College Roommate Tips

Working From Home With Roommates

By Ashley Paskill

Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, more and more people are working from home. This is remaining true, even as more companies are returning to in-person work. With this rise, you and your roommate may both be working from home, which can present challenges. Knowing how to make things work so you can be productive during your workday is crucial.

Roommate Tips: Working From Home With Roommates

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Create a schedule

One of the most important things you and your roommate can do is create a schedule for your shifts. Know what times you each have meetings and calls so you can avoid interrupting. Try to plan lunchtime for the same time as your roommate so you can eat together. Having a schedule with set times for working helps you minimize distracting each other and can help you both keep a work-life balance. You may not always stick to the schedule perfectly, but having one in place can help you and your roommate stay focused and motivated.

Set up an office

You and your roommate having your own separate workspaces can help eliminate distractions. Have things on hand such as chargers, office supplies, and desk accessories to help maximize productivity. Make sure you have everything set up before your day starts so you do not have to ask your roommate where something could be and have your roommate do the same to avoid distracting you. If having two separate spaces for your desks is not feasible for your living arrangement, consider using noise-canceling headphones so you do not get distracted by each other’s phone calls and meetings. With this, also ensure that you have a place to work and a place for life. Eat meals away from your desk.

Dress for work

It may be tempting to roll out of bed and just work in your pajamas. However, changing into work attire, even if it is not the fanciest outfit, can signal to coworkers that you are in work mode. At the end of the workday, change into more comfortable clothes to tell your roommate that you are available to talk and do whatever you want to do outside of work. This helps to create a boundary with your roommate so they do not distract you. You will also feel more motivated to work since you are dressed for the occasion and will feel the part.

Treat roommates like coworkers

Ultimately, you and your roommate are both trying to get work done. Reframe your thoughts to think of them as a coworker during business hours so that you can both focus on getting work done. Use headphones to play music, be as quiet as possible when moving around, and avoid distracting them unless it is absolutely necessary. On the flip side, do not take it personally if they are unable to talk at a moment when they are trying to get a work task done. Respect requests to talk about things later, just like you would expect them to respect this wish if you made it.

Make morning coffee

In the morning, make it a point to make coffee for yourself and your coworker so you can be energized for your workday. If you find this to be overwhelming, you may even decide to take turns making coffee each day with your roommate. Have any fixings your roommate likes on hand so that you can both have what you like. Not only will your roommate appreciate your thoughtfulness, but you can also have some coffee. It is a win-win situation all around!

Communication is key

Living with a roommate requires communication, and having them working in the space with you requires a little extra communication. Share your schedules and avoid having others come over to work without letting each other know. Make use of chat apps and websites to stay informed throughout the day. Set aside moments where you can talk face-to-face and check in with each other to help alleviate the lack of other coworkers in your space. Just know the signals and schedule so you know when to not disturb your roommate.

Share communal spaces

Unless you have a meeting that needs to remain confidential, make use of communal spaces when working with your roommate. This will help you feel like you are actually in the office. Staying in your bedroom can wreak havoc on your mental health. Set up desks in a living room so you and your roommate can keep each other company throughout the day. If you want to go to a private place to take a meeting or a phone call, let your roommate know so they know not to disturb you. You may even want to take turns or create a schedule for using certain rooms so you can change scenery throughout the day.

Working from home with a roommate who is doing the same thing can be difficult, but keeping communication open and working together will help you be successful with getting work tasks completed.

How to Make the Most of a Short-Term Summer Roommate

By Kaitlin Hurtado

Many college students experience a variety of roommate situations during their college years, from random roommates in their freshman year dorms to living with close friends in their later college years. Another common type of roommate situation for college students are short-term summer roommates. You may opt to sublease another apartment in between leases or your roommate may have sublet their share of the apartment to another while they traveled elsewhere for the summer months.

If you are lucky, these short-term summer roommates may be someone you are already familiar with, such as a classmate that mentioned needing summer housing or a friend of a friend. However, your short-term summer roommate may be a complete stranger to you prior to move-in.

Like with any roommate situation, there are things you can do to make the experience easier for everyone involved and keep any issues to a minimum. Keep reading for tips on how to make the most of a short-term summer roommate.

