Even if you’re a neat freak, the chances that you actually want to do more than your share of cleaning in a home you share with roommates are pretty slim. There’s something about cleaning up other people’s stuff that just seems gross, whether it’s wiping a glob of toothpaste off the bathroom sink or smooshing down the garbage pile so the trashcan lid will close. When it’s not yours, it’s hard to want to touch it, clean it, or throw it away. Especially if it’s food or bathroom-related.
Because of this fear of the unknown, and also because most of us are very lazy, shared homes are usually pretty bad examples of cleanliness. So today I wanted to share with you guys some cleaning tips for semi-clean people living with roommates. More
Amidst the sea of roommates I’ve had since my freshman year of college, I can count two as boyfriends. Of course, that doesn’t mean that I didn’t pretty much live with other boyfriends (much to the dislike of my actual roommates) by having them over sleep every other night and take up one-third of the couch, but that’s something else entirely. The arrangement I’m speaking of today involves two people who are dating and living together, with all their shit thrown into one space (physically and emotionally speaking). It’s an entirely different type of roommate relationship, but one that has just as many ups and downs as all the others. More
One of the things that’s annoying about living with others is hearing everyone else’s opinions about who you should live with and why. When I first got to college, the rule was, “Don’t live with your friends, because by the end of the first semester you’ll want to kill each other.” But as I wrote in a previous column, that line of thinking proved to be totally wrong; my former roommate and I are still friends to this day. More
It’s no secret that my experiences with roommates haven’t always been pleasant. Personality conflicts, lack of communication, and inconsiderate behavior are all factors that created rifts in roommate relationships I’ve had, and I think those types of issues will continue to be at the core of most roommate disputes for years to come. But one thing that’s changed in a big way since I first started sharing a home with roommates is technology. More
One thing that digital technology has not replaced is the passive-aggressive roommate note. Why? Well, if you’ve ever left a passive-aggressive note to a roommate before, you know that the whole purpose of the note is for it to be read when you’re not around. More
Last week I wrote about the concept of living with roommates past our 20s. And while that isn’t a totally crazy, foreign idea, the point that I wanted to make was that it’s cool to live with others if you’re not interested in living alone, even if you can afford to live alone and are over a certain age. This week, I thought I’d write about the opposite. When is it okay to live alone for the first time, and what are the signs that help you to determine whether living alone is right for you? More
When I was in college and dealing with my first real roommate relationships (outside of sharing a bathroom with my brother or sharing a bunk at summer camp), it never occurred to me that I might still be sharing a living space with roommates well into my 30s. And while I personally haven’t yet entered my 30s (I’m on a six-month countdown!), I read an interesting article this week about a woman in California who does just that. Leilani Clark is 37, sharing a home with three others—a married couple and another friend—and, surprisingly enough, loving it. More
A couple of weeks ago, the New York Times ran an op-ed titled “When Roommates Were Random.” It was written by a college professor at NYU who not only reminisces about his time spent in a freshman dorm but also makes an argument for colleges to issue a ban on what he calls “roommate choice.” As I read it, I found myself wondering, “Is this another one of those ‘way back when I was a boy…’ old-school-versus-new-school subjects, or is this debate still relevant?” More
In this column I’ve mentioned several obnoxious habits that roommates have, but one thing that irks me the most when living with others is heightened sound. Sometimes you just want to sit—or sleep—in peace and quiet, but you can’t because your roommate just got promoted and is having a party. Or she got laid off and she‘s psyched, or she got a great score on her final when you have yet to complete your exams (and in fact have another one the next morning at 8 a.m.). More
There are plenty of problems one can have with his/her roommates, but through all of the drama, the late bill payments, and the refrigerator wars, one thing remains of utmost importance: Cleanliness. And I’m not talking “we should be able to eat off our floors” cleanliness or “whose turn is it to scrub under the burners on the stove?” cleanliness. I’m talking about the basic manners one should possess, regardless of who or how many people he or she lives with. And yet, despite this obvious necessity, there are a lot of people who utterly fail at cleanliness beyond showering regularly. So, this week’s column is all about the things that no one actually says to their slightly (or more-than-slightly) gross roommate, but really, really wants to say. More
Today’s column isn’t about the number of kegs you should get to throw a proper house party (although I recommend one for every 30-40 people). It’s about how to throw a party while living with roommates. Granted, there are households occupied by roommates who are legitimate friends that run in the same social circles. When those types of roommates throw parties together, the conversation only lasts like 20 seconds. “Hey, roomies, are we going to throw a giant house party and get totally wasted with all of our friends tomorrow night??” “Hells yeah, we are!” End scene. More
Back when I moved into my first post-dorm house with a couple of friends, I remember the only thing I concerned myself with was how to decorate. Should the couch go on this wall, or that wall? Should we put our cordless phone (hey, this was several years ago) on the end table, or on the credenza in the kitchen? I felt so grown-up and happy about my new life as a house dweller, and it hadn’t occurred to me that maybe my roommates and I wouldn’t see eye-to-eye on something. Especially something like smoking inside. More
A while back I wrote about how to put up with your roommate’s boyfriend. In that column I focused on how annoying it is when a roommate’s boyfriend is always around, especially if he doesn’t chip in on the cable bill or buy beer for the house and maybe has a tendency to trim his pubes in your bathroom. But what that article didn’t acknowledge was what to do when your boyfriend and roommate(s) totally hate each other’s guts.
I bring this up because the other day a friend relayed a story to me that was a little crazy. Apparently when he was in college, he and his girlfriend’s roommate didn’t get along to the point that the cops had to get involved. More
We’ve all heard the story. A cute couple moves in together. They settle in quickly, have a lovely house-warming party, and start riding their tandem bike to work every single morning. All seems well for the first two months. Then, suddenly, they’re sleeping in separate beds, fighting over who the cat loves more and counting down the seconds till their lease expires.
How did this happen? Weren’t they college sweethearts? Didn’t they survive through cultural differences, double unemployment and at least one count of infidelity? Well, they probably just couldn’t agree on a color of trashcan for the kitchen, or whether or not to have a rug in the living room.
Yep, it’s silly and tragic but couples call it quits all the time over nit-picky little problems. So here are two things you should avoid fighting over, unless you wish to suffer a fate worse than death: resentful cohabitation. More