I’ve lived with roommates since I first moved out of my parents’ house seven years ago, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. Sure, I’ve had my share of trouble with shared housing, such as getting illegally evicted by a bunch of hipsters who didn’t want me to hang an American flag on our house. But overall, my good experiences have far outweighed the bad.
One thing I have noticed throughout the eight housing changes I’ve had is that no matter how firmly you set house rules, schedules, and chore rotations, after living together for a while, your rules are going to morph. What began as a firm list will gradually become a lax set of guidelines you make a half-assed attempt to follow, and if you guys are comfortable with each other, you’ll enjoy it more this way.
Original rule: All dishes must be cleaned, dried, and put away within an hour of being used.
Realistic rule: All dishes must be cleaned within a 12-hour period and left on the drying rack for unlimited amount of time, resulting in the world’s worst game of Jenga. Notable exceptions to the 12-hour rule are as such: if either party is on a weekend bender, or made a drunken meal at 3 a.m. and is too hungover to be near the sink for the next day.
Original rule: The TV operates on a first come, first serve basis. Roommates will respect each other’s wishes to watch whatever they are into.
Realistic rule: All parties will engage in a year-long fight over the Chromecast, constantly cutting each other off and streaming different shows and movies to the television. This will help expose all roommates to new viewing experiences. Also, football has priority on Saturdays and Sundays.
Original rule: If a roommate is working from home/studying, they are to be left undisturbed so they can focus.
Realistic rule: If a roommate is working from home/studying, they are to be left undisturbed unless other parties found “this awesome video you have to watch real quick,” leading to a spiral into the deep corners of YouTube until work/studying is long forgotten.
Original rule: If any roommate would like to host a party, they must get approval from all other roommates no less than a week in advance. During said party, no roommate should feel pressured to drink or participate in shenanigans if they do not want to.
Realistic rule: Sometimes unplanned parties break out. Maybe one of the roommates was at a brunch that evolved into a day rager. Perhaps a roommate decided to throw a pregame because the girl he’s trying to get at said she’s “love to come see his place next time he has people over.“ Such is life. If this occurs on a weekend, the other roommates don’t get to bitch about it, but they also don’t have to help set up or clean. Any roommate seen being a buzzkill at the party will be called out and peer pressured into drinking (because we all know they secretly want to).
Original rule: We will have an official chore/purchases list that will make sure everyone is accountable and it’s not just one person always cleaning the kitchen or buying toilet paper.
Realistic rules: When the house/apartment becomes too dirty for the roommate with the lowest tolerance to messiness, they will tell other parties that it is time to clean. Other parties are required to clean to the satisfaction of said roommate within a few days but are encouraged to bitch about it the whole time. Whoever is going to the store when the toilet paper is close to running out will buy a new pack, and everyone will Venmo them.
Original rule: If roommates are on different schedules, they can each set quiet times of their choosing (within the hours of 10 p.m. and 10 a.m.).
Realistic rule: If the roommate that works at a bar gets in at 4am and is making a ruckus drunkenly making food, roommates that have to be up at normal hour are encouraged to tell them to shut the fuck up. Other roommates are also encouraged to make as much noise outside of the offender’s room at 7am when they are getting ready to leave. These practices will breed a respectful, courteous environment.
Original rule: If you’re having sex, put some music on and try and keep the noise to a reasonable amount. No one is to have intercourse in any common areas.
Realistic rule: If you’re having sex, put some music on and try and keep the noise to a reasonable amount. If other roommates can clearly hear you, they reserve the right to yell inappropriate/mocking things at you from the living room. Phrases such as “you fuck like my grandma,” “she’s faking it,” and “is that the same hooker from last night?” are all fair game. Also, everyone knows roommates are banging in the shower, but be respectful and don’t flaunt it. People keep their loofahs in there, you animals.
Original rule: All parties will be held responsible for taking the trash out when it fills up/begins to smell.
Realistic rule: All parties will be held responsible for taking the trash out when it fills up/begins to smell. Seriously. Austin, I’m talking to you. This is how we get fruit flies. Take the fucking trash out. .
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