College Roommates: How to Make the Most of a Short-Term Summer Roommate

Create a set of roommate guidelines
Regardless of how long you and your short-term summer roommate will be living together, you will want to create some roommate guidelines for the both of you to live by during your time together. It may seem like extra work if you are not going to be sharing a space for more than a few weeks, but establishing some guidelines can get you and your short-term summer roommate on the same page and minimize the amount of clashing you can experience while living together.

The sooner you can create guidelines, the better. This doesn’t mean you have to create an in-depth handbook that covers any possible issue, but you should definitely discuss different talking points that can make your time together headache-free. Some things you will want to consider may include:
– Guest policy. Discuss how often can people come over, how many people are allowed over, and if guests are able to spend the night.
– Cleaning duties. Discuss how each roommate is responsible for the cleanliness of the apartment, from taking out the trash to cleaning common areas like the kitchen and living room.
– Parking. Depending on where you are living, you may want to discuss your parking situation, especially if you are splitting a designated parking space among several roommates.

Getting some guidelines established prior to moving in, or in your first couple of days together, can get the tough discussions out of the way and make way for a carefree summer together.

Start a crash course on getting to know each other
You may already be familiar with your short-term summer roommate depending on the situation, but you may also have no clue who you are going to be living with for the next couple of months. The downside of a short-term roommate is that you will not get all the time to get to know each other as you live together for a longer period of time – the busy months of summer will fly by before you know it. Rather than accepting you are going to be living with a near-stranger in close quarters for a couple of months, get to know each other.

If you know who you are going to live with a few weeks in advance, use the time to reach out to your soon-to-be summer roommate to get to know them a little better prior to move-in. Just having a few conversations to become more comfortable can help put your mind at ease. If you happen to live in the same area already, you can also plan to meet up once or twice in person before you move in to get acquainted.
Living with a complete stranger can be daunting for anyone – getting the opportunity to become acquainted with your roommate before you actually have to share a living space can help eliminate some of that anxiety for both you and your roommate.

Don’t force a friendship
As much fun as it is to live with a close friend, it’s not for everyone. While you do not want to live with a complete stranger for your summer living situation, you shouldn’t force a friendship between you and your summer roommate. You or your roommate may be super busy between school, work, and their personal lives, leaving little time to foster a close relationship during the limited time you two have together.

With that being said, you should not expect your roommate to spend all their time with you, and they shouldn’t expect the same of you. Yes, you may instantly click and become friends, but it is completely normal to not be more than acquaintances as you spend a very short amount of time living together.
Short-term summer roommates are just one of many types of roommate situations you may experience during your college years. With these tips in mind, you can make the situation stress-free for you and your short-term roommate.

Five Tips to Help You Conquer Spring Cleaning With Roommates

By Alicia Geigel

Let’s face it – unless you were born a certified clean freak, no one truly enjoys spring cleaning. While the onset of warmer weather, longer days, and more sunshine can definitely be motivating in a lot of ways, it does not always conjure up inspiration among people (especially young ones) to get their hands dirty and do some much needed spring cleaning. Though cleaning can be a bore and most definitely a chore on an individual level, doing it with roommates can help the process go a lot smoother and faster with the right amount of teamwork and a great Spotify playlist.

As spring is in full force, its time to get to giving your shared living space a refreshing, revitalized cleaning. If you’re looking for starters on how to get your group of roomies motivated, here are five simple, stress-free ways to accomplish your spring cleaning goals together.

