How to keep your share house clean

Flatmates Team


More than half of our community said that messy flatmates are most annoying thing about living in a share house, more annoying than loud sex or your flatmate eating your leftovers. So if you’re a grot, have a think about how your actions could be affecting the house dynamic and um CLEAN UP.

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Let’s face it: few of us love chores. But messy homes or flatmates who are clean-deniers have been known to rip share houses apart. Even if you’re lucky enough to have a clean-freak flatmate, it’s hardly fair to leave all of the cleaning to them. To maintain smooth share house relations, everyone needs to pull their weight.

Save yourself the stress and adopt these simple and effective tactics to help keep your place (and conscience) clean.

Come clean about your expectations

Before a messy flatmate turns into Public Enemy No. 1, remember: communication is your best friend. And by communication, we don’t mean passive aggressive notes surreptitiously pinned to your flatmate’s door in the middle of the night. We mean good old-fashioned conversation.

When you live in a shared space, don’t assume that your idea of ‘clean and tidy’ is universal. What’s acceptable to one person may not be enough for another. The soap scum in the shower that drives you crazy might not bother your flatmate and your clutter on the coffee table that doesn’t faze you could infuriate them.

So, sit down and have a friendly chat about chores. Compare your cleaning habits and expectations and work to negotiate a standard that works for both of you. Compromise is key!

Flatmates tip: If you’re looking for a new share house this year, have this conversation before you move in. This will help set everyone’s expectations and support inter-flatmate harmony for the long haul.

Make a plan, spick and span

It might sound a bit oldschool, but a cleaning roster for regular chores is a solid tool. It’s the easiest way to document the standards you’ve discussed and agree on plans for meeting them in time frames that suit your schedules.

Are you nifty with a scrubbing brush but useless with a mop? There will be some chores that you enjoy doing more than others. Make sure that the roster reflects each flatmate’s strengths and partialities.

There is, of course, an app for that. As a basic task management tool, we particularly like the look of Chores App. But options like RoomMate Spaces include extra functionality like shared shopping lists and payments.

Flatmates tip: Review your schedule with your housemates after you’ve used it for a few weeks. Ask if everyone’s happy with the roster, their chores and the results and make adjustments if need be.

Many hands make light work

That’s the regular chores done, but what about the big, ugly ones? Cleaning the oven, say, or washing the windows? Two words friends: Working Bee.

Perhaps every three months, put aside a day to knock over the big jobs together. If you share the workload, it won’t seem like such a big deal. And of course, you can always make it a bit of fun.This will also make it easier for when it’s time to move out, as that end of lease clean won’t be so arduous.

What’s a working bee without an upbeat playlist? Maybe your flatmate’s a home baker or brewer who could contribute some goodies to keep energy levels high throughout the day. Don’t forget to reward yourselves with a few pizzas when it’s all done.

Flatmates tip: If you’re doing a backyard blitz, plan it around your local green waste pickup schedule. The same goes for serious cleanups indoors: depending on what you want to jettison, check the local hard rubbish collection dates so you can kick your junk to the curb on time.

Call in the experts

If your household doesn’t have time for cleaning, you might decide to pool your hard-earned cash and get a cleaner. Time is money after all!

Sharing a house or apartment is an economic necessity for most, so hiring a cleaner may sound like a luxury. But if you are pooling resources, the expense is quite affordable – especially when you think about the money that you will save on cleaning products. Sharing-economy platforms like Airtasker may help you find trusted cleaning services in your local area.

Flatmates tip: If you’re getting a cleaner for key chores, use a schedule to make sure your household gets around to the tasks that cleaner won’t be doing.

Finally, remember that we’re still in a pandemic, so whilst you might hate cleaning, keeping your house clean and hygienic is just one way to ensure the health of yourself and your flatmates. Stay safe fam!


Flatmates Team