the rental contract.
Compromising – When a group of people (often with different personalities) live closely together, there are always likely to be tensions. When tensions flare up, it is important to remain calm and deal with them properly. The most important thing to consider here is compromise (the No1 marriage tip). Flaring up a situation is only going to cause more stress to you and the rest of your house mates. Stay calm and be prepared to compromise.
Communication – This does sound like a rather simplistic problem to have, but often, even among friends, simply communication is all that is needed to make a house share run smoothly. One idea of how to deal with this is to organise a monthly ‘house night’ where you all spend the evening together. Incorporate how the experience of living together could be improved and how well everyone is doing their separate roles/jobs. With regular communication in a relaxed environment, it is possible for all small issues which may occur to be dealt with in a friendly and stress-free fashion.
If you are worried about personality chashes with new house mates – Mind the Flat has the perfect solution! It’s called the mate test. The mate test is based on the ‘Big 5’ personality test, and it can help you to find your house mate compatibility before you move in! Simply sign up to Mind the Flat and take the 3 minute test to ensure you will be living happily this year! It goes without saying that living with people, particularly those with whom you don’t have a long friendship, can be hard. Yet it is frequently mentioned that the best years of life are those when sharing with friends. Sensible communication and compromisation can help ensure that the experience of a house share remains a good one!