Student Roommates: Five Tips to Help You Conquer Spring Cleaning With Roommates

1. Evaluate the Mess: Every large cleaning project starts with a moment of realization that cleaning has to be done. Before you and your roommates jump into scrubbing the floors, vacuuming carpets, and cleaning out the fridge, evaluate exactly what you need to clean beforehand. Start with the common, shared spaces before going back and forth between private bedrooms. Once everyone has an idea of which rooms need some TLC, determine how much cleaning each space needs to plan out the kind of job it is going to be, as well as how many people will be needed to do it. From there, you can get your supplies together and get started.
2. Divide and Conquer: When tackling a cleaning project in a shared apartment or home, it makes the most sense to assign each roommate with a different task to effectively break up the work and get it done in a timely fashion. While one person focuses on the bathroom, another can get started on the kitchen. Breaking up your group of roomies and assigning each person to a specific duty also makes each person take responsibility for their role in the messiness (and cleanliness) of the space, which is great especially if the workload tips more in one direction over another.
3. Have a Goal in Mind: Once you get started on spring cleaning, it can be difficult to know when to stop and quit for good. While it is not bad to have a pristine, clean home space, you don’t want to burn anyone, including yourself, into the ground by going overboard on what you’re doing. To avoid this, establish a goal with your roomies on a standard of cleanliness that is comfortable and suitable for everyone, as well as the timeliness of when each person wants to finish the cleaning. Establishing these needs and goals with one another will make the process easier and also help everyone practice open communication, which will pay off in the future when a potential conflict arises.
4. Keep It Fun: Cleaning is a chore already, and it can be even more boring and exhausting when it is taken too seriously. While spring cleaning is important for everyone, it does not need to be a daunting task that makes everyone miserable by the end of the day. Turn the cleaning spree into a bonding experience with your roomies by blasting a fun playlist, taking breaks to laugh and talk in between tasks, take funny pictures, rearranging the furniture, hanging up artwork, etc. Cleaning does not need to be reduced to the physical act of getting dirt and grime out of your home, it can also be a cleaning of bad vibes and negativity- so use the opportunity to do both!
5. Reward Yourselves Afterwards: After a day of hard work and cleaning, end the day on a solid, positive note by rewarding you and your roomies. This can come in many different forms, but just do something that will make everyone feel good, accomplished, and happy after taking the time to curate a healthy, shared space together. Agree on starting a new Netflix series accompanied with popcorn and sweet treats, decide on a fun place to get take out from, go on an evening walk to get some fresh spring air. Rewarding yourself with your roommates will not only maintain the good energy everyone established during the day, but it will also inspire you to want to clean more routinely.

While the time of spring cleaning can be especially overwhelming, it can be a carefree, relaxed project to do with your roommates. Establishing a plan is the best way to start things off, but there is always room for improvisation along the way, so go with the flow of your roommates to decide what the best approach is for everyone. Once you’re finished cleaning, don’t forget to reconnect with your roomies and reward everyone for their great teamwork!

What to Do if Your Roommate Can't Pay Rent

By Kaitlin Hurtadol

The biggest benefit to having a roommate is making rent more affordable when you can split the cost. In an ideal world, all roommates will pay their share of their rent in a timely manner as agreed upon, with no issues for the entire time you live together, however, this isn’t always the case. Life happens and for whatever reason, you may find yourself in a situation where your roommate is unable to pay their share of the rent as promised. It’s a stressful situation for everyone involved, but you can’t just let the situation go by unsolved as it’s going to affect you as your name is on the lease as well. Keep reading on what to do when your roommate can’t pay rent.

Roommate Tips: What to Do if Your Roommate Can't Pay Rent

Stay calm and assess the situation
In the best case scenario, you have a good relationship with your roommate and they bring up their inability to pay their rent as soon as they are aware of the situation themselves. When you do become aware of the situation, it is important to stay calm as you figure out the best way to handle the situation.

If you are close with your roommate, such as being close friends outside of just a roommate relationship, you may be more comfortable coming to an agreement to temporarily cover their rent. If your roommate just got laid off, for example, you may opt to cover their rent as they find a new, steady job and get back on their feet on the condition that they can pay you back after a chosen time period.

However, if your roommate is a random match-up you found on a local ad calling for roommates or someone you don’t get along with, you may be more wary about their ability to pay you back should you offer to cover their share of the rent. If this is the case for you, you may opt to go straight to your landlord to figure out your options (and if you are truly responsible for their share of the rent).

Whatever approach you decide to take, make sure you make an effort to document everything along the way, from emails between your roommates and landlord, to bank statements showing any transactions regarding rent.

Check with your lease to verify if you’re liable to cover the rent
Once you have assessed the situation you are facing, refer back to your lease agreement to verify if you are responsible for making rent is paid in its entirety, not just your portion. In most roommate situations, you both will be listed on the lease agreement. Check the lease to see if the agreement has joint or several liability. If you and your roommate are jointly liable, you are both equally responsible for making sure the total rent is paid, regardless of whether or not you or your roommate are paying their individual portion. If you and your roommate are severally liable, you are only responsible for your portion of the rent, and it is your landlord’s responsibility to get the other portion of the rent from your roommate.

Speak with your landlord to discuss your options
You and your roommate aren’t the only renters that have found themselves in a situation where they are unable to pay rent, and your landlord has likely dealt with this situation before. Depending on the landlord, they may be able to offer options to help your situation.
Your landlord may agree to have your security deposit cover the portion of the rent that your roommate can’t pay.

