The Art of Living With People

Sharing a home is a tricky skill to master. Whether it’s your first London house share, or the other students on your corridor of the student accommodation Huddersfield has to offer, or indeed the first time you’ve moved in with a partner, there’s a delicate balance to be struck: maintaining your own space while contributing to the household, carrying your share of the weight with the basic chores of cleaning, while making sure those chores are fairly distributed and not suffering under a build up of resentment.

Today we’re here to offer some help with this tricky situation.

Honesty

It’s important to find a way to be honest with the people you live with – this doesn’t have to be fearless, relationship destroying honesty, but if you have no way to safely air issues, then they’re going to remain a source of irritation until they blossom into huge crises.

Regular house meetings might be an over-dramatic solution, but a shared WhatsApp group can act as a low stakes arena for sharing issues before they have the chance to boil over. While a level of politeness is, of course, necessary to maintain a good relationship with the people you’re working with, don’t let that mask the issues – clarity is vital!

If you’re sharing with family, close friends or a romantic partner, then discussing the washing up via text may be a little impersonal. Having these discussions face to face is a little taxing, but as long as you’re prepared to compromise they should escalate into an argument.

Planning

The best way to ensure a harmonious home is to sit down soon after you move in and make a plan. Discuss what acceptable levels of cleanliness are for you – if you’re happy with a monthly hoover and you’re living with people who expect the kitchen to be mopped every Sunday then you know you’ve got some compromising to do!

This is at it’s most important when you’re moving in with a partner. If you’ve not lived together before, you need to be really open about the amount of work you consider reasonable and required to make a happy, clean home. Always be ready to compromise – you’re not necessarily in the right, and being able to change your mind and commit to a little more and regular house work can smooth the way to a long lasting relationship.

For some a cleaning rota is the way forward, for others, making certain rooms or jobs the responsibility of a single person works best. The key thing with this approach is to make sure the labour is spread equally – cleaning the bathroom is a harder (and less pleasant) task than running a hoover over the landing, so try to make sure everyone agrees before you finish the discussion.

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