Today's post comes from my wonderful HelloBox partner for April! She is a graphic design major and has wonderful art! I'm super jealous of her skills!
Without further ado, here she is!
Hey everybody! This is Jess from the little blog of my namesake, jessbuckley.com, and since the lovely Sabra is moving into a new apartment soon, she asked me to write about my experience moving into my little house a few months back.
All in all, it's been one of the most fun and rewarding things I've ever experienced. But living with one or more other people, as everyone can imagine, can get to be extremely frustrating. Differences in personality, lifestyle, and organization is something everyone in the situation must take into account.
I cannot stress this enough, COMMUNICATION IS EVERYTHING.
For the first few months, you MUST have "family meetings," at least monthly. Establish CLEAR communication. No two-facedness, no walking on eggshells, no subtweeting. If there's something that bothers you about a situation, there should be a time allotted to discuss said problems. If you do not address them, they WILL get worse, and it could lead to a lot more frustration in the future.
Remember, what happens in the house, stays in the house. Don't complain to your friends (or twitter) about your roomies. Stuff gets back to people really quickly these days. The best way to get a problem solved is to address it head-on. Won't your roommate be hurt if she hears through the grapevine that you can't stand her? When if you had asked her politely to turn her music down, she most likely would have done so.
Make sure there's an equal load. If one person feels like they have to do too much work or decision making (in my house, I'm that person) they will ultimately snap (which I have done.) This also links back to the communication aspect. If one person does the dishes, another should vacuum the floor and so forth. Of course picking up after yourself is an obligation, but it's not enough. There are common surfaces that you will need to work together to keep clean as well, such as kitchen counters, hallways, and bathrooms.
Bond with your roommates! Dedicate a day or so a month to a "girl's day" or a "game night" this helps with communication too, and allows you to learn more about your roomies. Doing something fun together will help to alleviate any frustrations you may have.
Be there for them! You have to live with this person! If she comes home crying over a boy, crack out the brownie-batter ice-cream and tell her what a jerk you (most likely) thought he was! This will make all of you feel more loved and appreciated at home. Being able to talk things through with a roomie, even if you don't see them as BFF material, can make college life so much less stressful!
Set ground rules, but be open to interpretation. Not a big drinker? Maybe you can request your roommates not keep a lot of booze on hand. Don't really feel like watching all 50 years of Dr. Who? Try to set up a TV schedule. Compromising a little can go a long way to make everyone a little bit happier.
Other little tips:
Each roommate having separate dishes is a good way to make sure all the dishes get done! Easy to tell who used them, and easy to tell who needs to do them.
Make a "chore chart" and have each roomie sign off their name for the chore they completed. This will ensure that the housework is distributed evenly.
And last but not least, HAVE FUN!