Living in an overpriced, slightly run down, house/apartment/garage/box, with a few of your mates is somewhat of a rite of passage in your twenties. It's the first time we get a of taste freedom and truly test our limits after flying the nest.
Image: Dream Share House / @katiepotatierose
While you may stumble upon the odd unicorn who can recount happy, rosy tales of their share house experiences, the truth is that for every one of them there are ten others who could tell you a 20 minute horror story of their time in a shared millennial abode. Their houses were dirty, mouldy, dank and small and tensions were always high between the fellow inhabitants.
There are however a few simple tips that you can follow in order to ease the pain of communal living...
Establish House Rules
OK, so you're supposed to be an adult now with all this new found freedom. But little did you know that you've been living in a bubble, your family home, and it's about to burst. Different people have different expectations and realities of cleanliness, what can and can't be shared, how loud you can listen to your music, what constitutes an acceptable amount of time in the bathroom etc. You want to get off on the right foot and taking an hour at the beginning of your lease to talk about these things will save you a lot of frustration, confusion and bursting bladders in the long run.
Have a joint account
If you're that sort of household that smokes a lot of weed, then a joint account is a good idea (haha get it). And if you're not, a joint account is still a good idea. It makes the complex adult world of 'paying bills,' much less stressful and much easier to handle. Transfer your rent plus a little extra every week to go towards bills, cleaning products and beer. A house that drinks and/or smokes together, stays together.
The Facebook Chat is the DEVIL – try a real conversation
You may be tempted to create a Facebook chat - with a catchy, punny title - dedicated to house updates. Whilst it's a good idea for little things like 'yo we're out of toilet paper,' it's not the place for the 'ok so our gas got cut off and we have no hot water' crisis.
No joke – our gas got cut off and it truly did test our friendship (and strength to have cold showers in winter). We all know that sarcasm and Facebook rarely works, so why would we think that talking about serious house issues in the group chat would be any different. Call a house meeting or give them a call and talk about it.
Don't be a tight ass, share your milk, bread, oil....
Living in a share house implies sharing things. So don't be that person who writes their name on the milk bottle... it's just milk. Sharing is caring, plus there's no point crying over shared milk.
However... label your hummus. That shits precious.
Sharing is caring, but sharing your hummus is exclusively for your soul mate. And even then, they have to do something really great to deserve that!
I wish I had the answer to keeping a kitchen tidy. I really wish I did. What I find most effective is if you pile up all their dirty dishes into a neat corner of the kitchen and clean around it. I think the communal kitchen is a global unsolvable problem. Just like the chicken or the egg... whose dirty dish came first? (Not mine).
Play music when having that 'special' friend over
Most share houses that we can afford are pretty shit (I call it character building). Which means they have pretty thin walls. One of the perks of living in a share house is that you can bring whoever you want back to your place without having to sneak them in the back. But living in a share house is all about respect, so if you like to get your groove on, um, loudly... play some music.
Living in a share house really is the epitome of being a twenty something human. As dirty, stressful, drunk or noisy it may be, your housemates become your family and your share house a home. Over the years you'll live with good housemates, bad housemates, terrible housemates, and housemates that turn into your best friends. No matter what happens, at least you'll get some good stories out of it. And when in doubt, just remind yourself that it's all character building.
Adelaide is a twenty something human and yes, that is her real name. She doesn’t go far without her Doc Martens and a skinny cappuccino. She loves travelling and thinks it’s the best way to meet exciting people (men). When she’s not at uni or daydreaming at the beach, you will find her writing on her blog A Worldly Addiction.