Uni has started. Yes, freedom is beautiful. But sharing is inevitable too.
The reality is, you’re going to be sharing a kitchen and bathroom with complete strangers for an entire year. We all know it’s pretty daunting, but it’s all part of the university lifestyle which you’ll get used to in no time…
Whether it’s your first ever time house-sharing, or you’ve done it before, our tips will help you to lay down the law nice and early so that you and your housemates all get along swimmingly!
1. Just be clean
I know it’s an obvious one, but we can’t emphasise it enough. Be the cleanest person you can possibly be, and you won’t make any enemies. You might think you’re leaving the tiniest amount of washing up next to the sink, but when all six of your housemates do the same, it can easily get out of hand.
Passive aggressive dishes-related post-it notes in the kitchen are the norm in student houses but to keep things amicable, always clean up after yourself, and don’t give anyone a reason to whinge about you. And don’t be that person who refuses to wash a cup because it’s not theirs.
Alternatively, if you’re stuck with messy housemates who refuse to follow the simple rules above, it might be a good idea to create a rota system to establish some order and organisation.
2. Exercise bathroom patience
Chances are you’re not going to have an en suite in every bedroom, so sharing a bathroom is something you’re going to have to get used to. If you want to keep your sanity (and not fall out with every single person you live with), keep your bathroom patience.
If you need the loo and someone is having a shower, just take a deep breath and do something to take your mind off it until they’re finished. Getting stressed out about the bathroom is not going to make for easy living, so keep your cool – or work out a shower schedule that suits everyone.
3. Make time for housemate bonding
Whether you’re living with your best mates or moving in with new people, making time to get to know your housemates properly is essential. If you find the only time you see them is when you’re making dinner in the kitchen, then plan a house outing.
An important part of getting to know your housemates is to understand and respect their personal values, rather than assuming others will share the same values. For example, things like sharing, going into your room, letting other housemates know if you’re going to be out all night, or if you have a friend staying over.
Get some fresh air by taking the bus up to Otley, go grab some food at Trinity Kitchen or get competitive down at Roxy Lanes – it’ll help ease any tensions in the house and build stronger friendships.
4. Don’t hog the washing machine
Before Sunday becomes a weekly battle for who is going to get the washing machine first, try and spread your loads out throughout the week. And always remember to collect your washing when it’s done! There’s nothing worse than trying to put your clothes in the wash and finding a whole load of wet washing still in there.
5. Swap speakers for headphones
You might be tempted to blast some upbeat music for inspiration as you tidy your room, but if your housemate upstairs is trying to revise they might not appreciate it so much. In this case, always go with the headphones, or at least be polite and ask if they mind the noise.
6. Don’t use the group chat for arguments
The first rite of passage for any house share is the creation of a group chat for the discussion of any house-related issues. Use it to organise house meals, choose that night’s movie but never, ever use it to bring up grievances.
Tone of voice does not translate well over text and it will always lead to disaster. If you have something to say, make sure you say it face-to-face to avoid any misunderstandings.
7. Buy loo roll (and other things)
You might think you can slide through the year without buying any loo roll and no one will notice, but let us tell you now, they definitely will. And they will resent you for it. It can be easy to forget, so buy a 30 multi-pack at the start of the year and put it to the back of your mind.
Keep a kitty between you to share the cost of things like milk, bread, teabags, coffee, sugar, loo roll, bin liners etc as a house. Shopping for shared house essentials is important, especially when you’re up to use the loo at 3am and someone just used the last of the bog roll!
8. Split the bills
If you’re living in a house without bills included, you’re going to have to learn to divvy it all up and make sure everyone’s paying their share. It’s not fair if the responsibility lies with one person; all bills like water, gas and electricity should be split equally. You can keep track of everything in a spreadsheet, as it shows clearly what’s owed and what’s been paid.