Before heading off to college, many students look forward to the independence that comes with living away from their parents. Yet, while living with roommates can be a fun experience – especially if you share the same interests and have similar personalities – it can also be challenging.
Often, the greatest challenge lies in making sure everyone does their part to keep the living space clean. To avoid conflict, it’s important to come to an agreement as to how you’ll divide household chores. Here are some helpful tips for sharing responsibilities fairly.
- Hold a Roommate Meeting
Open communication is critical to getting along with the people you live with. There will always be disagreements and tension if you fail to discuss expectations and responsibilities for chores. To make sure you’re all on the same page, arrange a time to talk about apartment responsibilities when everyone will be present.
- Assign Each Roommate Chores
Start by compiling a list of chores that will need to be completed on a regular basis. This could include sweeping or vacuuming the floor, cleaning the bathroom, taking out the trash, and washing the windows, among other things. There may also be some tasks you decide to share — for instance, you may agree that you’ll all wash your own dishes.
The next step is to divvy up these responsibilities. You have two options: you can rotate chores (meaning everyone takes turns at doing everything), or you can each pick the chores you’ll do. The latter is a good idea if one of you dislikes a certain task but another person has no qualms about doing it.
Try to make sure each person is spending about the same amount of time on chores each week. None of your roommates should feel that the schedule is unfair or that they’re doing more housework than someone else.
- Pool Money for Cleaning Supplies
Another way to ensure tasks are divided as fairly as possible is to have everyone contribute the same amount of money for cleaning supplies. The simplest way to navigate this is to pool money and use the funds to purchase products as you need them. Bear in mind that you might all have different budgets, which may mean it’s necessary to compromise on quality for certain things. For example, try selecting generic brands for cleaning solutions and paper towels whenever possible.
- Create a Cleaning Calendar
Make it clear who is responsible for what (and when) by drawing up a calendar. A chalk or dry erase board is perfect for this, as it’s easy to change and you can erase chores once they’ve been completed.
- Be Flexible
Never demand that your roommates carry out chores at particular times. In fact, as long as the chore gets done, it shouldn’t even matter if your roommate is a couple days late — after all, you’re students with busy schedules. If you’re unhappy about how a roommate completes a chore, discuss the issue calmly or perhaps offer to switch chores.
Living with roommates is much easier when you all have similar expectations. Unfortunately, when you share a room on campus, who you are paired with often comes down to luck.
However, on-campus housing is far from your only option. You can also live the college experience in off-campus student rentals. London, Ontario, students have Foundry First, which offers a convenient roommate matching service. This means you’ll share a suite with roommates who have similar interests, and as a result, sharing responsibilities can be a smooth, hassle-free experience. Plus, since you’ll have your own room, you’ll only need to divide chores for keeping common areas tidy.