Living with other people is an exciting endeavor. But it does come with some challenges. These challenges include who needs to do the grocery shopping, who pays what bills, etc. And while these challenges seem daunting, the benefits of sharing a home with others outweigh them. Some of the benefits include splitting chores and expenses. Living with others also offers a level of safety you wouldn’t have if you lived alone.
There are many ways you can organize and simplify a shared space that benefits everyone who lives there. And on that note, let’s unpack some tips and tricks for organizing your shared accommodation.
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The Acceptable Level of Tidiness
The most crucial element for making things work in co-living apartments and homes is an agreed-upon level of tidiness. And because everyone comes from diverse backgrounds and is accustomed to different levels of tidiness, you must be clear on what you want before you live with others. Think about it this way: some people were raised to clean up after themselves, and others were not. This does not make those who are untidy bad people. However, this is an opportunity for the tidier housemates to explain what is required from each person and why to avoid frustrations and arguments. Here are examples of how you can do it:
- Scattered items: Scattered items can be anything really, from books and loose papers and everything in between. For some people, putting a book on the counter is fine. However, for a space to be well organized, explain to your housemates that putting a book into its correct spot on a bookshelf saves space and makes the room look less cluttered. Consider getting trays or baskets for keeping loose items.
- Clothing lying around: Jackets and other clothing items are not communal but personal items. Therefore, these items belong not in the communal area but in the person’s room. Explain that while assuming you will use your jacket more than once when heading out might be logical, stowing it away ensures the space is less disorganized.
- Unnecessary dishes: This is the biggest pet peeve for anyone. If your housemates are prone to letting their unwashed dishes pile up or not putting their clean dishes away once dried, simply explain the following. A clean kitchen benefits everyone in the house. Once the dishes are clean, it saves everyone time and energy to dry them immediately and pack them away. Out of sight, out of mind, no arguments to come.
Set A Cleaning Routine
Here, you have to be fair and reasonable since your housemates might be working shifts or have a completely different work schedule from yours. So, now that you have determined the level of cleanliness you are after, it is time to discuss the cleaning routine. Make a list of all the chores in the home. Then, look at the number of housemates you have and draw up a weekly schedule for an entire month. Here, you add each person’s responsibility for the week. To keep things fair, swap chores every week. A pro tip is to create a schedule calendar and stick it to your fridge for ease of use.
Organization is about establishing specific rules that will govern your household. Rules are vital if you want to avoid unnecessary arguments. For example, common spaces should have certain rules; for instance, everyone should pick up their clothing, papers, etc, in the common areas. And then personal spaces like your room can be managed how you please.
What Happens When There Are Guests?
Communicating with your housemates is crucial in avoiding any frustration. Communicating effectively is part of organizing your shared accommodation — especially if you plan to have a guest over frequently. For instance, if no one uses the common spaces often and you know your housemates are out for the night, writing a simple note stating you will have company and leaving it for your housemates on the day is acceptable. However, if your housemates are prone to occupying the common spaces, you must provide them ample time to make other plans.
Sharing Common Spaces
The biggest challenge with co-living arrangements is the common spaces and how they are managed and organized. Our advice is to meet around this to set some ground rules. While we have touched on rules, common spaces require a little more management than others. Remember that you must consider everyone in your home before you do anything. If you are using the bathroom mirror to do your makeup for two hours every day before work, this can rightfully frustrate your housemates. Do not be that person. Instead, set a realistic time limit that each person must comply with.
Keep in mind that you are living with other individuals. You are sharing a space where you have established clear rules and guidelines and have laid out how you want the space to be organized, especially things like a bathroom, the fridge, or the living room. Everyone has a chore, and everyone contributes equally to chores, expenses, and rent. Remember that throughout this, you must respect the people you are living with. You are after a harmonious, organized space. But, slightly deviating from the agreed-upon rules, like looking through your housemate’s things or not cleaning the kitchen when it is your turn, can make them feel disrespected. Ensure you are working together and are respectful.
Co-living arrangements can be challenging, especially when organizing and managing the household. Our advice is to sit down and have a discussion. Speak about the levels of tidiness that are acceptable and agree to keep it this way. Establish a fairly allocated chore routine. Set clear rules about how you want to manage and organize the home. Inform your housemates well in advance when you intend to have guests over. And lastly, remain respectful!
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