Living in a room rental in co-living space has many benefits. Not only do you enjoy lower housing costs but you also have the opportunity to widen your social circle by being plugged into a co-living community comprising individuals from different backgrounds and cultures.
It might take time adjusting to living with a complete stranger (initially). But over time, who knows, friendships can certainly develop. Here are some tips on how to get along with your co-living housemates so that everyone can enjoy a pleasant and harmonious shared living experience.
1. Work out a routine
Bathroom sharing can be a source of friction if you tend wash up at the same time. If you’re renting a master room, you won’t have this problem. But if you’re renting a common room where you’d have to share a common bathroom with another housemate, it’s a good idea to figure out each other’s schedules. Say you have to catch a bus to get to work every morning. Time is of the essence … and you’d get pretty annoyed if your housemate tends to hog the bathroom just when you need to use it. So have a frank chat with your housemate to work out your routines.
It’s also a good idea to agree when to use the laundry and dryer. Perhaps one of you could use it during odd days of the week and the other during even days. That way you know you’ll definitely be able get a set of freshly-laundered clothes in time for the next work week. You can even set a roster so that everybody takes turns throwing the rubbish into the rubbish chute.
2. Keep it clean and neat
Most co-living spaces in Singapore come with cleaning services included in the rent. But that’s not an excuse for leaving your mess lying around especially in shared areas such as the kitchen or living room.
Everybody has different standards of cleanliness. A laid-back housemate may have no qualms about leaving dirty dishes in the sink. But someone who’s a neat freak and a stickler for cleanliness may find this annoying.
To avoid conflict, it’s best to practise good hygiene at all times. Aim to tidy up things promptly. Wash your dishes and kitchen stuff immediately after use and most importantly, keep the common bathroom clean.
3. Sharing items
Have an honest and open conversation on how you might want to share items. For example, if you’re sharing a bathroom, some of you may prefer to store your own toiletries in your own room and bring them to the bathroom each time … kinda like back in college. Those who are more easygoing will probably demarcate space in the bathroom for your personal toiletries. How about toilet rolls? Hhmmm, that’s a good question to sort out.
When it comes to the kitchen, do you share cooking oil and condiments? If you have a no-sharing policy, then you’d have to label your bottles and food items clearly. That’d avoid confusion when you reach for your things in the kitchen cabinets or fridge.
4. Be considerate
Be considerate towards your housemates. If you’re a gamer or like to watch YouTube or Netflix in the comforts of your own room, be respectful and keep the volume down so that living together can be a peaceful experience for all.
What if you want to bring your friends home or throw a dinner party? Do check in with your housemates on whether they’re cool with that. A sociable housemate may welcome the opportunity to join in and meet your friends but other more private individuals may not be so keen to have visitors over. So do suss out what your housemate prefers.
5. Get to know each other
Living in a shared space is a chance to widen your social network. So if you’re housemates are up for it, take the time to get to know each other through coffee mornings. You can hit the gym together, explore the sights together during weekends or check out new cafes or restaurants.
Who knows, you may discover that you have common interests. If you click and have plenty in common, organise social gatherings and introduce your housemate to your friends and vice versa.
Embracing the co-living lifestyle can ultimately land you a lifelong friend. Be proactive and open-minded in getting to know your housemates. Be considerate … and give and take. But if you do encounter challenges in communicating or can’t seem to sort things out, the last resort is to get your landlord to step in as a mediator.