Living with roommates can be a great way to save money and make friends while living in a major city. For college students and young professionals, living with a roommate may also be the only option. 

Understanding basic roommate etiquette can make living situations easier and more comfortable for everyone, especially if you are living with a lot of roommates. Here are some easy and helpful tips for living with roommates to keep in mind if you are moving in with someone else. 

10 Roommate Etiquette Tips

1. Actively communicate with your roommates. 

Everyone has different preferences when it comes to their living space, so never assume that your roommates will be able to read your mind. If something is bothering you or you’d like to make a change, communicate that to your roommates. Having an open discussion about any potential problems can help you prevent conflict or resentment from building. 

A good way to foster open communication is to agree on a set of house rules right when you move in. This way, everyone can agree on fair expectations early on and start off on the right note. 

2. Clean up your own messes. 

One of the best ways to keep your house clean and avoid conflict with your roommates is to clean up your own messes. After you finish cooking, wash your dishes. If your pet makes a mess, clean it up right away. If you’ve been working on a project in the common spaces, put your supplies away when you’re done. After a while, this will start to become a habit. 

3. Ask before using your roommates’ belongings. 

If your roommate has a hot new video game system, a wardrobe full of fashionable clothes or a pantry stuffed with delicious snacks, it can be tempting to use their things without checking in first. However, it’s important to resist temptation and ask them before you touch any of their belongings or eat their food. If they don’t want to share, it’s very important to respect that. How would you feel if someone touched your things without asking first? 

4. Respect personal space. 

One of the key things to remember when living with roommates, or anyone for that matter, is to respect their personal space. Even if you and your roommate are very good friends or have very outgoing personalities, you’ll still need to be alone sometimes. Make sure to respect everyone’s personal space. Always knock before entering their room and try to avoid chatting when they seem like they might not be in a social mood, such as when they have headphones in or are reading. 

5. Be mindful when having guests over. 

It’s okay to have friends or family over from time to time, but you’ll need to be considerate when doing so. Check-in with your roommates before inviting guests over so it isn’t an unwelcome surprise. If your guests remain after your roommates have gone to sleep or while they are doing something that requires concentration, keep your noise levels down to avoid disturbances. 

6. Split chores equally. 

There are certain routine chores that need to get done throughout the week, such as taking out the trash, sweeping, and cleaning the bathroom. Ideally, these chores are split equally between roommates so that one person isn’t responsible for everything. There are many ways to do this. If there are just two of you, it’s easy to take turns, but if you’re living with a lot of roommates, it might help to keep track of things with a chore chart. 

7. Contribute to household supplies. 

There are certain supplies that you will need to keep on hand at home for everyone to use. These include toilet paper, paper towels, cleaning supplies, seasonings and more. Make sure to contribute your fair share of these household supplies so that the financial burden doesn’t fall entirely on one roommate. 

8. Pay bills on time. 

One roommate that doesn’t pay their bills on time can cause financial stress for everyone else. Plan ahead and make a budget to ensure you can pay both your rent and your utility bills on time. Luckily, most apartment complexes allow you to pay online, which makes this process very easy. If a financial emergency arises, talk to your roommates and your landlord right away to figure out a solution. 

9. Share the common spaces. 

Make sure that every roommate has a chance to use the common spaces if they want to. If you have a communal TV or stereo in a common area, take turns using it rather than keeping it all to yourself. If you know that your roommate has to work from home, study or sleep, consider watching your favorite shows or listening to music with headphones so they aren’t disturbed. 

10. Be kind. 

Among all tips for living with roommates, the golden rule may seem obvious, but it’s important to keep in mind if you want your living situation to work out in the long run. Even if you are feeling very frustrated with your roommates, try to approach situations thoughtfully and avoid insulting or hurtful comments. Always treat others, especially those you live with, how you would like to be treated. 

Find Your Next Home with Southern Management 

These ten tips for living with roommates can make your new living situation much easier and reduce stress. Looking for roommates because you’re on a tight budget? Southern Management has plenty of options in Baltimore, the Washington, D.C. metro area, and Northern Virginia to match your budget and location preferences. Reach out to us today to learn more!