After living in Hoosac Hall or Berkshire Towers freshman year, you might be considering living in a townhouse with your closest friends. But there’s a few things that aren’t covered in the information sessions that you have to attend to apply for a house. Here’s a short list of necessary conversations to have with your future housemates before your fun house becomes a house of terror.
1) Figure out who is messy and who is a clean freak.
This is so important. You never want it to become a normal thing for one or two people to do all of the house cleaning because that’ll make tensions high in your house early-on. Find a method that works for everyone, whether that be a chore chart with everyone’s names or agreeing on one day when everyone does their part by taking out the trash, doing the dishes, cleaning the floors or cleaning the bathrooms. Don’t assume everyone will do their part without mentioning it, make sure you discuss as a group who can do what and who will contribute what.
Which brings me to…
2) Discuss in advance who will bring what appliance/décor/cleaning supplies or other things you need for the house.
You can never be over prepared so make sure you create a list of what the house needs and what the house wants and figure out who can get what. Keep in mind that not everyone has the same budget so each person should only be asked to contribute what they can, but it’s only fair if everyone brings something to the table no matter how small. Pots, pans, bowls, cups, utensils, a microwave, a toaster, a trash can, dish cloths, a shovel, a broom, a mop. The list is never ending. Don’t let a couple people take on those costs, everyone should know what they’re getting into when they decide to move into what’s basically a test run of apartment style living.
3) Set your boundaries BEFORE you move in.
It can be hard to know what your friends are possessive of before you live with them in a townhouse or what levels of privacy they like to stick to. It’s always polite to ask before using a housemate’s stuff regardless of whether they have said you could have it in the past or if you assume they are okay with you using their things. Don’t assume that food or other things in your house are communal unless you all agree to that. If you don’t, keep track of your things and don’t use others’ things unless you have permission to. Some people will be okay with sharing everything and others won’t be, it’s okay either way.
4) Partying and guests: Know the do’s and don’ts
Just like with every other tip, this is one that you need to figure out BEFORE you decide to live together. If you’re a bookworm who never parties or has a lot of friends over, you may not want to live with someone who is always going out and loves to have people over. Also, if you know there’s going to be a significant other visiting every weekend and you don’t want too many guests, let them know that. Just like with a roommate, you need to, as a house, set boundaries for how long guests stay, what rules they need to abide by even if they are guests, and how many guests to have at once. Again, this depends on the people you live with so while some groups might be okay with guests whenever and partying, others might not be okay with it.
The big overarching rule is to set boundaries and make sure you know the living habits of those you are moving in with. What seems like a common courtesy or common sense about being respectful or polite isn’t always as common as one might think. Avoid fighting or tension by talking in advance about all aspects of living in a townhouse so you can have a fun house. Speaking from stories of both my own and others, it is much easier to prevent fights than to resolve them. Don’t just jump into living with others.