Your landlord may also be more flexible when it comes to deferred rent or establishing a repayment plan. For example, your landlord may offer to let your roommate pay in installments over the course of a month rather than paying the rent in full at the beginning of the month. Or, they can allow your roommate to apply for rent relief if they find themselves facing financial hardship.

Evicting your roommate
If you happen to be the only person on lease and are not coming to an agreement with your roommate on them paying rent as promised, you may have to look into eviction to solve the issue at hand.

Tenant’s rights will vary depending on the state you are residing in, but doing a quick search on your state and “tenant handbook” or “tenant rights” can get you the information needed to navigate a possible eviction. Eviction can be a difficult process, so it may be something you consider as a last resort rather than the first solution you choose.

For example, if you and your roommate are both on the lease, you would not be able to evict them just because they aren’t paying rent. Your landlord will have to get involved to take action, and may have to evict you as well, which will affect your credit and your ability to rent in the future.

Finding out that your roommate can’t pay rent can be a stressful situation for anyone. With this information in mind, you can help yourself and your roommate find the best solution for your situation.

Why You And Your Best Friend Shouldn't Be Roommates

By Ashley Paskill

Having a roommate that you do not know can seem overwhelming and scary. If you and your best friend go to the same school or live in the same city, you may be tempted to be roommates. However, this may not be the best idea. Several issues may arise that may dampen your friendship, no matter how strong it is. Some friendships may survive, but there are reasons you should take at least some time to consider other roommate options.

Roommate Tips: Why You And Your Best Friend Shouldn't Be Roommates
Image: Karolina Grabowska via

Annoying habits

If you have never lived with your roommate or even had a sleepover with them, you may not know some of their habits that you do not see. Their room may be cluttered and they only clean when you come over. You may not know some of their habits, so at least having a conversation before moving in together can help you determine if it is worth the hassle of putting up with the habits. On the flip side, your own bad habits will be on display for your best friend to see. You were able to hide the habits before, but living together means that they will be exposed. If you are not ready for this, consider moving in with someone else.

Less space

While moving in together means you will see each other more frequently, this can lead to issues if you get into an argument with each other. When you got into arguments before, you could go your own separate ways to your own living space and cool off. If you live with each other, this becomes a lot more difficult since you are living in close quarters. Consider how many arguments you have had and how you have dealt with them before. You may also just need some alone time, even if you and your friend are not arguing. Think about yourself and your relationship with your friend. If you are someone who needs space, especially after a fight, consider a different living arrangement.

Money talks

When you live with a roommate, you have to talk about money. Rent and utility bills need to be paid, and grocery shopping needs to be done. It is likely that you and your best friend have never talked about financial topics before, but moving in together would require these conversations to take place. If bills are not paid or your friend owes you money, your relationship may be strained.

Distractions from tasks

Living with your best friend may seem like a dream come true because you will get to spend a lot of time together. This is true, but you will both have things like studying, chores, and other tasks that need to be done. If you and your friend can get these things done without distracting each other, great. If not, consider a different option. You need to be sure you are putting your schoolwork and other tasks first before having fun with your friend.

Boundaries and rules

Like with any roommate, you will need to set boundaries and rules with your best friend. Some people and friendships can handle setting these things in place, but for others, these things may seem like an attack on the friendship. Have a conversation with your roommate about rules and boundaries, including what things are shared and who does what chores. Know that you will both have to be firm with keeping these rules and boundaries. Setting boundaries and rules may seem like they would put a damper on your friendship, but not having these in place may do even more damage. If you are not comfortable having rules and boundaries in place, moving in with your best friend is not for you.

Missing out on opportunities

One of the best things about college is getting to meet new people and have new experiences. If you have your best friend as your roommate, you will miss out on meeting other people who may be your roommates otherwise. While you do know your best friend and know that you get along, part of growth comes from meeting new types of people and figuring out how to get along with different types of personalities. Just because you have other people as roommates does not mean that you cannot spend time with your best friend. Different people will allow you to experience new things and push you to grow in ways that spending time with the same people do not.

No one to vent to

Living with roommates has its struggles. If you live with your best friend, you will not be able to vent to your friend about your roommate issues as they are your roommate. This will leave you struggling to find someone to vent to. Even having other friends nearby is not the same as venting to your best friend. However, living with someone else allows your best friend to be someone you can vent to when things get tough.

