The unspoken rules of share homes

Flatmates Team

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If you’ve lived in a share house for any length of time, you’ll know there are certain unspoken rules that flatmates generally follow. Life in a share house can be a hoot and and it can also go kaput so make sure you have these golden rules in your back pocket.

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You won’t find them written in your tenancy agreement, but they’re every bit as important if you want to live in harmony with your flatmates and enjoy the share home experience. So without further ado….

Someone else’s food: never open or finish anything

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Just because you’re sharing living spaces, a kitchen and appliances with your flatmates, doesn’t mean it’s open slather on absolutely every item . Unless you’ve agreed otherwise, consider each person’s food their personal property.

General rule of thumb: never open or finish anything. Too obvious, too hard to cover up and of course you’ll need to replace it.

The same goes for leftovers. That piece of lasagna your flatmate boxed up after dinner last night looks mighty appetising - but it ain’t for your tum girl! Don’t touch it unless they’ve given you the go-ahead and check if your flatmate has plans for those eggs before you make yourself an omelet.

To make things easier, set aside a shelf in the fridge and the pantry for each flatmate. Make sure you leave space for a communal shelf, where the food is a free-for-all. You can place food there if you’re in the mood to share, you’re over your meal prep or you want to help reduce food waste.

Spices and condiments are fair game

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However it’s a different story for pantry staples. Spices and condiments are generally considered the property of the house, rather than coming under the sole custody of the housemate who bought them.

Salt, pepper, sugar, butter, tomato sauce and other standard, everyday items are usually considered communal.

That said, if you finish an item, it’s your responsibility to replace it. At the very least, let your flatmates know so that the next person who visits the supermarket can restock it.

Whoever tops the bin, drops it

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While it’s tempting to just keep piling rubbish and scraps on top of your house’s very full bin, don’t.

If fitting anything else into the bin requires a bit of a balancing act, an unspoken rule dictates that it’s your turn to take out the trash.

So do the right thing, tie off the bag and hopefully your housemates will return the favour the next time around. Or you know, just have a chore roster and make bin duty one of the tasks #simples.

First awake is the first to shower

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Managing the morning shower timetable can be something of a juggling act — particularly in share homes with three or more flatmates and only one bathroom.

Arranging a set shower schedule is one way to manage things if multiple housemates get ready for work at the same time.

Honestly idc about your morning routine, if you’re the first to rise, make it easy on everyone and shower first. This way, the shower’s guaranteed to be free for your flatmates when they get up. It’s for the greater good!

Don’t leave your mess for others to clean up

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We all have different standards of cleanliness, but if you’re not sure what “clean” means, take a few cues from your flatmates.

Don’t be that messy that gets on everyone’s nerves. Shared spaces need to be liveable for everyone, so it’s good to be considerate and neaten up when you leave. That might include taking books, papers and games with you when you leave the living area or washing all your dishes and wiping the benches clean after cooking. Yes you need to wipe the benches and the stove top.

It also means throwing out food that’s past its best. Do everyone a favour and throw out food before it starts to smell. Better yet compost it.

Share house bathrooms, in particular, can get pretty dirty pretty quickly, so if you want to keep things sweet, do a quick check after you take a shower or get ready to go out. Maybe keep a cloth handy so you can give the mirror or benches a wipe, hang up the bath mat, get your hair out of the plug hole, and — of course — use that toilet brush. No flatmate needs to see your skid marks.

Replace the roll

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Speaking of bathroom rules: if you use the last of the toilet paper, R&R = Replace the Roll.

Don’t wait; do it as soon as you wash your hands. If you don’t, you’ll forget, and we’ve all been there, right? Save your flatmates (and potentially yourself) the embarrassment of a paper-free pee … or worse.

If the replacement is the last roll in the pack, take the initiative and buy more — or ask your flatmate if they’re on their way to the shops.

Keep it quiet — and contained

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Love is love but not at 3am on the kitchen counter of your share house. Noisy romantic involvements, like those that erupt into the shared spaces of the home, are also a no-no (or at least a no-no when your flatmates are home).

Better to enjoy yourself — and your accomplice — in the privacy of your own room than to put yourselves on display for your poor housemate who only wanted a glass of water before they went back to sleep.

Also better to keep your bedroom rumblings to low than have an awkward morning-after conversation about “noise levels” with the flatmate from the next room. If you don’t want to hear them reach any proverbial “peaks”, rest assured that they don’t want to hear you either.

These are the unspoken rules but every share house will have their own quirks and rules as well. With anything share related, it is much better to chat it out together than keep all of these feelings to yourself.

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Flatmates Team

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