Sharing an apartment with a roommate is great for your finances and for maintaining a social life. But it can be hard to share your physical space with others, especially if never had a roommate before. What can help? Here are six tips to make sharing easier for everyone.

1. Set Up House Rules Early

Before you start sharing a living space, sit down and have a conversation about your concerns, wishes, and compromises. This chat could cover things like when you both agree to observe quiet time, how to agree on what entertaining will occur, and specific space needs (such as for a home office or your morning yoga routine). Brainstorm ways to address common space-sharing issues like the food in the fridge.

2. Try His and Hers Organization

Organization can go a long way toward keeping the peace between roommates. Many roommates find that his, hers, our approach works well. In this method, you might label a shelf in the pantry for each roommate’s personal use (his and hers). Then you would add shared (ours) shelves that everyone can use or put foodstuff. This works in many areas of the apartment, including shared closets, the refrigerator, and the bathroom.

3. Maximize Storage and Space

Apartments may not have as much empty space as both roommates would like. What’s the next best solution? Maximize what you do have. Use vertical wall space in the apartment with hanging hooks, over-the-door hooks, floating shelves, and hanging closet organizers. And look for furniture that has additional storage built-in, like ottomans, coffee tables, and bed frames.

Minimize the footprint of the furniture in your apartment to make it look and feel larger. Furniture with slim legs, for example, has a smaller footprint on the floor. Floating furniture that can be installed on the walls keeps things off the floor entirely. And furnishings that serve multiple purposes – like a coffee table that opens up to be used as a desk – keeps more space free for both roommates.

4. Set Up a Schedule

Time scheduling is a valuable part of any roommate agreement. This is particularly important if you both spend a lot of time at home or if you have very different social styles. If you both need the public areas to study for college or work on projects, make a written schedule of when each roommate works best and agree to stick by it. Alternate meal preparation, cleaning assignments, and other household chores.

5. Talk Out Differences

Finally, when you do have a conflict or a concern, have another chat about it. Talking things out may not be easy, but it’s the only way to work through the inevitable hiccups that will arise. Keep the discussion positive and productive, avoiding the temptation to devolve into blame or anger. Focus on solutions.

For instance, rather than assume your roommate is being deliberately difficult by spreading out their menagerie of toiletries, work from the assumption that they really aren’t aware that they’re being inconsiderate. Then, focus on finding a resolution you both can live with – like adding an extra shelf, using hanging organizers, or differentiating additional shelves or drawers for each roommate’s personal use.

6. Start With a Good Apartment

The best way to avoid conflict with your roommates is by choosing an apartment that best fits your lifestyle and presents the fewest points of conflict. Crossroads Westside can help. With many layouts to choose from, onsite amenities, spacious floor plans, and a thriving nearby community, you’ll find a great base to share with your roommates. Learn more by visiting online or in-person today.