Living with your best friend may seem great, but it likely will not be all that it cracks up to be. Struggles will occur that you have never faced, and this may strain your relationship.

Living with a Foreign Roommate

By Kaitlin Hurtado

For college students, living with roommates is fairly common. Everyone has a different roommate experience, some opt to live with their closest friends while others try their luck with complete strangers. Another roommate situation you may experience during your college years is living with a foreign roommate. Just like any roommate situation, living with a foreign roommate can come with plenty of new experiences for you during your college years. Keep reading for insight on what you can expect when living with a foreign roommate.

Student Roommates: Living with a Foreign Roommate

A language barrier may be your first obstacle
If your foreign roommate’s first language isn’t English, you may experience a language barrier if you don’t speak their language as well. Luckily enough, there are plenty of ways you can navigate a language barrier with the help of technology, from learning simple phrases through learning apps to using apps to get real-time translations during conversations.

Don’t look at the language barrier as an obstacle, but as an opportunity to learn a new language by getting the chance to learn and use it on a regular basis. The same could be said for your foreign roommate — they could use daily conversations with you as the basis for learning more English.

Learn about their culture (and accept it’s bound to come with differences)
While you and your foreign roommate may both speak the same language, you likely are going to have cultural differences during your time living together. From customs to the food they eat, living with a foreign roommate will give you exposure to an entirely different culture. Rather than analyzing how different you and your foreign roommate are, embrace your differences by taking the opportunity to learn about their culture while living with them. At the same time, you can also take the opportunity to teach them more about your own culture.

Getting to know your roommate will take some time, especially if you are encountering a language barrier. With patience and a genuine desire to learn and communicate, you can end up having an amazing roommate and experience living together.

Just like with any roommates, keep things clear with communication
When you are living with a roommate, you can expect to clash over certain situations, regardless of where they are from. Everyone has their own ways of doing things and the smallest issue of how you like to clean a certain area can escalate into a bigger problem among roommates. Just like with any roommate situation, you want to make sure you establish and maintain clear communication and boundaries with a foreign roommate.

If you do not even speak the same language, you may think that you can carry separate lives in the same space with no issues, however, leaving things left unsaid and hoping for the best can lead to a disaster. Make an effort to host open conversations about expectations and boundaries you both would like to maintain in your shared living space, from cleanliness to having guests over. Coming from different cultures and backgrounds, you are bound to have some different expectations surrounding your living space, so it’s important to get these types of conversations done as soon as possible to make your time together easier and more enjoyable.

Expect some homesickness
Imagine living away from home for months on end. If you moved further away from your hometown from college, you can understand the idea of homesickness and how it could affect you emotionally and mentally, and in turn, affect how you may behave around others. For your foreign roommate, homesickness can come and go often as they are far away from home and likely without their support system as they live abroad.

This doesn’t mean you have to be your roommate’s best friend and their ultimate source of support as they experience homesickness while they live with you, but it does mean it’s something you should expect and be understanding of. For example, you may notice your roommate feeling down after they miss out on something back home, such as a close friend or family member’s birthday. Offer to spend some time with them over a meal or a movie, or let them know you are up to listen if they need someone to talk or vent to. It may not seem like a lot of effort on your part, but to your roommate who is living abroad, having just one person to lean on for a moment can mean the world to them. Living abroad can be a fun but lonely experience for many.

Living with a foreign roommate may leave you apprehensive at first, especially when you know there is going to be a language barrier. Don’t let what you don’t know, or haven’t experienced yet, hold you back from getting a roommate experience you wouldn’t get anywhere else.

Renegotiating Your Apartment Rent Breakdown with Your Roommates

By Alicia Geigel

When living with roommates one of the several things that occupy your mind on a regular basis is paying bills and rent. No one looks forward to the day of the month when rent is due. Hopefully by the time rent is due you and your roommates have established a fair and effective way to split the rent, because it can get messy if not.

Sometimes in a renting situation, prices go up. This can include cable, internet, water, heat/air conditioning, electric, or even rent. Price increases can be attributed to a number of reasons, which could spark a conversation between you and your roommates about how to renegotiate your rent breakdown to adjust for these price changes.

Are you living with roommates? Looking for an effective, new way to split up the rent among everyone? Here are a few simple ways you can renegotiate your rent breakdown with your roommates, with fairness and without conflict!

