September is over and you’ve at least somewhat settled into college life. If you’ve either moved up to Dublin or just moved closer to college, you’re no doubt living with strangers for the first time. That in itself is an education.
In my first year of college, I lived in an on-campus apartment and, without a doubt, the whole apartment could fit into the sitting room of my current one. It consisted of two bedrooms, a kitchen, no shared living area and a bathroom. It was teensy. The worst things that happened that year were constant fire alarms going off and one time when I loudly made my friends mulled wine and forgot my flatmate had to be up early the next morning - oops!
In my second year, I was in the more spacious on-campus accommodation sharing with four others. One was my bestie from my course, another I knew through her and then two unknowns, one of which I didn’t meet for a solid two months after moving in. This became the year of, to my disdain, herbal tea being made IN the kettle, dirty dishes being left under the sink for weeks and 4am football matches and raves outside my room. In comparison, my third year house was great and my two new housemates were probably tidier than me if I was being totally honest.
From my experience, there are three main areas to be conscious of when living with others. Follow the tips below to have a happy household for this academic year and beyond...
Basic Cleaning Etiquette
Let’s be honest here, no one likes cleaning but if you live with others one must keep harmony in the household.
- Clean up your dishes either straight away or before you go to bed.
- If you have friends over don’t leave the remains of your pizzas and half drank drinks lying around, clean up after them.
- Agree some form of a cleaning rota for the common areas that’s done at least once a month (but still clean up after parties, guests, etc. Don’t leave the hoovering for the next rota).
- Apologies in advance for this one! Ladies, if your hair clogs the shower drain, or has a habit of doing so, be sound and don’t let pools of water gather around your housemate’s ankles.
- Regularly dispose of your rubbish pile. The pizza box jenga pile may look hilarious but it stinks. Literally.
It’s college and we all love a good party, but still be respectful of your housemates. Be nice and don’t be that guy (or girl).
- Don’t play football in the hallways at 4am.
- Don’t blast rave / dance / any type of music at 4am.
- Don’t leave the door on the latch because your friends will be over “in a while”
- Let your housemates know if you’re having pre-drinks or a general get together in your apartment / house
- Don’t be strangers to each other. Get to know your housemates by going to college events together, a pub quiz, cinema or even just a day trip to the zoo.
- If you’re living in a house you’ll probably have additional bills such as internet, bins, water, electricity and, of course, rent. Have one person for each bill and set up reminders for when each bill comes out so you have the chance to notify the others and gather the money.
Keeping it cheap & cheerful
Living with housemates is a great way to cut down on some costs so everyone’s weekly budget goes a little bit further.
- Instead of buying 2 or 3 cartons of milk set up a house kitty for things like milk, bread, tea bags, toilet roll, cleaning supplies, etc. Everyone in the house should put in €5 or €10 and then top it up maybe once every 2 weeks. It saves you all money in the long run.
- A household that cooks together saves together! Once or twice a week cook dinner together. If there are 3 or 4 people, and if you shop smart, dinner could cost you as little as €2 or €3! Meals that are perfect for this are fajitas, pasta bakes, spaghetti bolognese and shepherd’s pie.
- Put some money together for a trip to IKEA, Tiger or Penneys to get a few bits and bobs to make your home cosier, even if it’s just a few cushions and fairy lights. We have a few tips for you on how to make your college home more homely here.
Enjoy your new found independence and I hope that my tips will make your experience of living with housemates that little bit more pleasantstress-free free!