10 Tips- How to be a Great Roommate: from One Who Should Know!
In 2011, Arlington, VA resident Jesse McLaughlin spotlighted his awesome roommate skills to win the Apartments.com Roommate of the Year online video contest and capture the coveted title “Roommate of the Year.” Here, McLaughlin shares a few key tips to help even the most average roommate kick their roomie skills up a notch.
1. Clean up after yourself (and occasionally your roommate)
If, every so often, you do a few extra dishes or sweep the floor, your roommate will probably let it slide the time you forget to clean before heading out of town for a weekend.
2. Pay your share of the bills in a timely fashion
You might be scraping the bottom of the bank account this month to pay the rent, but don’t hang your roommate out to dry to cover your share. Cut back on extra spending and make bills your first priority.
3. Avoid shared purchases
Despite what you learned in preschool, sharing the cost of big-ticket items can cause major problems. Going half-sies on a big-screen TV saves money in the short run, but what happens when someone moves out? Unless you and your roommate discuss all scenarios ahead of time, stick with buying your own stuff.
4. Come up with house rules
By taking a few minutes to establish house rules before you move in, you can save months of conflict over how loud late-night guests can be on a weeknight, who empties the trash, or how many nights can that girl/boyfriend can sleep over in a row before owing rent.
5. Alone time
Yes, the apartment is partly yours and you have every right to be there. But sometimes it can be a little taxing to be in the same small space with someone for days on end. Take a walk, go get some coffee or just get out of the house to give your roommate a mental breather every now and then, and they’ll be likely to return the favor when you need a break.
6. Dress appropriately
Need we regale you with the cautionary tale of the naked roommate? Pajamas are fine at times. Anything less would be, well, uncivilized.
7. Your pet isn’t the “house mascot”
If you were lucky enough to find a roommate who loves Fido or Fluffy, don’t press your luck by expecting them to water, feed, play with, walk or otherwise care for YOUR furry companion.
8. Fridge fiascos
Some roommates don’t mind sharing the Prime steaks they just bought, while others will notice if a single ounce of milk has gone missing. Make sure you have a solid food sharing/separation policy in place before the first trip to the grocery store.
9. The basics of borrowing
Ask, ask, ask. Even though your roommate is “totally cool with it,” make sure you ask before you borrow her heels or his DVD. Borrowing without asking sets a bad precedent that could lead to conflict down the road.
10. Talk it out
Disagreements between roommates are bound to happen, it’s human nature. When they do arise, cool off and discuss the situation with your roommate instead of letting the dispute fester for weeks on end.
Think you’ve got these top 10 tips covered? Put your roommate prowess to the ultimate test and enter the 2012 Apartments.com Roommate of the Year video contest (www.roommateoftheyear.com). The talented and terrific roomie who creates the most compelling video showcasing their roommate abilities will win the grand prize in this national competition and will be living a little easier with a year of free rent plus $10,000 in cash. All roommates are encouraged to go to www.roommateoftheyear.com to learn how to enter either, as well as view past winning videos for inspiration. The deadline for contest entries is noon EDT on May 21, 2012.
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