Those limbo years between living at home and (hopefully) putting down your own mortgage or moving in with a long-term partner can either form the best in your life, or end up being the worst. What determines whether they prove a nightmare or provide you with memories you’ll cherish for a lifetime depends largely on who you spend them living with. Then, here are 5 top tips to help you not just survive life in a shared house, but potentially make the most of the experience.
- Finding Potential Housemates
If you aren’t part of a group of friends intending to move in together it is likely that you will be looking for a room to rent. It is also likely that the other rooms within the properties you view will be occupied by current tenants. These folk could become your housemates. Consequently, as well as showing you around the property they will probably want to take some time to chat. Whether they offer you a causal brew and offer you an end of the living room sofa or suggest meeting for a drink at the pub will depend on the kind of people they are and the household they keep.Wherever you meet though, it is important to ensure you do not allow nerves to take charge or fall into the trap of feeling like you are heading to an interview rather than meeting up with a group of people to mutually assess how well you all get on. Giving into the temptation of bigging yourself in the hope of being offered the room is only going to prevent you from being able to relax once you move in. Then, the tip here is to remember: this is going to potentially be your home; it is paramount that you feel relaxed and at ease with the other people living there and that you show them the real you so they can make a decision based on who you really are.
- Recognising a ‘Problem Housemate’
Take a moment to skim through the Metro Newspaper’s article: 30 Things You’ll Only Understand if You’ve Lived in a House Share and you will quickly see that many of the albeit humorous (at least in hindsight), but also infuriating issues experienced when house sharing are often caused by one single problem, and one single person: the problem house mate.From leaving hairballs in the sink hole to using the last of the milk, to stealing crockery and then failing to wash it up, if you are sat smugly thinking your shared house is happily uninhabited by this character, take a moment to ask yourself if you are in fact guilty of any of these crimes or any of the others featured on the Metro’s list. After all, and if so, it is likely that you have just identified the problem housemate in your house.
- Be the Housemate You Dream of Living With
If everyone simply made a point of being the housemate they dreamed of living with we’d all live in house share utopia. Unfortunately, it is far easier and far more tempting to point out the flaws our housemates have than recognise our own. Then, to become everybody’s favourite housemate rather than the resident whinge bag, quit moaning and ensure you are pulling your weight by making sure you always:
- replace anything and everything you use up
- wash up and clean after yourself
- de-hair the bathroom after using it
- never take food drink or, well, anything from a shelf cupboard or room that isn’t yours
- remember your key, especially if you plan to stay out late
- when the bin is full empty it
- when the hoover is full empty it
- in fact, when any part of the house is full of dust and/ or rubbish it is definitely time to empty it!
Whilst sometimes it won’t be your doing or your fault, taking one for the team on the odd occasion is a cost-free way of currying favour with your housemates and means that when you need a favour it is more likely your housemates will be there to helpand that they will also be happy to oblige.
- The Importance of Establishing House Rules
Nobody when living at home dreams of growing up and moving out to follow a well organised roster of chores with their chosen housemates. That said, it is also true and important to point out that nobody dreams of growing up and moving out to move into a potentially vermin infested and bacteria ridden party house. Then, and to avoid this latter reality, it is important to establish a few key rules – and stick to them.For many house sharers the best and most democratic as well as harmonious way of establishing house rules and divvying up the housework is to draw up a roster, as suggested via the Share Housing website and discussed in more detail via their Share Housing Survival Guide.
- Bumping Heads
To finish up, it is worth making one thing clear and that is that it is impossible to always get along. To prevent situations from escalating from bad to worse though and prevent niggles from becoming nightmares, the best way to do this is by building bonds with your housemates rather than seeing them as simply fellow humans with whom you happen to co-inhabit. Quite simply, people we care about and get to know are people we find it far easier to empathise with and far harder to mistreat, ignore or otherwise behave less than civilly towards.Then, one really great and fun means of bonding with house mates that can be implemented from the beginning or even after years of living together is to establish some house traditions. A tip provided via London Fox Lettings and featured in their blog article: Harmonious Housemate: Things to Pay Attention to When You Have Housemates, making the effort to balance the scales by introducing traditions as well as rules to a shared house is one of the most effective means of turning temporary housemates into homies for life.