Top 10 Home Management Tips for Roommates
Living with flatmates has the potential to be really fun and exciting, but also disastrous. So many personalities in one space can cause drama and even conflict. But proper home management can prevent many unnecessary challenges. Use our tips to help your group of roommates enjoy your living arrangements more.
Not everyone can afford to buy or rent their own flat or house. Sharing living space with others is a smart decision for your pocket these days. But without proper home management, it can lead to various challenges.
From someone not doing their chores to dealing with others’ personalities, there are many things that can spark conflict or create a tense environment. We’ve compiled a list of important and very practical tips you can implement to create a better living situation for all.
With some smart home management techniques, you’ll create an atmosphere in the home or flat where everyone can feel comfortable and at home—and the chores will get done!
1) House Rules—Start with an Honest Discussion
You can’t simply expect others to complete home management tasks the way you like them. Different people have different standards, preferences and habits. So, you need to communicate to clarify everyone’s expectations regarding the living arrangements.
It should start with a detailed roommate questionnaire before you even agree to share space in the same house or flat. This will give you an idea about compatibility and the questions can open up a discussion on each person’s perspective on cleaning, noise levels and more.
When you find someone, you think you can live with, share your house rules with them but also see if you can incorporate their needs into these guidelines. Respecting each other is key to harmonious living with others.
If you’re already living with others and experiencing a lot of conflict and frustration, perhaps it’s time for a proper house meeting. You should hear everyone’s views on topics we discuss below, especially #7 and #9.
Start off by giving everyone an opportunity to suggest talking points and share main frustrations. They can drop anonymous notes in a hat and you can read them out one by one. Then everyone can share views and you can create a set of house rules and a roommate chore chart together.
Remember, if you include people in decision making, it’s easier to get their buy in. It’s true for the office and for your flat!
2) Pick a Communication Method
Part of the house rules can be to clarify how all housemates will communicate important information. It won’t work if one individual keep sending emails to everyone, but most roomies check their inboxes only once a week.
Research and pick the platform that will be most efficient for you as a group. Will you use an existing chat app and form a group? Just remember not to spam everyone with funny cat videos, or they’ll leave the group. Or is an app like Enzo sufficient, since all relevant information can be viewed or shared and be available in the palm of your hand?
3) Get Everyone Working on One Calendar
Another aspect Enzo can help with is providing a calendar where everyone’s activities can be shown. This is vital to avoid people organizing a party and study group on the same evening.
You can have a calendar on the fridge or use Google Calendars. But a dedicated app makes it easier to keep flat-related activities in one place. You can also add other details such as chores and when they’re due.
4) Everything Must Have Its Place
While some roommates love order, others enjoy living in chaos and clutter. That’s a recipe for disaster. So, who’s approach is best?
This is where respect comes in. Furthermore, while personal spaces like rooms can be disorganized, it’s best to keep order in the rest of the house. This prevents anyone looking for the remote or not finding a mixing bowl or the cleaning detergent.
To make it easy for everyone to help keep order—even if they don’t really care about it—let tools, equipment and general items that everyone uses have allocated storage places. You can even label cupboards for good measure. No one will have the excuse of not knowing where to place an item after using it and there will be less chance of the coffee table becoming the general storage area.
5) Have a Meal Plan
One of the main talking points among roommates should be how you’ll manage mealtimes. Roommates may have different preferences for meals and diets. However, it’s much cheaper if everyone buys ingredients and prepares meals together. So, at least consider creating a joint meal plan.
Alternatively, discuss and create a practical plan that will give everyone access to appliances and fridge space as and when they need it.
Tips and talking points to consider:
- Will each person have a different time slot to use the oven?
- Is it necessary to label food items with the owner’s name?
- Which ingredients do you buy in bulk because everyone uses it?
- Who will clean up after everyone’s done for the day? Or does each roommate take the responsibility once or twice a week?
6) Use Lists for EVERYTHING
Lists will become everyone’s best friend, because it streamlines many home management processes.
Instead of expecting everyone to clean according to your expectations, make a list of the cleaning tasks necessary for each room. Then you can easily allocate them and make sure you maintain a sanitary environment.
You can’t simply assume everyone will jump in and help. Some roommates will simply sit back and have others do the work. A list helps you organize the team. From getting the post to watering plants, it’s best to have a list and discuss who will perform which chore. Also have due dates.
An important chore is shopping. As mentioned above, does each flat mate organize their own meals or will you prepare and eat together? Even with the former option you may need to buy items like milk or cleaning products in bulk. Discuss the list together on a regular basis and let someone get the necessary.
Enzo tip: having routines are very helpful in putting these lists to good work. Determine how often you need to shop for the house and get into the routine, so everyone knows when it’s time to check what items need to be restocked. It helps to prevent one person having to continuously remind the others of what needs to be done.
7) Be Clear About Home Maintenance
Cleaning the home may not be the only responsibility of flat mates. Depending on the agreement and contracts, you may expect others to help with maintenance such as cleaning gutters or replacing HVAC filters.
Or do you charge a bit more rent and have experts do it on everyone’s behalf? Make this clear in your initial discussion before someone moves in.
8) Manage Finances Effectively from the Start
Another topic you can’t avoid during those first conversations is money.
Of course, you’ll get monthly rent. But there are always additional expenses that flat mates end up taking on together. Think takeout night or buying a new couch together. Or perhaps you decide to get some professional cleaners to deep clean the space once every six months. What’s the easiest way to get the bills paid and make sure everyone gave their share?
Some people like drawing up a spreadsheet but this is where bill sharing apps come in handy.
9) Talk About Security
Even if you know and trust your roommates, you can’t be too laid back about security. There may come a day where the difficult roommate in the house forgets his or her wallet in an Uber. However, they may just suspect you as roommates for taking it. Also, with multiple people’s friends and family visiting from time to time, you can’t keep an eye on everyone’s actions all the time.
Rather make sure all doors can lock efficiently and ask the flatmates to keep room doors locked when they’re out. You may also want to provide security boxes in each room for personal valuables.
10) Become Friends—If You Can
That’s a lot of organization! And you were simply looking forward to having fun sharing your space with others! Unfortunately, any joint living environment requires some guidelines and policies.
But don’t take the fun out completely.
Part of home management is to create spaces where people feel welcome. That will be much more of a reality if you and your roommates get along well. And the more you build your interpersonal relationships with each other, the more that becomes a possibility. It’s easier to understand and respect someone when you know them a little better.
So, organize a movie night or have dinner together once a week. Or perhaps a board game night is what will help you relax in each other’s company a bit more?
Give Yourself the Edge with Enzo
Managing a group of people is difficult, whether it’s in the office, or the people you live with. But Enzo takes away so much stress related to home management. From chore reminders to calendars to settling bills, it’s all in one place.
Download it now for free to check out all the features.