Roommate Survival Guide – The Keys to Living In A Shared House


When living in a shared house, you have to fully acknowledge that the home is everyone’s. You can’t say, “this is my spot, I need to clean this” or “that’s your trash, throw it away.” Sharing a house means sharing responsibility.

As an international student who shares a house, I try to make my house as clean as heaven, because it’s where I hang out with my housemates, and most importantly, it’s where I live! With that being said, here arethe crucial do’s and don’ts to know when living in a shared house.

Do the Dishes

Does it annoy you when your housemates leave dirty dishes everywhere? Dirty dishes can cause conflict between you and your housemates even though it’s a pretty tiny problem we can all prevent.

Always remember to clean up after yourself. Clean the dishes after you use them. If you have dirty dishes or see those dishes, just put them in the dishwasher, it will help keep your house spotless. Sometimes, you can wash their dishes if you have extra time, or you can always remind your housemates politely to clean their dirty dishes.

Don’t Leave the Bathroom in a Dirty Situation

Personally, I feel most comfortable taking a shower in a clean, good smelling bathroom. You don’t want a smelly atmosphere in your bathroom, right? Then clean your bathroom before you leave.

Do you want to see any hair on the floor or spilled water all over the place? Then clean your bathroom before you leave. Do you want a clogged sink in your bathroom? Then clean your bathroom before you leave.

Do you like walking into a clean bathroom? Then make sure it looks pretty much the same when you walk out!

Do Respect Others

Everyone has a certain expectation for their housemates. The expectation I’m referring to is that everyone in the house should be respectful of one another. That can mean cleaning up after yourself, not barging into someone else’s room without knocking and not being too noisy when someone else is studying or has a guest over. It’s also better to respect your housemates by saying hi whenever you see them, offering food if you’re eating and asking about their day. All I’m saying is to respect their presence in the house.

Don’t Forget to Ask Before You Borrow

“Wait, why couldn’t I find my pan in the drawer?”

Someone must have used the pan and moved it somewhere else. It annoys people if their belongings are used by someone who didn’t ask for permission first.

You can prevent this problem by asking whenever you want to use someone else’s personal items. You have to get their permission before using it, rather than using the items without asking the owner first because, well, anything can happen. If you break or lose something, it’s made 10 times worse if you didn’t ask for permission first.

Do Schedules

Creating a schedule can help you be organized when taking care of the house. For instance, if your house’s owner complains about the electricity bill payments because you use the heater for too long, you can make a schedule to use the heater. Or if you are too tired to run out and get everyone’s mail everyday, you can always make a schedule for it. Then after you make the schedule and complete it, try having a weekly house meeting at the end of the week. Evaluate what went well and what didn’t. You can always make new schedules or rules for you and your housemates. Maybe you can set a fun house tradition every Sunday night? That sounds fun!

Don’t Forget to Pay Rent On Time

Be sure to keep the owner of the house happy by paying the rent on time. This is very important when you’re living in a shared house because sometimes the owner has to wait for the rent money and making someone wait is not respectful of that person. Start marking the specific date on your calendar or setting a reminder on your phone to pay the rent on time.

Of course, there will always be difficulties when living with other people, but hopefully this list will be able to keep it to a minimum.