Making the Roommate Lifestyle Easier

bigstock-Young-women-cleaning-out-their-30785450Any time you live with another person there is going to be conflict. When you combine two people with different personalities, backgrounds and lifestyles, there is going to be a clash here and there. But, it is always nice to have someone split the rent and utilities with — especially in California. If you’re picking a roommate for your new place or you already have one, here are a few tips for making the roommate lifestyle a little easier on both of you.

Assign Chores

It might make you feel like you are in grade school, but having a chore chart will stop a lot of fights about who needs to clean what. Sit down with your roommate and create a chore chart based on what chores each of you will do for the week. If you want to change it up or make it fun, play a game — such as picking a chore from a jar or a Wheel of Fortune inspired chart.

Organize Shared Spaces

If you share a bathroom, you need to organize it. Consider putting a second shower rod inside the shower so you can hang personal shower items for each of you. This will reduce the clutter on the sides of the tub and give each of you your own space. Use the space behind cabinet doors and the bathroom door as well. The less cluttered common living spaces are, the easier.

Set Ground Rules for the Kitchen

Unless you have a massive gourmet kitchen, you are going to feel a little cramped sharing the space with another person. Set ground rules for kitchen use. For example, if you’re having people over for dinner, give your roommate some notice so he or she knows to not occupy the kitchen. Even better, invite your roommate. So that you both are on the same page, have a general courtesy rule that includes always refilling the coffee pot and cleaning it out, refilling any filtered pitchers and emptying the dishwasher. That way no one feels like they’re cleaning up after the other just to use the kitchen.

Paying the Bills With a Roommate

Splitting the bills might not be as easy as 50/50 with a roommate. If you have the master bedroom and your own bath, you’re likely to pay more in the rent than your roommate. Sit down and clearly define how the bills will be paid. Does your roommate pay a flat fee that includes their utilities or will they split the utilities as they come in for the month? Designate a day every month where you both can sit down and discuss who owes what — preferably before rent and bills are due. If your roommate needs the cable, but you don’t use it, that can be a bill he or she takes care of themselves.

Having a roommate in California is a great way to handle the cost of living. You can get a better location, bigger apartment and even gain a valuable friendship. Just take your time picking out your new roomie and make sure they’re organized and responsible. That way it’s a lot easier to get along with the person you’re sharing your space with.

Feb 2014