The idea of living with a bunch of strangers can seem daunting, there’s no doubt about it.
But it can also be incredibly fun and rewarding if you take the time to get to know each other and respect personal space and property.
The main benefits
House shares are great for making friends for life, saving on costs of living and learning to get along with people from all different walks of life.
So how can you make sure it starts and stays easy and rewarding for all concerned?
1. Split the bills
We have an in-depth guide on paying bills right here, but it’s important to really nail this one down from the very start of your house share.
Money is the number one reason people argue, so setting up a system that works for everyone in your house is the best way to avoid this.
Here are a few ways you can make work in your household:
· Have each housemate be responsible for one bill that they make sure gets paid every month on time
· Nominate one housemate to gather the money for bills each month and have the bills paid from one account
· Set up a joint account where money is paid in each month from each housemate
2. Set up a cleaning rota
Cleaning can also cause a lot of arguments in a shared house.
Usually, there’ll be a mix of people – some who like to wallow in their own dirt and others who can’t leave the kitchen without scrubbing the surfaces seven times.
To make things easier, set up a rota where each housemate is responsible for a specific cleaning task (or tasks) each week and month.
Then you’ll all be able to keep track of who’s doing what and when. And if need be have a quiet word without anyone not doing their bit.
3. Make your room your safe haven
One of the biggest problems people face with house sharing is not feeling like they have a space of their own to relax and unwind.
Your roomies might also be living on different schedules, which can make it difficult for you to get downtime when you need it.
This is why it’s important to make sure your room is your safe haven. This is your space where you can relax, chill out and really be yourself.
Think about what makes you happy and calm and fill your room with that.
Maybe you want a big computer games system, or maybe you want to buy some big comfy pillows to throw on your bed to make a sofa during the day.
It doesn’t have to be anything major like completely redecorating (in fact, that’s usually frowned upon if you’re renting), but simple things like changing your room around, keeping it tidy, and filling it with things that make you happy can make the world of difference when you feel like you just want to get away from it all.
4. Respect others’ spaces
In the same vein, you need to allow your roommates to have a safe space to relax and unwind, too.
Respecting their space doesn’t just mean not bothering them when their door is locked, it also means not using their things when left in communal spaces and definitely not tucking into their food when they’re out.
Everyone wants to feel like they’re respected, so treat your house mates like you like to be treated.
Labelling food in fridges might seem like a petty task, but it can save a ton of arguments.
Likewise, you should ask before you use a sound system in the lounge that doesn’t belong to you and knock before you go into someone’s room.
These small considerations can make the world of difference in a house share.
When there are a handful of people living under the same roof, it can be really easy for things to turn into a constant game of Chinese whispers.
Communication really is key here – whether it’s communicating about something you’re unhappy about or telling someone you appreciate how well they’ve done their bit of cleaning that week.
To help make this easier it’s worth having a weekly meeting with your housemates where you all sit down and take the time to listen to each other.
During this time, you can bring up any issues you’ve had, discuss future plans, and generally stay up-to-date on what the other people in your house are doing.
Even if you’re not a close household, the small act of sitting down and sharing a conversation regularly will help tighten bonds and make it easier to bring up things when you’re unhappy.
6. Have fun!
And the most important tip of all…
Living in a house share can be an incredibly rewarding experience where you make friends for life.
Living in such close proximity with a group of like-minded people gives you the opportunity to let your hair down and make the most of being young and free.
Take the time to celebrate often with your house mates and relax with them after a long week of work.
There’s a saying isn’t there… house mates that play together, stay together?
If you’re worried about struggling in a house share, don’t.
By preparing in advance and taking the time to be a decent house mate who listens to their roomies and respects others’ space, you’re setting yourself on the right path to having an amazing experience.