Ah, home sweet home. There’s nothing like coming home from a busy day in class to… an overflowing trashcan, dishes in the sink and a roommate fighting with her boyfriend? Let’s be real: it’s extremely difficult to keep your cool after a sight like that. Now that your mom isn’t around anymore to clean up the mess (don’t panic, but you’re an adult now). Battling with roommates without sounding like you’re constantly nagging them is probably the most important lesson they won’t teach you in school. Bummer. But have no fear, because here are some tried and true methods to preserving your sanity.
The one (and only—seriously) good thing about living in a dorm with roommates is the roommate contracts. RAs tend to distribute these early in the year in hopes that it will keep everyone aware of what we expect from one another. That’s a lovely thought… but no. Roommate contracts really mean you have written proof with a signature that you can tattle when your roommate is throwing a little too much sass when you ask her to clean up after herself (every. time.). Use this power recklessly! Best way I’ve won an argument? Pulling out the roommate contract with my most diabolical smirk while pointing to the section on cleanliness that we BOTH agreed on. That’s right girl– I better see you cleaning that mess you and your friends made last night
Confrontation is something most people avoid and with good reason. Things can go from zero to a 100 real quick and an even bigger fight could ensue over stolen eggs or a broken plate. But sometimes if you do it right, you can get the results you want and (as the cherry on top) get a kick out of it at the same time. One night, I confronted my roommate over her extremely loud sobbing (seriously—the dead could have heard her and woken up) over a phone call argument with her boyfriend. Through intense eye contact, I could tell she thought I was a heartless bitch and she could tell I thought she was a whiney child. Knowing this while we made our way through an “adult” conversation with incredibly sarcastic undertones and thinly veiled smiles made it both one of the funniest and most awkward moments because it was so painfully obvious at that point that we couldn’t stand each other. But guess what? I never heard her overdramatic crying again. Score one for the heartless bitch!
Passive Aggressive Notes
A tale as old as time. There really is nothing like a good ol’ fashioned passive aggressive note. For those weary of having to actually make face-to-face human contact, this method is for you. When approaching a passive aggressive note, I’d advise you to keep it just that: passive. As tempting as it may be to tape a note to the fridge saying, “Hey, you disgusting mess, take out the trash once in a while!”–don’t. That more than likely won’t achieve anything except maybe cause your roommates be even messier on purpose. When my roommates thought it was too difficult to go down one flight of stairs to throw the garbage away, I wrote a note for them stating that we all needed to pull our weight in keeping the apartment clean to avoid being the next tragedy on TLC’s “Hoarding.” There was an appropriate amount of sass and no pointing fingers–two more points for me, HBIC. As an additional safety precaution, I bought some Subway cookies (white chip macadamia… mmm) and left a plate of them next to the note. Who said aggressive couldn’t be sweet?
A Favor for A Favor
Do to others as you’d like done to you, right? Or something like that. Sometimes, the best way to train your unruly roommates to be a little cleaner is to help their slob selves out. When dealing with roommates who couldn’t be bothered to wash a single dish, I swallowed my pride and washed everything in the sink—even their things. And boy, did they have a lot. Noticing my random act of kindness, one of my roommates began to wash my dishes whenever she was in the kitchen, too. Perfect–it was like a non-committal friendship with an unspoken understanding. You scratch my dirty dish back, I’ll scratch yours. However, be wary, my fellow socially anxious roommates: doing them a favor like that can be taken the wrong way. Soon you might find yourself as the maid of the house doing all the cleaning. Ain’t nobody got time for that. Try doing them a favor here and there in the pursuit of apartment cleanliness, but if they don’t reciprocate the kindness then consider voicing your concerns instead. A friendly reminder that they aren’t Disney princesses–no random animals are doing their housework for them–should do the trick.