Sharehouse Living: a guide

Hanging out with your friends everyday (sweet!), someone using up all of your Aesop shower gel (visions of strangulation), saving a bunch of money on rent and bills (sick!), untraceable smells of God knows what coming from God knows where ($#*!). Reckon the years spent living with your family would prepare you for the sharehouse life? Yeah nah. 

All good though, we’ve whipped up the ultimate guide for you, because the line between loving the sharehouse life and wanting to deck your roomies on a daily basis is very fine.

1. Communication Is Key

As cathartic as it is to vent on the group chat about your roommate that never refills the kettle or listens to the bass boosted version of Gasolina by Daddy Yankee between the hours of 2am and 4am every single night… it’s not going to solve anything. No one’s a mind reader, and more often than not, your roommate doesn’t know that thing they do legit annoys you, because you haven't said anything about it. Be open and honest - healthy communication between you and your flatmates is a flex. 

2. Talk About Your Non-Negotiables 

Is it an “immediately no” moment when you see someone using your mug or when random guests rock up and habitually sleepover? Sharing your non-negotiables upfront with each other doesn’t make you high-maintenance, instead, it helps create a more considerate living environment.

3. Discuss Your Schedules

You don’t want to be the person banging around in the kitchen early in the morning, making a protein shake with a Nutribullet, when your flatmate is trying to catch some zzz’s after an overnight Kmart shift. Have a chat about your schedules so that you’re all aligned.

Be open and honest - healthy communication between you and your flatmates is a flex.

Suggestion: Think about creating a sharehouse calendar to avoid conflicts with each other's schedules. For example: Got to study for uni exams? Pop “quiet time” in the calendar.

4. Come Up With House Rules  

Get on the same page early on and remember to put it all in writing. That way, you can pull up the rules when whoever's supposed to take out the recycling starts slacking off. Some things your house rules could consist of are: guest visitation rules, house party rules, chores, quiet times and bill deadlines.

5. Who Owns The Packet Of Twisties?

Figure out if you’re cool with sharing the groceries or not. If going to the fridge to grab a caramel UP&GO from the 12 pack you bought, only to find none left makes you fume, then sharing might not be for you. You could keep all groceries separate or identify the things that you all definitely want to share (chill oil, salt, pepper, vegemite) and split the cost of just those essentials. Or make a rule that you can all share, but no one takes the last of an item they didn’t buy? As long as it works for your household, do it.

6. Talk expenses 

Money is a sensitive topic, so you all need to be on the same page when it comes to splitting expenses. Remember in the beginning when we talked about healthy communication? Yeah, that comes in handy here. There isn't necessarily a right way or wrong way to split expenses.  For example, you’ve got three roommates and one of them has the smallest room and no ensuite… it wouldn’t be “fair” that they pay the exact same rent as the other two. The general rule of thumb is as long as your roommates are happy and feel that the splits are fair – you’re set.

Once you’ve got the hard money talk out of the way, make it easy on yourselves by using a splitting app like Backpocket. With Backpocket you can create a housemates group chat to track, send, split and request money all in one place.

7. Be Flexible And Open To Compromise 

Your casa is literally also your roommate's casa. You’re sharing a space with other human beings so it’s impossible to think that you’ll all have the same habits and methods of doing things. You will most likely clash, but always remember to be respectful and open with each other. If there’s a rule that no dishes should be left in the sink but you’re running late for work and have no time, message the group chat and let them know that you’ll wash up when you get back. Don’t like opening the windows in the living room, but your roommates do? Bring it up, and then find a creative solution to ensure you all get what you want without conflict. 

It’s an ongoing process. You might need to reevaluate how the compromises are working down the line. But that's the sharehouse life. You’ll come out of it with good friends, mad stories and A+ conflict resolution skills.