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A Healthy Home: Tips for Living With Roommates

Living with roommates can be a wonderful experience. You can make lifelong friendships, save money, and more. It takes work, and you need to make sure you find the right people! To help you have the healthiest shared home possible, we’ve collected the following tips on chores, finances, and spaces:

How to divide up chores:

When everyone pulls their own weight, home chores with roommates is a breeze. The key is setting up an agreed-upon system before the dishes stack up.

First, sit down together and make a full list of chores. Here are some examples (and hopefully the list doesn’t go on forever):

Clean the kitchen
Vacuum the floors
Scrub the toilets and showers
Handle the dishes
Mow the lawn
Clean the fridge
Take out trash
Wash the windows
Pay the bills
Shop for supplies

Once you have a full list, have each roommate rank the chores from most “enjoyable” to least. You might end up with an extremely well delegated list. The aspiring chef has no problem with the dishes, while the outdoor lover can mow the lawn every weekend and never worry about a full dishwasher. For the chores no one can agree on, rotate the responsibility.

Finally, make a chart or calendar for the fridge. Make sure everyone understands that these chores are part of living in the house, not just something that is nice to get done when there is free time. Hold each other accountable, and you’ll have a well-maintained and healthy home.

How to maximize your shared spaces:

If you’re currently renting a home with roommates, you’ve probably ran into the challenge of shared spaces. Here are a few helpful ideas to make sure your living arrangements stay healthy and fair for everyone.

Closets. If you’re sharing a closet, grab one of those hanging vertical cloth shelves, and use it for things like towels and sheets. This also serves as a divider between your stuff.

Cabinets. Wire shelves are your best friend here, and they work well for dishes. For the bathroom, small stackable tubs with your toiletries in them are perfect.

Countertops. You should have a quick discussion on what should stay on the countertops. Maybe someone’s rice cooker is okay, but another roommate’s tubs of protein power and preworkout is better suited for their room.

Wall space and decoration. Turn this into a group activity. Keep your favorite art for your own room, and shop for things together that fit the main space well.

Showers. Each roommate should get their own shower caddy. One can hang over the shower head, and the others can be suction cupped to the corners. Or, you can get something more permanent and sleek like the picture.

How to handle splitting finances: 

It can be financially beneficial to have a roommate, but navigating how to best split expenses can be tricky. Here are a few strategies.

  1. Decide which bills should be split, and why. Rent is an easy one, but streaming services are not. Have these conversations early and often.
  2. Keep a master spreadsheet. It should track each budget item, how much it costs, who pays it, and how it should be paid.
  3. Take advantage of apps. Quick-pay apps like Venmo or CashApp leave a decent paper trail, and Splitwise allows you to tally up expenses and redistribute the final number based on who already paid for certain things.
  4. Keep some “shared” purchases seperate. For instance, who keeps the couch and TV once the lease is up? You could avoid those problems by choosing to make the larger purchases you want to keep, and sharing them with the group until you leave.
  5. Choose your roommates wisely. It may be exciting to rent with your best friend, but if they aren’t responsible, you may find yourself up against some unintended financial consequences.

If you’re currently struggling with managing roommates and finances, sit down at the table and have the awkward conversation. Find a solution together, it will be worth it.

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