Tips for happy house-sharing

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By on Thursday 2nd May, 2013 at 14:29

Living in shared accommodation can be really good fun with all the benefits of having company and social stimulation away from work. But of course there will be moments when you’d rather have your own space.

Classic complaints among cabin crew living in close quarters with others include piles of washing up left untouched, no-one emptying the bins, arguments over bills, loud music and flatmate moodiness.

Of course moving in with people you don’t know can be daunting. It takes time to get to know one another, understand personality traits and unusual habits. You will need to put some effort into working out the best way to share space and make the home comfortable and welcoming for all.

So what can you do to make the best of the time you spend together? Here are a few dos and don’ts.


….have ‘house rules’
By getting together and sorting out the ‘house rules’ you can go a long way to ensuring a harmonious time under one roof. These might cover how the cleaning gets done, what happens when guests come to stay, arrangements for sharing the bathroom and kitchen, etc.

Remember you can't expect to move into a shared house and have everything just the way you like it. This is SHARED accommodation so you’ll need to compromise. Have plenty of discussions and try and see everyone’s point of view. For instance if there are real issues about cleaning, could you club together to pay for a cleaner?

….make the most of communal space
Make your shared space – if you’re lucky enough to have some – clean, uncluttered, yet homely. You might want to pool some money for a decent sofa and coffee table, and talk about what décor you all agree will suit the room. Why not arrange to have a weekly or monthly film night, or meal together?

….have a cleaning rota
Cleaning is often the biggest bone of contention in shared houses and flats. So it’s well worth planning out a cleaning rota, and sticking to it as closely as possible.


….invade people’s privacy
When you’re house sharing, remember to respect your housemates’ privacy. It’s best not to wander in and out of their rooms without warning, even if you know them well. If you want to borrow something from their room, always ask first and don’t just assume what’s theirs is up for grabs. It’s polite to knock!

….hide your feelings
If things about the flatshare are getting on your nerves you really must speak up rather than dwell on the annoyance. For instance if one member of the house excessively uses an electric heater which is bumping up the heating bill – you must have that discussion!

……fall out over music or toilet rolls
In a shared house there are going to be times when you are irritated by your housemates and its common for disputes to blow up over relatively small issues. Try to remember that incidents like the loo roll running out, bins not being emptied, music played too loud, or someone accidentally locking you out, probably haven’t been done to deliberately aggravate you. In other words you might need to just chill out and live with things from time to time. Communication will be the key to overcoming such problems, and so work hard to apologise if you are to blame, or accept others’ apologies if it will mean a return to harmony in the home.

So as long as the basic rules and routines are clear, flat or house-sharing can be a cost-effective and sociable way to live. Communal living is certainly much more interesting than living on your own.

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