Are you currently struggling to share your student accommodation with a messy housemate?
Having to share with someone at university can have its difficult times, particularly if you are not used to having to share a room. It can be hard to settle in and make it feel like home.
Everyone has their own quirks and way of doing things, which are not always compatible with the way you do things (and that’s totally fine!)
Cleanliness can quickly be the start of a disagreement between housemates, causing tension and an unpleasant atmosphere in your student home.
But there are ways you can improve your situation. Here are some tips to help you survive living with a messy housemate.
One way to improve your situation is to talk it out.
Those dirty dishes that are piling up in the kitchen can soon become the bane of your life, but don’t expect things to magically be sorted if you keep it bottled up…they might not even realise it’s winding you up!
Instead of ranting to your friends and family about it, being honest with your housemate about what is annoying you and what you find difficult to live with can help them understand your point of view and get the issues sorted.
However, try not to be accusatory about it as this can hurt their feelings or they could become defensive, resulting in a disagreement that resolves nothing.
Rather provide solutions so the issues get resolved. You could offer to do those dirty dishes on the days they could be too busy to do and vice versa.
Getting your feelings out in the open can help avoid unnecessary stress and arguments, and can fix any issues faster.
2. Rota and Agreement
Creating a cleaning rota is a good way to avoid any disagreements.
Spreading out chores evenly between you can make things easier to manage and ensures you all contribute to the daily tasks.
It will hold everyone accountable for keeping the place clean and tidy. This will help to keep it fair for everyone so no one feels like they work harder than everyone else.
Also a roommate agreement made at the start of living together which lists rules of what you all find acceptable and unacceptable can help your living situation by minimising conflict.
Everyone knows what and when chores need to be done, so even those messy housemates won’t have an excuse not to do them.
When it comes to messy roommates, one thing you need to remember is you may not be their cup of tea either.
Everyone’s’ standards are different. Some people like everything in place, whilst some people don’t mind things not perfectly in place.
What one person classifies as a messy room is someone else’s comfort. So everyone’s definition of a messy housemate will be different, which means compromise will be necessary.
To avoid conflict, it may be best to choose what annoys you but you can live with and what you can not live with.
You may like to clean dishes every time you eat but that doesn’t mean your housemate does. They may like to leave it till the end of the day.
As long as everyone pulls their weight it doesn’t matter when and how chores are done.
Chores can be so boring!
A way to encourage your messy housemate to keep things tidy is to make things fun.
Cleaning together can help pass the time and feel like the work isn’t as much of a menial task. This can improve motivation to keep things tidy so things don’t get out of control.
Also, your messy roommate may just need some guidance. There are plenty of fun ways to clean your shared student home. Cleaning together gives them an opportunity to learn valuable skills that will help them throughout life.
Assigning cleaning days each week to keep the house clean together will minimise the amount of time you both spend on cleaning the mess in each room so you have more time for more fun things the rest of the week.
Plus it’s another opportunity to have a conversation, to get to know each other better and if you are not already, become friends, maybe even best friends.
5. Create spaces
If cleaning together is not an option, then dividing the room(s) may be better.
Creating space that is your own and your responsibility to maintain will give you a sense of control whilst allowing your roommate the same freedom with their space.
Separate spaces allow them to have their clutter of stuff whilst not infringing on your space. So your stress is decreased and any disagreements between you will be minimised.
It also means less for each person to clean, which reduces time spent on chores and splits the chores more equally between housemates.
6. Cleaning services
A last resort, if all else fails, is to hire a cleaning service.
Whilst this isn’t the most cost effective way, it could be the only option if your housemate will not contribute to the cleaning of the apartment.
The plus side, it means you don’t have to clean at all, they will do it all for you. Saving you time to put to better use.
This is beneficial if you can afford to pay but if your housemate will not clean for themselves you could ask them to pay for it, this might buckle up their ideas and actually do it or both contribute towards the payment.
At least with a cleaning service you are guaranteed a clean apartment and any disputes you may have had between you will disappear.
7. Ignore it
Sometimes it is better to let things go than spend your time stressing over things you cannot completely control.
If your roommate is not bothered by the mess then it may be best to just live with it rather than making a fuss about it.
It would be best to weigh up whether your relationship with your roommate is worth sacrificing over a temporary situation.
Plus you can learn from this time and choose to live with other people in your student home for the next academic year.
Stressing over it will just ruin your day and possibly in some cases your uni experience so at the end of the day it’s better to focus on having fun than worrying over your messy housemate.
So now you have seven ways to survive that messy housemate who can be a nightmare to live with. But don’t let that get in the way of friendship and fun, university should be one of the best times of your life.