1. Don’t be afraid to communicate
Neither you nor your roommate will be perfect. Maybe you like to play music while your roommate is studying. Maybe your roommate likes to have guests over when you just like some quiet time. It’s okay to speak up about what you are and aren’t comfortable with.
2. Create a roommate agreement
This doesn’t have to be a physical contract; but when you first move in together, discuss what’s important to you. For example, an important matter to me is always trying to have dishes clean and not sitting in the sink. At the residence hall, this is easier to manage as we don’t have kitchens in our rooms, but now in an apartment, I like to make sure the kitchen stays as clean as possible. My roommate and I negotiated to do dishes by the end of the day.
3. Always ask about guests
I will admit … I wasn’t always perfect at this in the residence hall. It can be hard especially when you and all your friends live in the same building. Even if your roommate’s not home, try to let them know (and ask permission) if it’s okay to have a guest over. Along with that, make sure you clean up after your guest if you were eating in the room or anything like that.
4. Know your roommate’s schedule
I find it super helpful to know my roommate’s schedule, especially when it comes to sharing a bathroom. I always tried to make sure my roommate knew when I had to be up in the morning and when I would be home at night. I personally just think it’s helpful to know what’s going on in each other’s lives. Back to the sharing a bathroom part: Your roommate might want the restroom the second he/she gets home. Try to anticipate this in advance so that neither one of you feels rushed.
5. Create a cleaning schedule
Especially since moving into my apartment, I’ve become a neat freak. I love making sure the apartment is swept multiple times a week. I probably wipe down the kitchen counters every day. The toilet and shower get cleaned frequently. It’s important to you and your roommate’s stances on cleaning. Maybe your roommate absolutely hates cleaning the bathroom. Find a way to compromise that your roommate will be in charge of sweeping and cleaning the fridge, while maybe you’re in charge of the bathroom. Also, take note of how often you want this done.
6. Try to be friends with your roommate
Some people live with their best friends, and other times you live with people you don’t know so well. I highly recommend trying to get to know them and spend time with them. I think it makes all the other “roommate duties” so much easier to communicate about, and it makes the living situation altogether more enjoyable. My old roommate and I had a movie we both loved, and we used to always put it on in the background or rewatch it. Having experiences like that helps you bond and keep close, and overall, make the living situation more enjoyable.