Living away from home with a bunch of new people can be super exciting and a little daunting too, especially when you’re used to your parents doing everything for you! You want to get along with your new flatmates and find that perfect balance between having fun, but still being organised with cooking, cleaning and tidying, basically all the boring adult stuff. Who pays for the toilet paper? Who’s turn is it to bleach the loo? These are the questions you’re going to have to start asking yourselves, and it’s deffo a lot to take in! We’ve compiled the ultimate survival guide for living in shared accommodation to give you a head start, so keep reading!
- SET UP A CLEANING ROTA
Yes, we’re kicking off this listicle with the fun concept of cleaning, hurrah! When living away from home, you’ll realise the cleaning fairies (AKA mum and dad) are no longer there to clean up after you, and it’s definitely a shock to the system that’s for sure. It might not bother you that there’s mounds of dirty plates on the kitchen side, or pairs of dirty socks on the floor, but it might bother the other flatmates living in your accommodation, and that’s something you need to remember. Rotas are a fab way of splitting responsibilities evenly and fairly, to avoid any arguments or tensions within your flat. Make a concise checklist and stick it on the kitchen wall with everything that needs to be done, as well as names and a space where you can fill in the ‘last cleaned’ section. This may sound a bit tedious, but you’re going to be really thankful for the rota because it means you won’t have to do everything yourself, and it’s also super important to live in a clean environment in general.
- WASH UP ASAP!
We totally get that washing up can be super grim, especially when you’ve got so much of it! This is why you need to wash up ASAP, and split the washing up duties fairly amongst all your flatmates. Leaving the washing up for “another day” may sound like the easiest option, but another day may become another week, and that’s when things start to get whiffy and dirty! Stick on some tunes, maybe even a podcast, and get that washing up done as soon as you can and you won’t regret it, we promise!
- MAKE AN EFFORT
We’re not saying you have to smother your new flatmates with love and affection, but you do need to make an effort with your flatmates, for so many reasons! You need to remember that everyone’s in the same boat, and not worry about looking silly or feeling embarrassed, bonding with your flatmates will make everything so much less daunting. Why not arrange a movie night with plenty of popcorn, or check out the local pubs when you have some time to spare over the weekend. A big part of the uni life is making friends for life, so let loose, be confident, and have a natter with your flatmates.
- BE CONSIDERATE
Remember to be considerate towards your flatmates. If you know one of your flatmates has a long shift at the weekend, don’t come back on Friday night at 4am making loads of noise! It’s easy to get carried away with all the socialising, but you want to make sure you don’t upset your flatmates, after all, you don’t want to live in a #awks environment. Living in a shared accommodation can be a real test, and granted, you might not gel with them straight away, some you might not gel with at all, but you want to make a good impression! Also, take into consideration any bad habits you may have, and see if you can work on them, next time you think about leaving your dirty cups on the side, just wash them up instead.
- SHARE WITH FAMILY & FRIENDS
Don’t worry, you don’t need to share every single belonging of yours with all of your flatmates, but you should definitely try and share kitchen basics like condiments, spices, milk etc. Another fab idea is a ‘free communal shelf’ where you can pop all the bits you don’t mind sharing. It also might be worth keeping things you really don’t want to share in your room, like any special biccies or cereal! The main rule is to share and be kind when you feel comfortable doing so, and if there’s something you really don’t want your flatmates nabbing, just explain to them, communication is key.
- BE CHILL
If you don’t particularly get along with one of your flatmates or they’ve done something to annoy you, remember to chill. Try to be calm and polite in airing your issues, if you get angry, things could get sour very easily! Weigh up whether the issue is really that important or not, usually nine times out of ten it’s best to let it go, or have a word with your flatmates politely and calmly.
- PERSONAL SPACE
We know that making effort is super important, but on the flip side, you need to remember about personal space too! Just because you’re living in a shared accommodation, it doesn’t mean you have to hang out with your flatmates all the time. There are always times where you’ll fancy just hanging out on your own, in your own personal space. There’s plenty of stress surrounding university, as well as homesickness, so if you ever see your flatmate looking a bit glum there’s no harm in asking them if they’re okay. Once you get to know your housemates a little more, you’ll be able to work out whether they’re in the mood for a bit of banter or they’d rather some privacy.
- PLAN PARTIES
House parties at university are inevitable (well, as long as there aren’t any COVID-19 restrictions) and we don’t want to dampen the good vibes, but it’s probably best you actually plan these parties just so your flatmates know what’s going on! Imagine if one of your flatmates was revising for an important exam the next day, and all they could hear was booming music! Pretty unfair right? All you need to do, is let your flatmates know what the deal is, so they’re not completely startled by the random drunk people chilling in their flat! Moving to university for the first time and not quite sure how to handle it all? Check out our checklist for first-year students, or wise up on the things we wish we knew before we went to uni.