How to Create a Harmonious Share House

Want to avoid your house share becoming a dysfunctional abode where the cohabitants avoid eye contact? Then read on for some valuable tips on creating a blissful house share with fun, friendly people that become your little family.

1.Set the house rules from the start

Having clear lines of communication from the start is crucial for maintaining a happy and harmonious house share. Set out what is expected of each housemate in terms of chores, routines and boundaries so that everyone is on the same page. If there are any important factors to be highlighted, like food allergies or unusual quirks of an old house, ensure everyone has been told or there could be some red-faced scenarios. If any issues or perceived issues come up, it’s extremely important to discuss them straightaway as unresolved and unstated problems can simmer and cause bad feeling. It pays to have a communal noticeboard where you can leave messages so you can keep the channels of communication open even if you’re not often in the house together.

2. Take control in the communal areas

The beauty of shared living is that everyone brings bit of themselves to the house and the décor should reflect everyone’s individual personalities rather than just one person’s style. It’s fair to say that most shared homes will have an eclectic style, however if you want to avoid a ‘free-for-all’ look in the communal areas, why not divide the room up into sections for each person to decorate? Sure, the result might be a little mismatched, however it will be a true testament to your house share being a mix of unique characters working together as a whole.

3. Don’t hog the bathroom

Overlapping shower times can mess with routines, particularly if you all leave for work at the same time, so it pays to figure out a schedule that works for everyone. It might mean someone has to shower in the morning and someone in the evening, but if the house flows then so do the smiles. This also applies to the laundry so that everyone gets clean clothes on time for work or gym sessions etc. Invest in a laundry bin so you can store your dirty washing in the privacy of your own bedroom until it is time to do your own, and keep the laundry line moving by hanging out your washing as soon as it’s finished. Your housemates won’t appreciate pegging up your undies!

4. Avoid dinnertime disasters

Are you someone that becomes ‘hangry’ at mealtimes? Do you hate having to wait for stovetop and bench space before you can prepare your dinner? Well, one solution is to consider cooking and eating together. Each housemate could be allocated a day to cook so everyone takes it in turns, and similarly the washing up could be dished out as well- excuse the pun! If that doesn’t appeal, then you could use the same organization tactics as with the shower and laundry and draw up a cooking roster, and then everyone is responsible for washing up their own dishes.

5.Create a catch-up-space

Having a dedicated catch-up space is a great way of communicating with housemates and keeping up with their lives so that everyone feels valued and part of the ‘family’. It could be at the breakfast bar or dining table, or maybe on the front porch, but it’s wise not to have it where there is a TV as nothing much will get said.

6. Respect people’s privacy

All housemates need some down time away from others and this usually happens in their bedroom. So when doors are shut, take that as a message that housemates want some space and respect their privacy. Also, just because you share a house, it doesn’t give you carte blanche to raid their kitchen cupboards or toiletry bag. If you’ve run out of something, just ask! Politeness will always win you friends.

7. Label your food
Another way to discourage scavengers from raiding your essentials is to label your things or owning a shelf in the fridge. It might seem petty, but the last thing you want is to come home after work to find someone has delved into your leftovers or eaten your treats. One thing you could consider is sharing the household staples, such as olive oil, herbs and spices, and splitting the bill. If you decide to share these items make it clear what they are from the outset. Make sure there’s no confusion and your biscuit stash will be safe.

8. Hire a cleaner

Household chores must be the biggest cause of friction in a shared house as no one wants to clear up someone else’s mess and clutter. If you have the funds it would be wise to hire a cleaner once a week that can blitz the communal areas, such as the kitchen, bathroom, living room and hallways. That way, it’s only bedrooms that have to been cleaned by their owners, and there’s more fun, social time to be had with your housemates.

9. Toilet paper crisis

Don’t get caught out, make it a common courtesy to replace the toilet paper if you use the last of it. You could also go one step further and create a household kitty jar – everyone puts in $5 a week for essential groceries and you can do a shop online to keep yourselves covered.

10. Your bedroom is your sanctuary

Your bedroom becomes extra important in a share house, as it’s your own space to relax and unwind. Keep it calm and clutter free with the help of storage, and pop in a chair or floor cushions if you have the room so that it feels like a sociable space that you’ll want to chill out in as well.


Written by louise o’bryan

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