Living with roommates is a reality many of us face at some point in life. Whether it’s by choice or motivated by finances, having a housemate can be a wonderful experience! You can lower living costs, share household responsibilities, help with pet care and lean on one another while maintaining the kind of freedom and flexibility single service members need to thrive. However much you may like or dislike your housemate, learning to effectively share living space will take some getting used to. So, how can you make living with a roommate into a positive experience instead of entering “housemate hell”? AHRN.com has put together the best organization tips and tools to keep the roommate peace!
Establish Ground Rules and Boundaries from the Get-Go
Before we get to effectively organizing shared space, it’s important to push aside fears of conflict and ensure your roommate is aware of your preferences and boundaries. If you have a few pet peeves that will put you into a crazy rage – get it out into the open right away! There’s no room for passive aggressiveness in small, shared spaces.
Tips for your Entryway
A simple key hook, bowl or compartmentalized tray for keys, IDs, keycards and other everyday items can help you stay organized, on time, and avoid blaming one another (or your pets) for missing basics.
A shoe shelf or basket along with a coat and bag hanger will also be useful if you don’t have a coat closet. If you do have a coat closet, and you’re dealing with uniform staples, try double hanging a closet rod over or under the existing one. You’ll easily double your space.
Creating a simple “inbox” near the entry for each person’s mail will keep bills in check and maintain a sense of privacy.
De-Clutter the Kitchen
First, refer to the first rule – make sure everyone understands your boundaries. Maybe you’ll choose to share pots and pans, but not food cabinet space. Or, perhaps you don’t want anyone touching your favorite coffee mug. No matter your preferences, organize for the sake of your sanity. Give everything a designated place, and then label if necessary. It can be extremely frustrating to have no room to cook due to a cluttered counter top space.
You can maximize the space you do have by hanging hooks on the walls, pot racks, a Lazy Susan and installing tiered shelving in cabinets.
You also might want to designate refrigerator shelves and bins by assigning personal space and shared areas.
Invest in a dry-erase board to leave reminders, messages and phone numbers for one another – especially if you’re on opposite schedules.
Balance Your Bathroom
Sharing a bathroom can be a touchy subject. Differences in your standards for cleanliness will be magnified tenfold and many personal items are on full display. Once again – designate space and be forthright! Then, consider carrying a tote to and from your bedroom space to keep bathroom counter space clear. If you want to create some storage, you can try hanging caddies on the back of the bathroom door, the shower or from a secondary curtain rod along the side of the shower.
Whether you’re sharing bedroom or can afford a little privacy, there are ways to make the most of your it. Start by utilizing the space under your bed. Bed risers and totes will help you get out-of-season clothing, bulky gear and other items out of your closet and off your walkway. Then, make the most of your walls and vertical areas. Hanging caddies or shoe organizers, removable wall hooks and tiered shelving will help you keep away the clutter and make the room feel more spacious.
Despite differences in lifestyle, habits and preferences, organizing a shared space is possible, practical and beneficial to everyone involved. Good communication remains at the center of good household organization and will help you maintain a considerate, successful roommate relationship.
We want to know:
What part of your home do you NEED to be organized?