Traveling makes everyone susceptible to experiencing shared living spaces.Traveling can lead you to times when you have to share living space with a number of people. Whether it is a house for 2 or 8 people, in a stretch of time as short as one week or as long as several months.

It is only right to act properly so that living can be easy for everyone. Even if it is in closed quarters, social graces are tested full on when you’re sharing living space with someone. Aside from establishing basic rules and actually following them, here are several examples of shared living space etiquette:

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Duplicate keys for each housemate. If you’re sharing keys with someone else, ask the landlord if you can duplicate so it will be easier to go in and out of the house in a secure manner. If you want your room to be more private, attach a lock with a key that only you have.

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Don’t hoard fridge and kitchen space. The point of sharing a house is to save money, which is why cooking your own meals rather than eating out can be a regular, day-to-day practice. As you buy things to cook and store, make sure that you’re only using the space allotted for you. Talk to your housemates on the division of storage space in the kitchen and in the fridge so everything will be clear. Label your things so your housemates will know which one is yours or which items are off limits.

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Don’t leave dirty dishes. Unless you want pests all over your house, make sure that the sink is clean at all times. While it’s not a good feeling to clean after your housemates, it will be better to clean dishes if you happen to stumble upon them. Inform your housemate and just say that he or she owes you a round of cleaning.

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Keep dirty laundry away from the sight of other housemates. Spare your housemates from feeling weird and grossed out by keeping your dirty laundry in your private closed corners. You wouldn’t want your dirty underwear to be seen by someone else, would you?

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Be considerate when a housemate is resting. Resting in a space shared with other people can always be challenging, especially when you’re living with different personalities. A cheap house means thin walls, and you have to consider this when playing music or talking loudly with others when one of the people living in your house is trying to rest.

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Don’t take what’s not yours. No matter how small or big it is, personal possessions should not be in the hands of others, unless there has been some sort of agreement or permission to do so.

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Listen first, and then share your opinion. Conflicts between housemates can’t be avoided, but it’s always good if there’s an open communication system so misunderstandings can be easily fixed. If you’re living with a person who has an unwavering personality, it is advisable to be the better housemate and take a step back, listen, and share your thoughts after he or she is done. This will not only be an effective way to handle all conflicts, but it will certainly build respect for each other as times goes by.

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Know and practice basic communal eating etiquette. Communal meals will most likely happen when living with people in a shared space. When you need to cook, ask everyone involved about their preferences, especially if they’re allergic to some foods or in cases that they’re vegan or vegetarian. If you need to pitch in, give your contribution before the designated cooks shop for ingredients or after the dinner. Be mindful of the amount you consume, especially if you’re eating with a big group.

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Avoid passive aggressive behavior. While leaving notes around the house might be easier, being upfront and honest is always the better way to go. There’s nothing more uncomfortable than nursing an unsettling emotional issue with the person you live with and letting passive aggressive remarks handle it for you, so it is better to let it all out and settle.

Notify your housemates when you’ll miss a chore. Be considerate enough of your housemates’ time by letting them know when you will miss a chore so they can come up with solutions. It is fair to assume that you are all busy, and missing your round of chore without telling them not only wastes their time, but it could ruin their day’s plans.

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On parties: always make sure that the other housemates are okay with it. While it can be a ball to have your own space to throw parties at, you must make sure that your housemates are cool with it. Clean up your own messes and if you’re having someone over, it is best to let them stay in your private space and not in an area where the rest of your household walk through all the time.

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Respect each other’s private space. Living with a bunch of people takes away a lot of your privacy, and just imagine someone getting in and out of your room without permission all the time. Respecting boundaries and private spaces are some of the main things that every housemate should understand deeply, as no one wants a jeopardized sense of privacy even in a shared house.

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If you have one, take responsibility of your pet. Even if it is as low maintenance as a goldfish in a bowl, or as time demanding as a guard dog, your pet should be your responsibility. Feed it, clean after it, look after it, and be responsible for it.

If you’re housemate does something good to you, do something good in return. Whether it is cooking, feeding your pet, or cleaning after your mess, you should be able to return the favor. With this kind of mutual behavior, good karma will exist within your living space and each day will be filled with good, open energy.

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Be open to setting house “traditions.” Living with other people can be fun if you start to develop a relationship that is strengthened by trust and fun activities. If you’re sharing a home long-term with other people, why not celebrate holidays like halloween, thanksgiving and Christmas and New Year’s? A weekly themed dinner or a night out are also great ideas for house traditions.

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Be diligent in paying rent and other fees. This is probably the most important shared living space etiquette as it will determine the level of responsibility on your part. Don’t  burden your housemates by making them wait on payments.

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