Moving into a new place can be exciting, especially when you think about the endless possibilities when it comes to decorating and perhaps finally living and being on your own.
But when you’re moving into a new place with a roommate, things can get tricky when it comes to sharing a space with someone who might not have the same tastes and interests. Don’t fret, though. Here are five ideas to help ease the transition:
1. Delegate Chores
One thing roommates seem to fight over most is coming up with a schedule to determine who’s responsible for certain chores and when they should be completed. Of course, no one wants to take out the trash, vacuum the carpet or mow the lawn each and every week, which is why it’s important you delegate these responsibilities from the outset. Even if it has to be written down and agreed to, doing so can help ensure everyone knows his or her responsibilities.
2. Learn to Communicate
It’s a no-brainer: Living with a roommate means you’ll disagree with him or her on certain things. There’s no two ways about it. But being an adult means voicing your concerns about things before they become so much of an issue that you end up in a screaming match.
Bottom line: Say how you feel if something bothers you — the first time it becomes a problem. Communication also means listening to concerns and respecting boundaries.
3. Learn to Blend Styles
If you’re moving in with someone whose style clashes with yours, there’s always a way to work around it. For instance, say your style is more modern, while theirs is a little more industrial. You can still co-habitate and have both your styles present throughout the home.
One way to do so is to use the 80/20 rule, where 80 percent of the space is one style and 20 percent is another. Adding common threads from each of your preferred interior design styles can also help incorporate something that highlights both you and your new roommate’s tastes, even if it means mixing farmhouse charm with more masculine or feminine elements — that is, if you happen to be living with the opposite sex.
4. Discuss Sharing Food and Other Items
Before you move in with a roommate, discuss which items you plan to share, including kitchen ware, food, toilet paper and laundry detergent. Of course, it should be a no-brainer to not eat food or use items (like toiletries) you didn’t buy unless your roommate says it’s okay.
Ultimately, the goal is for roommates to respect each other’s rules and wishes and avoid taking or using things someone else has purchased. But if you plan on sharing different things in your new space, make sure you know what you can use and what is off limits.
5. Decide How to Split the Bills
Finally, you’ll want to have a discussion about how to pay the bills. Now, you might opt to pay the electric bill if your roommate covers the Internet and cable (or streaming subscriptions). Whatever you decide, make sure you’re both clear on each other’s responsibilities. Much like the character Sheldon did on The Big Bang Theory, consider drawing up a roommate agreement so that all rules are clear and you avoid arguments.
Living with someone new can be a challenge at first, but if you discuss these and other important tips ahead of time, it will no doubt be easier to live peacefully and cooperatively together. Make the effort and you’ll feel much more confident and excited about your new roommate and living situation.