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How to cope in your first shared student house

17 Sep 2018

Even if you’ve successfully managed to live in halls of residence for a year, going into a house share is a completely different beast. Suddenly there are other people to consider! A living room! A TV even? And a proper kitchen! You’ve got bills to pay, you’ve got a bathroom to clean and you’ve got other people living in your house that you don’t want to upset!
While living with your friends is really exciting and fun, our top tips will ensure you’re still friends at the end of the year!

1. Decide how you’re going to manage food

cooking pasta

Are you all going to cook your own food, or will it make sense to have a rota system where everyone takes it in turns to buy ingredients cook for everyone else? And who washes up after? A rota system is a good idea if you’ve got a small group and don’t want to eat the same thing four nights in a row and is a good way to take advantage of supermarket buy-one-get-one-free offers. However, if one person is used to sirloin steak and another’s culinary skills only stretch to cooking Pot Noodles you might be best off cooking individually!

2. Set up a kitty or decide a system for buying communal supplies

toilet paper

In a similar vein, decide what items in the house are for sharing and how you organise buying them. Things like bin bags, toilet paper and cleaning supplies make sense to be communal, but also cooking essentials like oil and salt. Ensure you have a system set up for paying for these - there will always be someone who always claims they bought the last pack of bin bags!

3. Discuss what everyone is going to bring

You don’t want to end up with three toasters, two microwaves and no kettle. If you were self-catered previously you might not need to bring all your pans and your full set of crockery, but make sure you have everything you need before you leave all your mugs at your parents’ house.

4. Make sure you get some space

We all have different needs when it comes to socialising, so make sure you get your own space and your housemates have theirs. Set rules when it comes to door policies – you might think your open door means you welcome visitors, but your housemate might want some quiet time.

5. Communicate!

post it notes

Nobody has ever appreciated a passive aggressive note, so don’t do it! You’re much better off talking if you have a problem, no matter how minor. You’re bound to fall out with your housemates at some point, but expressing yourself is much more effective than bottling it up (or leaving a note!)

6. Don’t hog communal spaces

It’s not fair for you to be asleep on the sofa on a Sunday afternoon when your housemate’s parents are coming over, or to have an hour-long bath when you only have one bathroom. While it’s your living space as much as everyone else’s, make sure you use it fairly so nobody feels like they can’t enjoy it too.

7. Decide how to manage bills

money calculator

Yep, you have bills to pay now! Alongside rent, you’re likely to have water, electric and maybe gas, on top of internet bills. How you manage them is up to you – some people set up a joint account and set up standing orders to pay for each bill, or you could have one person in charge of a bill each. Whatever you do, make sure everyone is paying fairly and everyone pays up on time!

8. Respect everyone else’s schedules


If you have a 9am lecture, you don’t want your housemates having a house party til 4am, and similarly, if you’ve had a late night studying you won’t appreciate music being blasted at 7am! Ensure you have a good understanding of everyone’s schedules as well as their body clocks so you can make sure everyone is happy!

9. Make sure you know the rules

It’s a good idea to find out early on how involved your landlord might be and any rules they may have. Can you stick things on the walls? Can you call them in the middle of the night if you’ve found a leak? Will they be doing any checks throughout the year to make sure you haven’t burned the place down? The last thing you want is to find out you weren’t supposed to nail anything into the wall right when you’re about to get your deposit back…

10. Spend time with your housemates

students hanging out

Even if you’re already good friends, living together is a totally different experience! Make sure you have a couple of nights a month to just hang out together with your housemates – it will definitely make living together easier if you all get along!

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