Eeek...clean up that mess!

Keeping community living areas clean & furnished appropriately can be difficult, especially when you’ve got quite a few roommates who are all on different schedules. At RentShare, we feel your pain. Living with others isn’t always easy, and we know what it’s like to end up sharing space with your polar opposite. Hopefully what we’ve learned from our experiences can help make your living situation more pleasant than ever before.

Divide and Conquer

No one wants to buy a $100 TV stand, but four people might pitch in $25 to get to that total. You may not be looking forward to the inevitable debate of who gets the TV stand when everyone moves out, but chances are that two of the people won’t want to bother moving it and one won’t care because it was $25 well spent. Congrats on being the lucky winner of the table that survived three years of beatings!

You’ll also have to deal with the fact that this most likely applies to more than one necessary item. Just keep on dividing and conquering. Pretty much all of the items you’d buy to fill out shared living spaces are items that you’ll need later down the road, so there’s no harm in investing now and getting even more use out of it. I’ve got a couple of those sets of plastic drawers that worked out well in my college house, and now they provide great bathroom and closet storage, mostly because I don’t have a lot of counter and closet space.

Less is More

Hallways are hallways, and unless you’re a family of five that could use the storage, keep hallways clear. There’s no need for that small table on which to throw your keys if you can just as easily hang them on a hook on the wall or even on a dish on the kitchen counter. After a late night at the library, the last thing I wanted to see at 5 a.m. was another obstacle between me and my bed.

The living room is a great place for secret storage. Ikea, for example, sells a number of sofa beds that take up a minimal amount of room and provide massive amounts of storage hidden in the arm rests. The same goes for the matching ottomans – they open up to room for blankets, pillows, and more.

Don’t overcrowd your space, as it will end up as more of a frustration than anything else. There is no need to line the walls with shelves and cabinets – everything will find its place. It takes some time, and if you’re anything like me, you’ll acquire more stuff than you ever thought possible. So, to save yourself from the extra junk, think about where you’ll put things before you buy them. Works like a charm.

Sharing a Room

On the off chance that you’re sharing a bedroom as well, you’ll need to do some extra planning. Invest in a dresser that’s bigger but can be shared and those over-the-door shoe holders for your closet. Storing seasonal items under your bed can save room too – especially when it comes to clothing – but you can also put items underneath that you use regularly as long as you’ve got easy access. Think shoes, purses and backpacks, sweatshirts, and scarves and gloves.

Make Rules

It sounds silly to make a roommate agreement when you’ve been out of dorms for five years, but it seriously does help. Even if it’s just a verbal agreement of not leaving things on the floor in common areas or running the dishwasher when you see it’s full, having some ground rules can help things run much more smoothly. One of the things we’ve done as a house is cleaned up and then sat down together and said, “OK, look around, because this is how things should always look. If it doesn’t look like this, then fix it.”

We’re all adults, so confront a roommate when something isn’t sitting right. Chances are, your roommate either didn’t know or is just plain lazy. But hey, at least you’ll know and be able to do something about it, even if that means getting a head start on the apartment search for when your current lease is up.

What do you do to help save space and keep your space clean? Let us know!