Keeping Tidy for You (and Your Roomie!)

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Remember how the old Juicy Fruit commercials used to have the song “caring is sharing; it can be fun”? The same premise works with you and your roommate. You have to share your space, so you might as well do it in a caring way where both of you can be happy. Golden rule: if your roommate takes a piece of your Juicy Fruit, talk over the conflict instead of just tackling him or her! 

Amanda Feldman, rising junior at the University of Arizona, said that after she and her roommate made a schedule and an imaginary line, it did the trick. Their weekly schedule to take turns taking out the trash and recycling insured that both Feldman and her roommate were equally sharing the responsibilities. That way, “one person wasn’t constantly cleaning up after the other,” she says. Feldman and her roomie made an imaginary line down the middle of the room because her roommate’s stuff kept floating onto her side of the room. “I am super neat and organized and she is super messy, so her stuff would always end up over my side. Once we made this rule, there were no more problems.”

Sara Hermann, a rising junior at James Madison University, says that it is “extremely beneficial to set up and start a routine as soon as you move in. If you don’t start following the schedule right away, it will keep getting pushed back and will never get done.” Especially if you have more than one roommate, it's important to “make sure that everyone is on the same page with what they are supposed to be doing and when. If there's miscommunication, it can cause more problems.” Just like with a significant other, your best friend or your mom, “making sure everyone is on the same page is a key to maintaining a healthy relationship.”

Erica Johnson, rising freshman at Harvard University, has already had experience living in dorms for two years in high school and at a collegiate summer program before that. To incoming freshman that have never shared a room before, Johnson suggests you “do laundry every week on a certain day [and] check to make sure your room doesn’t look like a tornado swept through before you go to bed. That way, your room will never get too messy with dirty clothes and other various things lying around. Another great tip: “Make sure that if you borrow something you give it back.” And just as important, ask before you borrow anything. You’ll want the same courtesy and respect, so just ask regardless if it’s for a safety pin or a room key.

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