Thursday, May 31, 2012

How to Live Peacefully with Roommates in NYC

(My first roommates in NYC circa 2006 - The lovely Lauren and Renie) 

Craigslist horror stories in New York City are days of your early twenties past – when all you could afford was the cheapest walk up with three strangers in Bed-Stuy. For those of us in our mid to late-twenties, we can afford to be a bit more selective when choosing who we live with and where we do it. But, whether you’re living in your first apartment with strangers or splitting the rent with close friends, there are ways to make living with others less stressful.

Stick to these basic roomie guidelines and you’ll be well on your way to a peaceful coexistence, without composing a roommate contract fit for Sheldon on Big Bang Theory.

Kitchen. Wash your dishes, making sure the sink doesn’t resemble something out of an episode of Hoarders to keep the peace. Nothing creates more resentment than one roommate who feels forced to constantly clean everyone else’s dirty dishes. Not all New York apartments are blessed with a dishwasher. Regarding food and the fridge, always ask before diving into their supply and share your goods too. People are usually happy to share their food, but if you eat their treats without asking, things could turn pretty ugly. Whether your kitchen opens into the living room or is a tiny nook, keep the space as clean as possible after cooking, baking or cocktailing.

Television. While one roommate can’t get enough of Mob Wives, the other may be all about 30 Rock. Set some DVR ground rules, so everyone can catch their favorite programs when home from their busy city social lives. Don’t delete episodes from the DVR just because you need space to record Glee. If you’re not a socialite like your roomie, don’t lie on the couch claiming the TV every night of the week. Share the remote when you’re all home in the living room after a long day in the office. Relaxing together in the common space can make for roomie bonding.

Noise. If you and your roommates have similar schedules, this won’t be too much of a problem when hitting the sack. But, if you’re roomie needs to get to sleep by 10pm and you’re usually strolling in drunk at 4am on weeknights because of your flexible freelance schedule, walk with your heels off and mind the lights to avoid waking up your nine-to-five roommate. NYC apartments are small, so yes; someone probably heard your romp under the sheets last night. Keep your voice down during the night and early morning hours.

Décor. Feel free to decorate your own room as you see fit; your personal space is where you can get creative. When it comes to the shared areas, make sure to consult with your roommate first before making any drastic changes, such as repainting the living room walls bright orange or adding pink fluffy covers to the toilet seat.

Weekend Guests. If you have a friend or family member staying over, give your roomie a heads up. It’s important to talk with your roommate if you are planning to have someone stay with you for an extended period of time. A loud cousin who plans to crash for a month is just not cool. And frankly, there is not enough space in a New York City apartment for extra guests to sleep, shower and dine.

BFs and GFs. Just like having weekend guests, when your significant other stays over for multiple nights in a row, be considerate of your roommate’s routine. Spend time in your room instead of a common area and make sure your lover gets up extra early to shower as to not interrupt your roomie’s bathroom time. Remember that while you may love your man, your roommate may not be as fond of his humor or charm.

Roommate Hookups. No matter how sexy you find your new male roommate, hooking up with him is just not worth the drama. Just. Don’t. Do. It.

R-E-S-P-E-C-T.  The most important thing to remember when living with a roommate or two is to be respectful. Always treat them the way that you'd like to be treated.

What’s your advice for keeping the peace while rooming with others? xo

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