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Tips for Cleanliness When Sharing a Bedroom With Your Roommate

By Kaitlin Hurtado

Living with roommates has plenty of upsides and downsides. There's the opportunity to lower your monthly rent and the opportunity to live with your best friend. There's also the opportunity to clash on a variety of topics: having guests over, whether or not to share certain items, and most importantly, how to keep your shared living space clean. With two separate schedules -- and often two differing views on the definition of clean -- it can get pretty difficult to keep your bedroom clean when living with a roommate. Here are a few key tips for cleanliness when it comes to sharing a bedroom with roommates.

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Establish a standard of "clean"

Roommates will likely have different expectations of "clean." So, establish a standard of what a clean bedroom is to you so that when someone cleans, they clean to that standard. While a roommate may actually spend time cleaning and say they're done, the other roommate may look at it and say the space still needs cleaning.

Communication is key when it comes to maintaining a clean bedroom when sharing it with a roommate. One roommate may be perfectly fine with the current level of mess -- clothes placed throughout the room, some dirty dishes on surfaces -- while the other roommate hates to see any item where it isn't supposed to be. Communicating with your roommate as early as possible to establish what each person's definition of clean is key. Not only will you better understand what each person expects from the space, but it can help you shape a cleaning schedule that works for both of you.

Assign cleaning duties and a schedule

Ideally, you and your roommate will split up cleaning duties so that no one is stuck with cleaning duty after cleaning duty. There are a few ways that roommates tend to split up cleaning duties so that it's split evenly among roommates.

One idea is to have alternating weeks where one person will clean one week, the other person the next, and so on. This way is fairly easy to remember as it's just a matter of remembering who is in charge of cleaning for the week.

Another idea that works for busier roommates is to split up cleaning duties every week and alternate those duties every week or month. For example, someone will vacuum and dust and the other will clean out the bathroom, the next week, these duties will be exchanged. This method works for roommates that don't want to spend a bulk of time deep cleaning their shared spaces but would rather spend a little time every week on a designated task.

Once you have a schedule set up for cleaning, you may also want to set up a detailed checklist. This checklist can help show what needs to be cleaned, especially when you and your roommate have different definitions of clean. It also can help ensure that both of you are cleaning the same way, week after week. As time passes and you both are used to clearing that checklist week after week, those cleaning duties will be your new normal and hopefully, no checklist is needed.

Keep up your individual cleaning duty

When you do create a cleaning schedule, it's important to also understand each person still has the individual duty to clean up after themselves. Just because one person is on cleaning duty for the week, doesn't mean the other person can create their own messes and expect the other person to clean up for them because it's not their week to clean up after themselves.

Not only is it disrespectful to make a mess and leave it with the intention for someone else to clean it, but it can also create unnecessary tension between roommates. Each person should still be cleaning up after themselves, putting clothes in the right places, throwing out their trash, and so on.

Act as if every week is your time to clean when it comes to picking up after yourself -- you wouldn't want to pick up after your roommate's clothes and dirty dishes when it's your turn to clean your shared bedroom, would you? Remember that small messes add up and try to do your part in keeping your room clean, even when it's not necessarily your week to clean.

Be flexible

With more than one person sharing a bedroom, there's more than one schedule to consider when it comes to keeping up the cleaning schedule you made. It's important to be mindful of each other's schedules and communicate when you can't keep up the cleaning schedule.

For example, one roommate may be having a hard week -- they have a lot of shifts at their job, an important assignment or exam coming up -- and the last thing on their mind is probably cleaning your shared bedroom. Instead of getting angry at your roommate for not being able to keep up with their cleaning duties, try to understand their situation and what you would ask for if you were in their position. Offer to take up the cleaning duties for them in exchange for them doing yours the following week, or when things ease up for them.

Also, leaving the mess for extended periods of time can just make the space messier and leave you both unhappy.

When sharing a bedroom, it's important to maintain open communication and a clear cleaning schedule when it comes to keeping your shared bedroom clean.


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