Many people will have to share a collocation at least once in their lives, so they will know what I’m speaking about: Messy living rooms, cluttered rooms or dirty dishes are unfortunately the day-a-day life of some flat-sharing victims. In my case, I was raised in a beautiful spacious house where I had plenty of space to fit all my things and have a comfortable common life with my family. Then I moved away for college and so my adventure of sharing tiny apartments with strangers begun. I was not prepared for what it was to come.
Sharing an apartment is a very common way to save money and feel the joys and horrors of the co-living experience. It’s a necessity. Sometimes it can even be amazing if you have good luck. However, sometimes the apartment sharing adventure is more sour than sweet. Because of my experiences, here are a few tips to make this episode of your existence easier:
1. Do not exclude a roomie
Even if you don’t like someone of your roommates, try not to avoid co-existing with them. Just because you live under the same roof, you don’t have to be friends. But, anyway, no one likes feeling excluded, specially when you are away from home and your relatives. Try to have lunch or dinner together, watch films or make some plans so you run into one another naturally. Doing things together will strengthen ties among all the roomies and your place’s atmosphere will be better.
2. Don’t forget the cleaning
The bathroom is not a microorganism multiplication laboratory and neither you are Ferrán Adrià trying to discover the sixth flavour in the kitchen. Try to leave everything as you would like to find it. Organising a timetable dividing the cleaning tasks and the areas among the human beings that share the apartment is an optimal idea (if and when people respect it…).
3. “My freedom ends where yours begins”
Everyone should respect their roomies’ privacy. Do not enter someone’s room if you don’t have permission. This tip can be applied to other people’s stuff even if they are in the common spaces. Being respectful is a wonderful tip and not only when it comes to sharing an apartment.
4. Do not get tired of asking
Do not make decisions that may affect your roomies without asking before. Inviting a bunch of friends home or deciding to paint the living room walls red is not a decision that should be taken independently.
5. “Respect” is not only a great song by Aretha
Invest in some good headphones. That way you can use them to not disturb the others while watching movies or listening to music, and it can be a good escape route when your roommates aren’t that respectful. Basically, try to mind that other people might not have the same schedule as you do therefore respect their sleep and working or studying hours.
6. Laying some rules at the beginning is a must.
Decide together the fridge and the kitchen’s cupboards distribution, the rules about inviting friends to stay over, doing the cleaning, dos and don’ts of the common areas…
But, above all, learn as much as you can. Sharing an apartment is a wonderful opportunity to gain a great lesson of life. You will know and live with people you don’t know before, from different places, traditions and characters. By this process, you can learn to be a person who is respectful and tolerant to the differences.
Tell us your experiences living in a shared apartment in the comments below!