So, you've just changed cities, apartments, and roommates! In an ideal scenario, you and your new roomie become instant BFF's, throw fabulous joint parties, and seamlessly merge your furniture. (Who knew his mid-century modern coffee table would look so amazing on top of your flokati rug? Strangers are the best!)
But, in a different, perhaps more realistic scenario, your mutual polite aloofness devolves into a passive aggressive Post-it note war. ("I did the dishes...even the ones that were NOT MINE." "My parents are coming today. Can you put pants on? Thx.")
Don't let that happen! The Moveline team has compiled eight tips to help you live in perfect-ish harmony with that person who happens to share your shower/fridge/tea kettle. If you're moving in with the object of your affection, check out our comprehensive guide for couples moving in together. If you're cohabitating with a standard-issue roomie, though, read on for advice on how to seamlessly split bills, divvy up chores, and not annoy each other too much.
1. Agree on some ground rules
Whether you're rooming with a friend or someone completely random, it pays to have a conversation about your living habits. Maybe you're cool with her using your pots and pans, but your fancy shampoo is off-limits. Maybe she'd like a heads-up if your boyfriend is going to be spending the night. Being aware of each other's needs will make your apartment a much more peaceful place.
2. Track expenses the tech-savvy way
If your roommate uses the "I forgot my wallet" excuse every time a household expense comes up (or if you're the one who never has cash on hand), download an app like Splitwise or Venmo to split bills instantly. The apps connect to your bank account, so you can shoot your roomie $10 for the takeout she brought home, before your pad Thai gets cold.
3. Get to know each other's schedules
If your roommate works crazy-late hours, you might not want to be grinding coffee beans and slamming kitchen cupboards at 6 am. And, similarly, if your roommate showers every morning at eight on the dot, don't jump in the tub at 7:58.
4. Ditch the snooze button
There's nothing worse than waking up two hours before you're supposed to, thanks to the aggressive Marimba-ing coming from your roommate's iPhone alarm. If you're the alarm abuser, and you really can't resist that sweet, sweet snooze button, place your phone on the other side of the room — having to actually get up to turn the noise off will make you less likely to hit the sheets again. (And it will make your roommate less likely to hate you.)
5. Don't be a note-leaver
What's worse: not replacing a roll of toilet paper, or noticing that your roommate didn't replace a roll of toilet paper, and leaving a sticky note that says as much on top of the empty cardboard tube?
Trick question. They're both terrible! But if your roommate does something mildly annoying, just tell them (clearly and tactfully). Notes should be happy things. Like, say, "I baked cookies! Take one!"
6. Your roommate knows you're stealing his food/toothpaste/laundry detergent
Unless you and roommate have established some sort of shared budget for household items, don't take her groceries or toiletries without asking. Which seems really obvious! But "She won't notice if I use her toothpaste just once" can quickly turn into "I'll just buy toothpaste next week," or "Wow, I can't remember the last time I bought toothpaste! It's just always in our bathroom," if you're not careful.
7. Consider the chore chart
Chore charts don't work for every set of roommates (they're a bit Type A, we'll admit). But if you know that you'll forget when it's your turn to take out the trash without a physical reminder, mapping out your household duties could be a good thing. Pinterest has some great ideas for making crafty chore charts that look almost fun, or you could just set up a shared Google doc.
8. Don't forget to hang out
Your roommate is a person, not just a collection of semi-irritating habits! You don't have to be BFF's, but you should take an interest in each other's lives. Is your roommate training for a marathon? Set up a once-a-week running date. Is she always streaming Netflix on her laptop? Suggest watching a movie in the living room. On an actual TV. With wine and snacks. Or just go to happy hour! Doing things together informally on a semi-regular basis means you'll be more likely to talk about household issues organically, rather than in awkward, forced chats. Oh, and you may actually become friends.
Whether you're moving into a studio with your best friend for life or a big, bustling house with completely random people, Moveline can take the stress out of things. By simplifying the inventory process, gathering quotes on your behalf and offering sound advice every step of the way, your Move Captain has your back through thick and thin, helping you get yourself and your stuff into your new home in ione piece with your sanity intact. The best part? It's free. Learn more about Moveline here.