Tips for living with your new housemates

Emma Seton·7 September 2020·5 min read
Tips for living with your new housemates

Living with your family is often hard enough but going away to university is a whole new kettle of fish. You’ve more than likely never met the people you’re going to be living with, and there’s no guarantee that they’re going to be clean and tidy, and even if you do know who you’re living with, you never really know your friends until you’ve lived with them. Whether your moving away for the first time, or just living with new people, there are a couple of things you can do to help maintain tranquillity within your household.

Set the ground rules :

Everybody has different boundaries and different expectations of how far their liberties as a flatmate can stretch. Lay out the rules early on to avoid any tension developing, and to make sure you’re all on the same page. Decide what, if anything you’re all going to share. So, will you all buy your own washing up liquid, or will there be one for the flat that’s regularly replaced. Is it okay to borrow a splash of your flatmates milk, or do you only eat the food that you’ve bought for yourself? Are you going to share shampoo, or do you all prefer different brands? Lay out these boundaries early, know what you can do and know what you can’t.

Make a cleaning rota :

Cleaning is often a cause of tension in a student flat. While some people embrace the laidback student lifestyle, others want their kitchen clean and tidy all the time. Setting up a rota avoids one person doing all the work while others keep adding to the mess. Set up a bin rota, decide who’s going to empty the dishwasher or clean the bathroom. If you’re all pretty relaxed about the dishes, then that’s great but be mindful that different things annoy different people. If your flatmate’s had a stressful day at university, a messy kitchen might just be the cherry on top.

Plan your parties :

Having flat parties is an entrenched part of student life, but if you’re going to have one let your flatmates know about it. Chances are they’ll probably join the fun but be mindful that they might have a deadline coming up or might just need a good night’s sleep. Letting them know in advance gives them the option to stay somewhere else. Transparency is key, if you’re planning to have a lot of people over, make a lot of noise and a lot of mess, let your flatmates know – it’s their house too.

Give each other space :

When you move into your university halls, you become very close with your flatmates very quickly. It’s important to remember that just because you’re living together, you don’t have to do everything together. If your flatmates watching a film alone in their room, don’t just join them uninvited, they might need some space, or just want some time to enjoy their own company. If your flatmate’s being off, make sure you offer support and friendship, but be respectful of their boundaries. It’s also important to learn to be alone together, it’s okay to sit silently together on your phones or doing other activities. You don’t have to have something planned for every second of every day.

Exchange emergency information with each other :

Hopefully you’ll never have to use it and your year will go smoothly, but if something does happen to one of your flatmates, you need to know who to call. Who’s their next of kin? Where’s their family from? Know if your flatmates have any allergies, and what should you do if they have a reaction. You’re all living in a new city now, and you need to look out for one another.

Set up a group chat :

Many universities have official, or unofficial, Facebook groups where you can connect with your flatmates and start to get to know each other before university has started. Once this is set up, you have a forum to let each other know what you’re doing. So, if you are having a party, post about it in here.

Living with flatmates is a new experience for many people, and although it can seem daunting at first, your flatmates will likely become some of your closest friends.