College Roommates: Renegotiating Your Apartment Rent Breakdown with Your Roommates

1. Gather the Information You Need: Paying bills and rent relies on a knowledge of hard numbers, not guesses and estimations. Before you even start to try and split up payments, gather all the important information and documents you need in order to total the monthly living costs for everyone. This can include: rent, utilities like water and electric, internet and cable, subscription services, heating and air conditioning, food, etc. Get the numbers together for each category and make a spreadsheet that includes the category and the total monthly cost for each. Once you do this, everyone will have a clear idea of what the costs look like and will have a better place to start when splitting up the rent and renegotiating it.
2. Have an Open Conversation: Any discussion that involves money can get complicated and emotional at points. People want to make sure that what they are paying into something is fair and everyone is paying equally and accordingly. Once you have the numbers that total your monthly budget, sit down with your roommates and suggest different ways to split the costs of living. This can be done in a number of ways, such as splitting the cost by the number of people, splitting the cost by square footage per person, or splitting the cost by room. However you and your roommates decide to do this is up to your discretion, but be sure to hear everyone’s opinion and feedback on suggestions before leaping into any one decision. Each person has an equal say and share in what they think is fair and they should be treated as so!
3. Establish When Everyone Should Pay: Another element to factor in when splitting and renegotiating rent are pay dates. It is important for everyone to give their share of the rent payments in a timely manner, before the due date for each payment. It is always better to be a little early than run into a problem and be late on payments. Establish a payment schedule with your roommates to ensure each bill gets paid on time. A dry-erase board or a calendar could be helpful to remind everyone of important dates. Place the calendar or board on a wall in a space that is constantly occupied, such as a kitchen or living room, so you and your roommates can see it and be reminded of payments consistently throughout the month. If you trust your roommates enough, you can also give someone the responsibility of handling the money and making payments for things like subscription services or food, as the rent payments are typically issued per person if you’re living in a complex. If not in a complex, someone could be responsible for handling rent payments as well, but that is up to you and your roommates to decide!
4. Keep an Eye Out for Price Changes: As stated earlier, prices are always open to change. You typically will get a formal notice about a price change, whether it be for rent or something else connected to your living costs. Be sure to always look out in your email or physical mail for any information regarding a price change so you can discuss how to renegotiate your living costs accordingly.
5. Communicate Openly: A key to a healthy and stress free living situation with roommates relies on open communication. Always have an ear to listen to your roommates but also speak up if there is anything you disagree with or have a problem with. This could include having issues making monthly payments, splitting the rent, utilities usage, etc. If you don’t speak up, others don’t know how you feel and will live normally because they can’t read your mind. Encourage no-judgment, open communication with your roommates to maintain a peaceful living situation and ensure that payments can be made in a stress-free manner.

Splitting rent and renegotiating payments between roommates is typically one of the more difficult things to do. Adding and dividing up the costs in a fair way can be difficult, but if you follow these tips and tricks, you and your roommates will be able to do so calmly and effectively!

How to Still Have Privacy When Sharing a Room with a Roommate

By Alicia Geigel

Living with a roommate has its pros and cons, with the biggest nuisance being the lack of privacy that often comes with sharing a space. Privacy can become even more scarce when sharing a room with another person. Jointly living in a home or apartment is one thing, but sharing a room is a whole other level of closeness. Along with sharing common areas like the kitchen, bathroom, and living room, your most private space, aka your bedroom, is also jointly
lived in.

There could be several reasons why you are sharing a room with your roommate, whether it be a space issue or a financial one. While it may seem like there is no means to having privacy in this situation, there are a few simple ways to both share a room and still have a small sliver to call your own.

Are you sharing a room with your roommate? Is the lack of privacy driving you mad? Here are five simple ways you can make your space more private.

Student Roommates: How to Still Have Privacy When Sharing a Room with a Roommate

1. Try to keep your Possessions to a Minimum: One common issue when living with a roommate is the blurred lines between your items and the items of your roommate(s). Often, things like food, toiletries, or household appliances get used and mixed up, which can lead to frustration and conflict. Living in the same room can further complicate things. To avoid this, try to keep your possessions to a minimum-at least the possessions that are visible and in the way. Storage containers and storage furniture can help to organize your items and keep them out of the way of your roommate.

2. Invest in a Screen Room Divider: Depending on the size of your room, your space can feel very cramped and crowded. Simultaneously, your room can also feel less comfortable and, simply put, yours. To give your room a degree of separation, think about investing in a screen room divider. A screen divider adds a makeshift wall to your room, giving both you and your roommate some much-needed privacy, whether it be when you are changing clothes, hanging out with a friend, or unwinding after a long day.

