Pile of dirty plates in a sink.

How to have a harmonious flat

It can be stressful moving away from home. You have to shop for yourself, cook for yourself, wash your own clothes and even do your own washing up! Even if these things aren’t completely new to you, it’s likely you leant on your mum and dad to do them occasionally when the going got tough.

I found it really difficult to begin with. It felt like I didn’t have enough hours in the day. But all of this is made so much more complicated by the fact that you’re not living in this new place by yourself. You have flatmates.

Flatmates who might be allergic to washing up or blind to the bins getting full. But if you follow these tips, you’ll have a shot at having a peaceful and clean(ish) flat.

  1. Have a house meeting

It might seem boring, and it might not be the kind of thing to bring up during freshers week, but, at some point, you should all get together as a flat and lay down some ground rules. Are you going to share some expenses as a flat? Who’s going to buy the washing up liquid? How long is it acceptable to let dishes sit in the sink? Who’s going to take the bins out? Sort it out, and write it down.

  1. Do your part

Now everyone knows what is expected of them and when, make sure you do it! If you start shirking your responsibilities, you might get a reputation for being the lazy one or the one who can’t be trusted to do anything before the year has properly started. Make sure once there is an agreement that you stick to it whenever possible. And if you forget, own up to it!

  1. Don’t stress everyone out

So you’ve had your meeting and you know it’s not your turn to take the bins out. But there they are. Still sitting in the kitchen. As much as you don’t want to be the lazy one, you don’t want to be the uptight one. Trust that whoever is meant to take the bins out will get to it eventually, at least for the first week or so. Wait until the third week when no one has done any washing up for about 8 days and there isn’t any milk even though you bought 2 pints yesterday. Then maybe have a word.

  1. Understand that you have annoying habits too

They might not be so obvious as drinking all the milk or never doing your washing up, but there will be things that annoy your flatmates about you as well. Maybe you’re always the one to remind them of their chores, or maybe you’re noisy when you come in at 3 in the morning! Try to be aware of them and prevent them from becoming an issue.

  1. Talk things out in person

When something doesn’t get done, it may be tempting to send a snarky message into the group chat, or even just a picture of the pile of washing up that has become a health hazard. But talking to your flatmates in person will ensure you can get your point across without coming across as too mean or harsh.

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