By Jesse Collier. Updated August 2017. 

Don’t worry about living with roommates this year! Read on to discover the best ways to get along with your roommates and how to deal with the not so great ones!


roommates sitting together


Do you have a dirty roommate with trash in their room that you can smell down the hall? How about one that floods the bathroom and damages your belongings?

We all have that one terrible roommate story which follows us throughout our years in uni. The key to not letting that roommate ruin the experience is knowing how to live with them!




Surviving With Roommates In Uni


The school year is fast approaching, so we’ve put together a list of eight tricks to survive your roommates in uni. Not all of them may apply to you, but we hope you’ll take our advice and have some great years in school without worrying about the people you live with!


1. Choosing Your Roommates


puppies laying in the grass


The number one rule to not getting a bad roommate is to choose wisely in the first place. Do you already have a group that you know will work together? Perfect!

But what if there’s one person that isn’t quite right for your group? The key here is to judge your potential roommates based on interactivity with other people. If you feel someone might be a problem when you’re not living with them, they’ll probably not fit in when you do live with them.

However, that’s not to say that differences among your roommates is a bad thing. Uniqueness in your house goes a long way in determining how you will spend your year.

Yet if everyone in the house likes to throw parties and one person doesn’t, that could spell trouble for your after-exam kegger.


2. Decide Who Gets What


large bedroom


Your bedroom probably won’t look like the one in the picture, but what if there’s one large bedroom in your house that everyone wants?

Once you’ve finalized who your roommates are going to be and everyone has decided on the perfect place, it’s time to decide who gets what. This could be rooms, bathrooms, or anything else that can be split equally.

The first step is to choose who gets what room. In most student residences, not all rooms are the same size and shape, and some include additional amenities such as having the thermostat on the wall (trust me, it’s a major plus).

Some people decide to just pick names out of a hat, and whoever gets drawn first gets to pick their room first. This might reduce some bitterness as it’s all “luck of the draw”. This is a better option if all of the rooms are different sizes. 

However a fairer (but more complicated) way of choosing would be to increase rent for the larger rooms. You’ll have to meet with your housemates to decide how to calculate the rent for each room, but there’s really only two options:


  1. Fixed Rate – Say your place has 5 rooms, where a set of 3 rooms are identical and a set of 2 rooms are identical. Setting a fixed rate (such as $50 extra in rent for the bigger rooms) will take complicated calculations out of the picture.
  2. Rate By Size – If your group is good with measurements, you could ask for the square feet of each room, then base rent off of that.


When your group decides who gets what, make sure it’s as fair as possible and that everyone agrees with the way for deciding it. You don’t want one roommate salty for the entire year over being shafted with the tiny room.


3. Set Some Rules


Move-in day is always exciting. You move into a new place (or renew a lease for another year). Either way, your house will be clean and in order. With no rules though, that order could turn into insect problems and junk everywhere quickly.

When you move in, make sure you have some rules in place. Create schedules for who does the dishes, their laundry, and cleaning. Having schedules will reduce arguing over who’s doing what as everyone can look at the schedule. It also lets you see who’s slacking if things don’t get done.




4. Dish Out Duties


paying for bills

Do you have a tech-savvy roommate? Have them be in control of the internet bill. Have another person be in control of the utilities.


Designating roles for the bills will be easier than setting up a joint banking account and having everyone contribute to it every month, as it’s harder to keep track of who has paid.



5. Do Things Together


going out with roommates


One of the most important things about living with roommates is doing things together! This could be having a casual drink with the boys or a ladies night out on the town.

Whatever your mood, try including your roommates in your plans. It will create a more cohesive household and everyone will be a lot happier.

Try these ways to have a great night out!

Do you have other things you do with your housemates that you want to share? Put them in the comments below!


6. Set Boundaries


put locks on doors to deter roommates


Open door means come in, closed door means don’t. It’s as simple as that. Putting in this one rule will avoid a lot of embarrassing walk-ins, but will also keep everyone away from your stuff.

Also create some boundaries for when guests are over. Unless you and your roommates hang in the same squad, odds are that you won’t know everyone passing through your place.

If you need to go in another person’s room for any reason, make sure that you contact them first (yes, you should have your roommates’ phone numbers).


7. Have Quiet Periods


do things together with housemates


During exam season, a no-noise zone is usually a given. But what if you have an important test coming up and your roommates just want to party?

Depending on the size of your house, you could set up a study room. Have everyone party on the ground floor, then go study upstairs where the bass isn’t rocking so hard.

If you don’t have a huge place, you could ask them to take the party elsewhere. If you all get along pretty well, they should have no problem setting up at someone else’s house.

Alternatively, you can also go to the library or another quiet place where there isn’t a whole lot of noise to distract you.


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8. Collaborate On Common Purchases


purchasing utensils for housemates


When you have more people in your home, it makes sense to collaborate on common purchases in order to save money. These could be utensils, appliances such as microwaves and toasters, or even on food.

You could also have people buy things such as furniture and then have them keep it after everyone moves out to avoid arguments over who keeps what.

Whichever way you choose, use apps like Venmo or Paypal to make payments easier to track.


Ultimately, have fun with your roommates! The first rule to surviving your roommates is to get along from the beginning!

Do you have other tips, tricks, or stories to share about living with roommates? Put them in the comments below!

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