3. Consider a Loft Bed: Remember earlier when I briefly mentioned the perks of storage furniture? While a loft bed does not offer optimal storage, it does give you a unique way to design the layout of your room and help you utilize your space better. A loft bed is like a bunk bed, but rather than having a bed on both the bottom and top, it has open space on the bottom for things like a desk or couch, with a bed on top. If your room allows for the space, a loft bed is a great option. You can have the privacy of being on another height in the room while relaxing or sleeping.

4. Make your Bed Private: In the case that you cannot get a loft bed or a screen divider for your room, another way to make your bed and living space more private is by purchasing something to cover up your bed, such as a canopy or a bed tent. Items like these are typically inexpensive and can help to give you a greater sense of privacy, whether you’re wanting a bit of alone time for studying or sleeping.

5. Establish Specific Hours to Have the Room to Yourself: If you and your roommate have exhausted all possible options, one easy last resort to consider is to establish specific hours for each person to have the room to themselves. It sounds controlling and dictator-like, but it could be a game-changer for the both of you. And since many public spaces on and around campus have WiFi, your “banishment” won’t be the end of the world for either of you – in fact, it may be a great opportunity to explore a park or go for walk.

Living with a roommate can be difficult enough, but sharing a room with them is a different level of closeness that can drive even the most level-headed to the brink of a breakdown. Though it can be difficult to compromise and live with your roommate in a room, there still are means to maintain privacy and have a space of your own. Whether it is by using a space divider or taking a step outside, you and your roommate can come to an agreement that works for the both of you.

5 Annoying Roommate Habits and How To Deal

By Ashley Paskill

Living with roommates, especially if it is your first time living with roommates, can be difficult. It is challenging living with different people you are used to who have habits that may be different than you are used to with your family. Learning how to cope with difficult roommate habits can help you improve your relationships with your roommates and give you peace of mind for navigating the semester.

Not doing chores

Roommates who do not do their fair share of chores can be difficult, especially if you are someone who likes to be clean and tidy. While different people have different ideas of what “clean” means, it is important to figure out common ground for how to make it work.

There are many ways you can navigate a roommate who does not keep up with chores. Create a schedule for chores. Have each roommate do a specific task or tasks that they volunteer for. Rotate which roommate does each chore and write them down so there is a visual. While it may be tempting to just do all of the cleaning and chores yourself, this will eventually lead to burnout, so be sure to share tasks and be upfront when things are not getting done.

Roommate Finder: 5 Annoying Roommate Habits and How To Deal

Ineffective communication

Communication is important in any relationship, and the relationship between you and your roommate(s) is no different. Your roommate may be passive-aggressive in their communication method by leaving post-it notes. They may not bring up issues that need to be resolved and might not communicate about anything at all.

When dealing with communication issues, it is better to be upfront and honest. Ask them why they made a comment or if there is an issue. As roommates, you should be comfortable enough with each other to speak up without fear of retaliation. Have a time each night where you can talk to your roommate(s) and get a feel for how things are on their end and share your thoughts as well. If your roommate still is not communicating effectively, consider bringing in a third party or finding a new roommate.

Invading privacy

Even if you are living with roommates, you deserve to have some privacy and not spend every waking hour with them. Your roommates may borrow your belongings without asking for permission or bang on the bathroom door, wondering when their turn for a shower is. They may decide to have friends over or have a party without checking with you first.

When dealing with privacy invasions, establish rules and boundaries. For example, have a rule that says that roommates must ask before entering another roommate’s room and must check before having friends over. While you and your roommates are friends, establish that it is okay for you and your roommates to have other friends. Label things in the fridge that are yours and have your roommate do the same, especially for things you do not want to share.

Not paying bills

As a college student, your budget is limited. If you live in an apartment or house, you have to pay rent, utilities, and other necessities on top of tuition, supplies, and groceries. You likely split these expenses with a roommate, but if your roommate is not paying their fair share, you may be forced to cover them so you are able to have what you need. However, this is unfair to you and your budget will decline as a result.

To deal with bills, make a spreadsheet of shared expenses. Make note of the cost of each, how much each roommate owes, how it will be paid, and the deadline. This way, there is no confusion and it is easier to keep track of. Avoid making purchases and assuming your roommates will want to chip in and hold onto receipts for agreed-upon purchases. Use apps and websites to help streamline the payment process. If a deadline is coming up, check in with your roommate to be sure the bill gets paid.

