How to Get Your Apartment Ready for New Roommates

By Alicia Geigel

There’s an age-old saying that goes something like, “when one door closes, another one opens.” Living with a roommate while in college is one of the only predictable things about the college experience, and throughout your time in college, you’ll more than likely experience your fair share of roomies. While you may have thought your freshman year bestie was in it for the long run, differences in lifestyle or drastic changes could put you back in the market for seeking a new roommate.

When the time comes that you have a new roommate coming to your apartment, you want to be prepared for their arrival. Here’s six simple ways you can get your apartment ready for a new roomie and make the transition smooth for both of you!

Roommate Finder: How to Get Your Apartment Ready for New Roommates

1. Go Back to the Design Basics: After one roommate leaves, they often leave their personal touches and styles on the physical space of the apartment, including the kitchen, living room, and bathroom. As all of these areas are shared spaces, you don’t want one person’s glaring style taking over, which leaves the other person feeling left out and like they don’t have an input.

Before your new roommate makes it to move-in day, go through each of those spaces and strip it down to its original look as much as you can. This means taking down artwork that might have been theirs, painting over their unique wall patterns, etc. Basically, you want your spaces to be more neutral so your roommate feels welcome to add their decorations too.

2. Work on Their Room: Similar to how your old roommate might have left their mark behind in the shared spaces of your apartment, they more than likely did this (and arguably more) in their bedroom.

Before your new roommate arrives, try to make their bedroom as neutral as possible by cleaning up any leftover decorations or design choices left behind by your old roomie. This could be wall art, wall paint, wallpaper, etc., and could even include furniture or small decor items they may have left behind. In this sense, you’re making your roommate’s room feel as blank as possible, so they can style it the way they want.

3. Have Your Pantry Stocked: While you may feel comfortable with running low on grocery items or having a limited selection of snacks, dinners, etc., your roommate most likely will not feel the same way- different strokes for different folks, right? Your new roommate more than likely will come with some food and snacks to last a few days, but in terms of long-term food items, they will probably be lacking.

In this case, it is important to stock up your pantry with food that your roommate can have for at least the first week they’re settling in. This can include breakfast foods like cereal, oatmeal, eggs, toast, etc., lunch foods like bread, deli meat and cheese, chips, salads, protein bars, and dinner foods like pasta, sauce, rice, chicken, soup, etc.

4. Talk Through Ground Rules: Establishing ground rules is the first thing you should do when your new roommate arrives. Effectively communicating what you believe is fair in terms of sharing a living space can help to avoid any misconceptions and blow-out arguments in the future.

Ground rules can include determining who does chores (such as taking out the trash, cleaning the bathroom, doing the dishes, etc.), when and where to have friends over, respecting quiet hours, etc. Your roommate may have a different opinion or perspective on some of the rules, so be open to hearing them out and compromise if you need to.

5. Establish a Monthly Budget: One very important element about living with someone, especially if you are in an apartment/house, is figuring out how to split up living expenses like rent/amenities/cable and internet.

To make splitting bills easier, put together a chart or spreadsheet of expenses that each person owes to organize payments and keep track of who pays what. The spreadsheet can include rent, electricity, water, cable/internet, the due date for each bill, the amount needed to be paid (if split, per person), and the person responsible for the bill. Taking on adult responsibilities and figuring out how to effectively split bills can be difficult but it will definitely save you any kind of money-related trouble in the future.

6. Schedule a Roomie Date: As your roommate is getting adjusted to their new living situation, they may feel overwhelmed and even homesick at points. As a way to properly welcome your new roomie and make them feel confident about their living situation, set up a day or night for you guys to hang out. Figure out what their schedule is like and make a plan to go to a party, have a movie night, or even go on an adventure around campus! Doing this not only can help you get to know your roommate, but it’s also a great way to create a better, closer bond with them.

Going from living with an old roommate to a stranger can be a large adjustment, and at times, prove to be difficult. If you do your best to make them feel welcome from the start and communicate effectively, you’ll more than likely have a good experience!

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