Communal living requires a certain amount of common sense. I consider myself a fairly considerate flatmate; I clean up after myself, and I tend to try to adjust to the habits of other people: sticking to the tidiness level they’re comfortable with, keeping the noise to a minimum while I’m awake at strange hours, sharing food if I can and generally trying to befriend the people I share living quarters with. I’ve had mostly good luck with the people I’ve been living with, but over the years, I’ve met my share of people of whom tales are told of. Therefore, I present to you the Rules For Flatmates.
1. Granted, life is good. But when life among your unwashed dishes reaches an IQ of a small dog, you have a problem.
1a. Therefore, even if you do not wash the dishes with enthusiasm, you shall rinse them and remove remains of your meal from them before placing them in the sink.
1b. The whole idea of washing the dishes is to remove traces of food from them. Also, it is recommended to also wash them from the outside, especially if they’ve been piled on top of each other and/or left in the sink indefinitely.
1c. This may come as a surprise, but the same goes for the sink.
1d. The dishwashing brush will likewise need to be rinsed to remove remains of food. This is often handily done by applying Rule 1c.
2. Yes; it is disgusting when your boyfriend has been to toilet and failed aim or shaken his knob so that there are spots of pee all over the seat and the inside of the cover. The spots will transfer to the seatee’s butt, and from there to panties and who knows where else. Clean up or train your boyfriend.
2a. When you gracefully clean the toilet, even if you can’t be bothered to do it properly, please please rinse the fucking brush before placing it in the holder and leaving it to soak in feces for days, until someone else figures out where the stench is coming from.
3. Some people are grossed out by hair in the shower drain cover. I’m not too bad about it, but
3a. since I’m the one with short hair, be assured that I will not be cleaning the drain when it’s finally chock full of hair.
3b. See that brown-orangeish colour around the drain? It’s either filth or some kind of growth from not drying the floor properly after the shower. ‘Nuff said.
4. Rotting food in the fridge is not a huge problem for me, as long as it’s contained and doesn’t stink. Rotting vegetables in the vegetable drawer are, you guessed it, fucking disgusting.
4a. As is weeks-old milk.
5. I can understand one occasionally forgets a used q-tip at the toilet sink, but how it can remain there for weeks, that bulky ear wax screaming at you… it’s a mystery.
6. Having friends over at 3AM on a weekday for drinks or weed is so not OK.
7. It should be obvious that when you break something that is not yours, instead of just leaving the pieces there, you are expected to acknowledge your deed somehow and – you may have heard of the concept – apologise.
8. When you’re six people sharing two bathrooms, and everyone leaving for work at the same time, using the bathroom for an hour or more is so inconsiderate you should be hanged for it.
9. Wanking in the common area is also bad manners, even if you try to hide your action by closing the door and hiding your deed under the pillow. Be advised I do not knock on doors in my own residence.
10. Using the stuff I leave in the common area is acceptable – it only makes sense to share kitchenware and cleaning equipment, etc. – but I do expect them to be returned in original condition.
10a. Borrowing stuff is also perfectly fine. If I have something you need, I’m only too happy to lend. I do expect to get them back, though.
11. Yes, I can hear the music from your room at 4 AM. Invest in headphones.
12. People prepare their food in the same place as you do; this calls for a certain level of hygiene. When you spill something or make a mess while cooking – perfectly understandable – it shouldn’t tax your time too much to tidy up after yourself.
13. Boyfriends and girlfriends visiting is fine by me, and I can live with hearing whatever you’re up to — within reasonable limit.
13a. I do not expect to give free lodging to them for weeks at a time, though.
13b. They could be toilet trained, too. See Rule 2.
14. You may not like everyone you have to live with, but generally common sense and mutual respect can go a long way… If there’s a problem, try to discuss it before retaliating.
15. On the subject of discussion, it’s a good idea to have one with your flatmates before deciding to get a furry friend or starting to grow your bean sprouts in the kitchen sink. I’m just saying…
Not all of the above scenes have happened to me personally, but most of them have. I advocate open discussion about what’s annoying and what kind of state you expect to keep the common areas in, even though lately I’m not walking the talk. (Hence the post!) My excuse is that I’m fed up having to house train a flatmate after flatmate on basic processes of hygiene and housekeeping. The latest specimen is making me feel like I’m nagging all the time, but she does keep surprising me with her lack of common sense regarding issues of hygiene… I’d never have considered myself a stickler for tidiness, but for fuck’s sake! Just try and guess which ones relate to the current indoor neighbour.