Unwanted noise

Whether a roommate slams doors or listens to their music too loudly at all hours of the day and night, having a noisy roommate can be a challenge. It can disrupt your studying and sleep, and your neighbors may be mad at everyone as a result of noise, even if it is not your fault.

Your roommate may not realize how loud they are being or that they are bothering you. Confront them honestly and calmly and ask them to be more mindful of you and their noise levels. Explain how the loud noises disrupt you (wake you up, disrupt your concentration, etc.). You may even want to establish a time when you and your roommates can listen to loud music.

Living with roommates can be a struggle at times, especially when their habits get on your last nerve. However, there are solutions you can do to make the situation better while maintaining the relationship with your roommate(s).

How to Cheer Up a Roommate When They Get a Bad Grade

By Kaitlin Hurtado

Everyone has a different roommate experience in college. For some, they live with best friends they consider a second family. For others, they live with people they consider casual friends with whom they can comfortably share a living space. Regardless of how close you are, you are more likely to see your roommate in their more vulnerable state as you share a living space with them. Whether it’s the latest bout of homesickness or stress for upcoming deadlines, you are probably going to be able to tell when your roommates are going through a tough time. Even if you aren’t best friends with them, it could be difficult to see someone feeling upset in close quarters and not being able to help them in some way.

As college students, you are bound to go through your ups and downs. A common “down” is getting a bad grade, regardless of how hard you studied or worked on an assignment. Your roommate could be going through the same thing, and you may have no idea how to help get their spirits up. Keep reading for tips on how to cheer up a roommate when they get a bad grade.

Roommate Tips: How to Cheer Up a Roommate When They Get a Bad Grade

Take on an extra chore or two
Sure, you may have your go-to methods of cheering up your closest friends when they’re down, but there’s something you can do to cheer up your roommate that others typically won’t be able to do – chores. Depending on how you and your roommates decided to split up housework, everyone is likely going to have one chore that they absolutely dread doing over any of their other assigned chores.
If your roommate is feeling down about a bad grade, offer to cover a chore (or all of them) for the week. While it may seem completely unrelated to the problem at hand, it can go a long way to cheer up your roommate. One, it shows that you recognize they are feeling down and care for their wellbeing. Two, it takes one thing – no matter how small – off their plate. By taking one chore off their plate, they can have that much more time to themselves to destress, or even study toward the next round of tests they are going to go through.

Offer solutions
If your roommate is feeling down about a particularly bad grade, help them find a solution for their troubles. Do they struggle with keeping on top of their studies? Offer to have a study session with them. While you may not be able to offer academic support if you don’t share the class or same major, you can definitely offer some emotional support as you sit by their side at your kitchen or coffee table and study at the same time.
For some, having someone to sit by while they study helps keep themselves accountable, and also can help alleviate the stress and anxiety that may come with studying or working on a project alone.

Take them out for their favorite meal
Treating yourself doesn’t just have to be limited to celebrating or giving yourself a reward for a job done well. It can also be for times when you are feeling down and need a pick-me-up. If your roommate is sulking over a bad grade, take them out for their favorite meal or sweet treat. Not only will it take their mind off of the issue at hand, but it’ll give them a chance to destress and unwind, something much-needed after they had likely spent hours stressed over studying.
It doesn’t have to be a lavish dining experience, something as simple as going to your favorite go-to spot for a happy hour of appetizers and drinks can be the perfect solution to cheering up your roommate.

Have a roomie night in
Rather than taking your roommate out of the house to get their mind off of things, set up a roommates’ night-in to give them the opportunity to destress from the comfort of their own home. Gather their favorite snacks and drinks and plan a night of video or board games, or binge-watching their favorite TV show. Go the extra mile and invite some of their close friends over to help cheer them up even more. The night doesn’t have to be extravagant or perfectly planned, but setting some time aside to cheer up your roommate and help get their mind off their bad grade can mean the world to them when they are feeling down.

You don’t have to be best friends with your roommate to recognize when they are feeling bad about something. Even if it’s something as small as a bad grade on a paper, one sad roommate can bring down the whole vibe of the apartment, especially if said roommate is the go-to jokester. With these ideas in mind, you can have at least one way to help cheer up a roommate when they get a bad grade.