|Image c/o: Huff Post|
In case you’d managed to forget, we’re coming out of a recession, and living through a housing crisis. More of us are living in house shares than ever before - and we’re living there for longer, too; with the average age of a first-time buyer now 36.
This means that - like it or not - the vast majority of us have housemates. If you’re lucky, they’ll be people you know already, but a lot of us are thrown into a small space with a group of people we’ve never even met before. Luckily, communal living, even in a small home, can be really harmonious: as long as you’re not invading each other’s personal space or disrespecting common living areas, as breaching these rules can lead to major falling out! The good news is that - to paraphrase the Neighbours theme tune - good housemates can become good friends, and living with friends can be lots of fun! But for a friendship to develop, you need to make sure you’re all getting along. We’ve put together some of our favourite tips for staying on your housemate’s good sides when space is tight.
Keep clutter free
One person’s clutter is bad enough. When there are four or five of you (or even just 2!) leaving bits around communal areas, mess can accumulate quickly, especially in a small room. Getting rid of clutter quickly - even if you just put it in your own room to get it out of the way - will save space and make rooms feel much tidier. But make sure you only stick to tidying up your own mess, as accidentally throwing away something that belongs to one of your housemates is a quick way to start arguments.
Sharing is caring
When you’re living with people you don’t know very well, it can feel odd to share things with them - but in a small kitchen there isn’t going to be much room multiple sets of pots and pans, cutlery, plates and so on. Consider putting any spares in storage - or selling them if you don’t think you’ll use them again. Similarly, sharing shelf or cupboard space in the kitchen and bathroom instead of segregating your things into separate areas is another way to use storage space more efficiently; although not advisable if any of you are prone to “borrowing”!
Be considerate with guests
Sharing your already minimal personal space with a school-friend or new partner might seem like no big deal to you, but having too many overnight guests in a house-share can put a lot of stress on your relationship with your housemates. An extra person for the bathroom in the morning or someone else using up the milk can make all the difference when you’re already living on top of each other, and if you have people over too often you run the risk of being asked to contribute extra to the bills as well. No one’s saying you should forgo your social life, but keep overnight visitors to a minimum - and always run it past your housemates first, too.
Try and stick to a cleaning rota
If you really want to make sure everyone’s doing their fair share, a cleaning rota is a surefire way to get chores done. But if that seems a bit too extreme, you could try each claiming responsibility for a different chore so that everything gets done regularly. Try and always be on your best behaviour when it comes to cleaning, as your idea of acceptable mess will almost certainly be someone else’s idea of a hovel.
Have somewhere to escape to
Whether it’s your mum’s house, a favourite cafe or the local library, when you’re living in a confined space with a few other people it’s imperative to have somewhere to escape to when it’s all getting a bit too much. The “me” time will do you a world of good, and a break from your housemates every week or so will ensure you stay appreciative of them.
Liberty is a content strategist writing on behalf of Lifestyle Blinds.