Moving out of home? If you’re a student or trying to adult and catch your break in the big smoke, chances are you’ll spend some time in a shared household with friends or strangers turned roomies. Among the challenges is the exciting task of cleaning the house…


You may not only have to study some Youtube tutorials to learn what to do, but you also have to address the fun question of who does what? How do you decide what’s fair when you have different schedules and attitudes to cleaning? You don’t want to be cleaning up someone else’s crap, nor do you want your OCD or laziness to become someone else’s problem. A clean and harmonious living space is the goal.


Biggest pet peeves about roomies include leaving dirty dishes around, that they never clean up, and on the contrary, that they’re ‘too clean’. Individual differences are inevitable so there’s a chance you and your roomie will have different mess tolerances and skills. Did they just move out of home, or have they been on their own for a while and can teach you a thing or two?


The ideal situation is to be able to have a friendly and open discussion with everyone in the house, without getting into conflict. Everyone should be heard, be understanding, and decide together on rosters and rules, considering things like work schedules.


Some general tips that will help:


  1. Everyone in charge of their own rooms – as long as the mess doesn’t spill out the bedroom doors, it’s each to their own.


  1. Everyone cleans up after themselves in communal spaces like the kitchen.


  1. A rotating roster for necessities – toilet cleans and bins are no one’s favourite.


  1. Open communication about the status of the house – phrasing concerns as “I feel…” always goes down better than the “you did this”


  1. Show patience – no one is perfect, and it may just be you who’s had the next day from hell at work


  1. Work together not against each other


In a perfect world you’ll find likeminded people to live with but this isn’t always possible. It may be difficult to live together if there are major differences in attitude towards cleaning, but with a bit of openness and understanding, you and your roomies should be able to find a solution to suit you all.