September 13, 2017, by Lucy

Tips for Living With Flatmates

So, you’re off to university, an experience that is likely to be your first time away from home for such an extended length of time. If moving away isn’t daunting enough in itself, the idea of sharing a flat with 4+ strangers is probably enough to induce some form of worry. Speaking as someone who shared a flat (kitchen and bathroom and all) with four other people last year, I am here to offer some ways of making communal living less of a stress and more like being at home. Well, at least that’s what I’m trying to do.

Respect Communal Areas

Whether you’re lucky enough to have an en suite room and only have to share a kitchen, or whether you are sharing a bathroom too, it is important to remember that this space is indeed shared. Shared. You are not living alone. It is not yours. Please act responsibly.

Some kitchen rules:

  • Don’t consistently steal other people’s food. Imagine having a day of lectures and the thought of having pizza waiting for you as being the sole source of motivation to persist through your 9-5. Now imagine coming home from said day to find your pizza gone. GONE. If such a thought fills you with an immense level of anger, something which I can only imagine it does, save someone else such pain by only eating your own pizza. If it’s yours, go ahead. If it’s someone else’s, at least have the decency to ask before you eat.
  • Mould? Get rid of it. Bread, satsumas, plates… most things shouldn’t be mouldy. Unless you want to fill a fridge with blue cheese (which is probably enough to evoke a blog post of its own), at the first instance of mould, abort mission. Dispose of that item. Do your washing up, plates should never become breeding grounds for fungi. Never.

FYI, a mouldy pepper leaks a black liquid reminiscent of cola in case you were wondering.

Some bathroom rules:

  • Unblock the toilet if you block it. Somehow, common sense isn’t universal. Indeed, last year, I wondered into the bathroom to find the toilet clogged up by what could only be rolls of toilet roll. Please, just make your business your business and leave the bathroom how you found it… Clean!!

Keep Tabs on Who Buys What

Be it toilet roll, soap or milk, there are some things that are easily shared. In order to make this as equal as possible, a chart documenting who buys what is definitely the most effective way of going by it, although I can’t say that everyone will have the effort to go through this documentation process. If you decided not to go through with this systematic approach, just make sure that you don’t come across as a pushover. Restrain yourself from buying communal items every single time, even if it means hiding some supplies in your room in case someone *forgets* that it’s their time to do the shop.

Accept That Halls Aren’t Quiet 24/7

Halls are like a microcosm for the world if you think about it: someone, somewhere is always doing something. Even though in halls you share the same time zone and societal norms, people’s own habits will persist to shock you throughout the year. Your alarm may be someone else’s bedtime. Your dinner time might be someone else’s breakfast. Your study time may coincide with another person’s drum practice. As annoying as it may be, all you can do is embrace the clash of schedules and the noise that accompanies it. However, if it does get too much, there is always the option of reporting the source. If someone’s habits are extremely abnormal and/or damaging to your studies, get someone else involved and save yourself the misery of attempted ignorance.

Posted in Lucy