Want to be a better roommate? Here are five tips to help you out

Complications can arise when roommates move in together and discover they have conflicting schedules, and one of the best ways to communicate schedules is to simply talk it out. (Archive photo by Brook Morris | Collegian Media Group)

Being a roommate can be tricky for some and easy for others. Learning to live with someone and respect their way of life can be challenging, but not impossible. Living in a space with a plethora of opinions, beliefs and odd habits may be difficult, but these five tips can help you be a better roommate.

1. Help out and clean

For some, leaving dishes in the sink is OK, but for others, it isn’t. Some can live with dirty clothes piled on the floor and others need a tidy area. Whatever your preference is, I suggest you talk about it with your roommates. Setting up a cleaning chart or having a plan for cleaning your place will help avoid future conflict.

My roommates and I agree to keep our place clean. Rather than creating a chore list, we clean whatever needs to be cleaned at that moment. Sure, sometimes we will choose to binge-watch the Bachelor and postpone cleaning, but we have still established an understanding. Whatever your cleanliness habits are, talk with your roommate about what they are from the beginning to avoid future conflict. If you do have differing habits for cleanliness, establish a game plan to work together.

2. Be mindful of quiet times

When living with others, you must be mindful of “quiet times.” Some roommates go to bed early and start their mornings at the crack of dawn — others are night owls and need to sleep in. Whatever your preferences are, tell your roommates. Not only are sleep habits important, but quiet times for studying or downtime are important as well.

A tip to follow is clarifying sleep schedules and quiet time preferences if needed. All of my roommates have similar sleep schedules, so quiet times are not an issue. Whatever you choose for quiet times, address it with your roommates and respect those hours.

3. Have “you” time.

Roommates are great and are fun to come home to, however you still need to have “you” time. Being with your friends is great, but sometimes being constantly by people 24/7 can be a lot. Alone time is normal and healthy and is often forgotten when living with your roommates. Find time to go workout, read a book or watch Netflix for some “you” time.

Prioritize alone time for yourself, but also let your roommates have some time as well. With the stress of school and jobs, it is easy to get overwhelmed. This “you” time will be very beneficial to de-stress and breathe.

4. Pay your bills on time

If your roommate is the one collecting rent, make sure to get them your portion of money on time. Don’t wait to pay your roommate back or have them continuously ask you. Don’t wait for the last reminder to pay — make sure you have it done on time.

Money is tight and you can’t pay on time? Come up with a game plan with your roommates to avoid any problems and to avoid any late fees because of your bills.

5. Have roommate dates

In the midst of all the chaos from college, find time to breathe and enjoy what is around you. Learn to appreciate your roommates and have “roommate dates.” Go grab dinner together or pick a series to watch and have a weekly watch party. Cook a meal together when you can or do activities together outside of your normal routine. Oftentimes we get so busy that we forget to love on those around us and appreciate them. It may seem unnecessary, but find time to hang out with your roommates.

As you figure out how to be a better roommate, consider these tips. Before implementing any of them, have a time to talk to your roommates and establish some ground rules. Will you be doing communal or separate groceries? Who is going to clean the dishes or the bathrooms? Is it okay to crank the heat to the highest temperature and run a high bill without consulting your roommates? Ask questions beforehand to help avoid future conflict.

I'm Monica Diaz and I graduated in May 2020 with a degree in broadcast journalism and Spanish. I severed in several roles while working for the Collegian, but most of my work focused on rebuilding the Collegian digital brand with an increased social media presence. I also worked on KKSU-TV and appeared as an anchor on MHK All Day in my last semester on campus. In my spare time, I enjoy a good cup of coffee and spending time with family. I have a passion for journalism because I believe that everyone deserves to have their voice heard.