7 tips for a harmonious share house



Living peacefully with your flatmates isn’t rocket science. It just takes three things: respect, doing what’s best for the house and cleaning up after yourself (and by “yourself” we’re referring to you, your pet dog, goldfish, rock, boyfriend and the plethora of mates who come to visit.)

image Image: Masao Nishikawa

With help from Shared Living, here are our top 7 tips on how to make shared living shine.

Know your Flatmates’ routine

Your flatmate needs to sleep during the day to be able to go out and save lives as an ambo at night. You’re feeling your oats and think blasting some WAP in the middle of their nap time is a good idea. It’s not. Knowing your flatmates’ routines is important if you’re going to be an even remotely considerate share houser. This way, you’ll never impinge on anyone’s sleep patterns, or cop flack for hogging the shower when they have a job interview in an hour.

Hot tip: Generally speaking, headphones in for Netflix binges after 10pm on weeknights.

Invest in a quality couch

If this is the 5th share house this couch has graced and you still don’t know its origin (other than the side of the road you found it on 4 years ago), maybe it’s time for an upgrade. The couch is really the heart of any share house. It’s where you and your flatmates will spend the majority of your communal time — movie nights, gossip sessions and board game arvos. Invest in a good couch and you’ll have a solid foundation for share house satisfaction.

Take responsibility for your food

If it’s your mouldy banana in the fruit bowl, help a friend out and compost that baby. You’ll be doing your flatmates — and planet Earth! — a favour. Same goes for the fridge: week-old leftovers and almost-empty jars of sticky what-even-is-that have no place here.

Food responsibility also includes the thorny question of eating your flatmates’ food. A good rule of thumb is: if you eat it, replace it. But keep in mind that even this may not hold up in practice. Perhaps your flatty was planning to use the last of their milk, which you just scoffed, on their breakfast this morning, so you won’t even have time to replace it. Eat at your own risk!

Hot tip: If you just want to taste their leftovers, follow their fork marks and they’ll be none the wiser.

Embody your inner dish pig

Wash your dishes, wash your undies, wash the shower. It’s just nice to walk into a clean shower, when you yourself want to become clean. If your flatmate is a fake tan fiend, they might need a little reminder that Bondi Sands is long lasting – especially on the bathroom tiles.

If you can foresee that by cleaning once, you’ll end up cleaning all the time, try planning a cleaning routine with your housemates so everyone does their fair share.

Marie Kondo your life

You may think your 3 pairs of shoes by the door and your bike in the hallway spark joy, but they are grinding on your flatmates’ last nerve as they trip on them every day when coming home from work. Move them.

Better yet, keep your things in your own room. Shared spaces need to be just that: shared. That means minimal clutter and furnishings you can all agree on.

Bin Night Hero

The only thing less fun than Bin Tetris is Bin Jenga, when all of the cartons and boxes from the past week fall over the kitchen floor, flicking their old juices on you and the adjoining walls. This means that you — yes, you — need to embody your inner bin chicken and take the bins out. Tonight! It’ll only take 5 minutes, we promise.

Prepare to talk

Even the most considerate person in the world is unlikely to please all of their housemates all of the time. Different people have different expectations and it may just be that your housemate asks you to change some behaviour you didn’t even realise was annoying for them. Take it in good humour and adapt.

Likewise, don’t put off discussing any issues you might have with how they manage the house. If you do, the moment at which you raise those issues is more likely to be heated and lead to unintended, pass-ag af consequences. Approach these kinds of conversations when you’re both feeling good and you’ll be more likely to arrive at an outcome that suits all parties concerned.

Want to live harmoniously like the flatmates pictured above? Make like Keisuke and Taku who share together in Tokyo. Their secret? “Keep tidy all the time. Also always care about your housemate and how they feel.”
Always think about your flatmates your shared living place will shine as well.

Flatmates has partnered with Shared Living, the bible on share houses. Author Emily Hutchinson has complied photos and stories from flatmates from around the world.





Claudia is Flatmates' Associate Product Manager and looks after our Flatmates Community. She loves her share house, her plants and her side-hustles.