Most people will live in a share house at some point during their life, and with house prices increasing, many people are now doing so into their 30s and beyond. We’ve definitely been there, and have some tips to make the experience a harmonious one.
Before you move in with someone it’s a good idea to sit down and have an honest chat about your routines and lifestyles. If they’re a morning person and you tend to be up and about making noise late into the night it might not be an ideal fit. Likewise, if they are an extroverted party person who likes to have spontaneous gatherings in shared space, but you’re an introvert who thrives on alone time and needs to mentally prepare for company you need to think about whether you’re a good housemate match.
Once you’ve found a good group of people to move in with it’s time to talk money. Honesty is always the best policy here – if someone moves in, only to discover later that they’re paying significantly higher rent than everybody else it’s not going to end well. Be clear about payment methods, due dates, and where bonds will be held if anyone is subleasing. Lastly, decide how bills will be split.
Once you’ve moved in the kitchen can either be the heart of the home, or an argument magnet. Divide up cupboard and fridge space early on to ensure everyone has plenty of room for their food. Decide as a group whether certain supplies such as milk and butter will be communal, and if so how you will decide whose turn it is to replace them when they are gone.
Eating meals together is one of the best ways to strengthen friendships and make your share house feel like a home. If you want to cook and eat meals communally you’ll need to decide which day/s of the week are “family meal nights”, then create a grocery shopping and cooking roster and plan for a kitty for everyone to contribute to food costs.
Many issues that arise in share house living situations stem from different standards of cleanliness, so it’s imperative to have a roster so everyone does their fair share of the work. You can either split the roster by common rooms (bathroom, living room, kitchen) or by job (toilet, dusting, vacuuming, etc), and remember to include a weekly deadline. Splitting the cost of a professional cleaner to come in on a weekly, fortnightly, or monthly basis can save a lot of headaches and make sure that even if the standard slips you’ll be starting afresh soon enough!
Having guests stay over and meeting your housemates’ friends and family can be a great joy, but nobody likes to feel unexpectedly outnumbered in their own home, so it’s good to set some ground rules. You may wish to have a 2 nights only rule, or say guests sleep in the bedroom of their host rather than on the couch. If one of you is in a relationship and it’s likely that your partner will stay over sometimes you should talk about it with your flatmate so everyone’s on the same page – and balance it out by staying at your partner’s place equally if possible to give your housemate their space.
What are your tips for share house harmony?