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Keeping the Peace: A Roommate’s Guide to Household Harmony

Leaving home is thrilling, and the idea of living on your own and away from familial drama seems almost too good to be true—and it just might be. Having a kitchen that isn’t overflowing with your dad’s latest Costco finds is exciting, until the problem shifts to having fights over the last pack of Oreos. These days, college apartments consist of paper-thin walls that quickly undermine some of the perks of having your own room.

While the benefits of apartment living (hopefully) outweigh the inconveniences, Florida State sophomore Sydney Boyd spoke with Her Campus to give her top five tips. We cover things like how to work out the small kinks that can turn into bigger issues when living among people your own age, and she includes some advice on ways to improve the overall comradery of the apartment. This is what she had to say about how she has adjusted to the move post-fall semester.

Her Campus (HC): So what are your top five tips for success when living with a bunch of 20-year-old girls?

Sydney Boyd (SB): Tip 1: Buy your own groceries!

It seems silly, but literally drawing a line for fridge space and buying all of your own food saves so much grief at mealtime. Borrowing an egg is one thing, but divvying up a dozen eggs leaves someone breakfast-less by Friday. The key to sharing a kitchen is only sharing the appliances; draw the line when it comes to food.

Tip 2: Treat your roommates as roommates.

It’s easy to want to be best friends with the people you live with, but treating them first as roommates is essential to not accumulating drama too quickly. Keep your friends separate until you decide you want your roommate to be your friend. Gradually hang out with them, but don’t spend time with them 24/7. For the same reasons everyone always warns you to not make your best friend your roommate, make sure your roommate doesn’t become your only best friend.

Tip 3: Assign chores.

If someone always takes out the trash, make that their thing. If someone else always wipes the counters, that’s what they will always do. Having assigned chores avoids the debate of who’s turn it is, but rather makes that person responsible for their “thing.”  It becomes pretty obvious when they’re not holding up their end of the bargain, which makes it way easier to address when you have to send that text about the overflowing trash.

Tip 4: Set expectations for guests.

Having people over is all fun and games until you have an eight a.m. and they’re screaming at midnight. Being clear about your rules for having friends over is very important to maintaining boundaries and overall peace. To avoid tension in the morning, address the problem quickly and squash it before it becomes a pattern. The worst thing to do is to let it keep happening, and then spark an emotional argument when you finally hit your breaking point.

Tip 5: Don’t team up on one another.

Something that is really important is not forming cliques among the apartment. It is easy to gossip about your other roommates, but I have learned that it’s much better to vent to a person that is not sharing a place with you. Friends are a separate entity, and you can make them your outlet instead of your other roomies.

While Sydney recognizes that no roommate situation or relationship is perfect, she has learned some strategies to help alleviate any problems that may occur or avoid them before they have a chance to happen. College comes with a whirlwind of emotions, and the biggest source certainly shouldn’t have to be the place you reside or who you share it with. Keeping the peace at home establishes a safe space that is necessary when so many other things are changing as a student, preparing to navigate the real world.

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a sophomore at Florida State majoring in Business Marketing.
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