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If you are like many people, the idea of sharing your space can give you the creeps. While there is nothing wrong with socializing with friends and having people over for the occasional party, there is something incredibly unsettling about living with someone on a permanent basis and sharing your personal space with them. If you have just moved into a new place, you need to not only get used to having a roommate, but you will also need to get used to sharing your space.

Sharing Space, Sharing Chores

Whether you are renting a house, an apartment or a dorm room, there are certain areas that are considered communal. Living rooms, dining rooms, kitchens, bathrooms and lounge rooms are usually classified as shared space as are balconies, backyards and laundry rooms. Shared space tends to get messier a lot faster and will most likely need to be cleaned often.

One way to ensure that your shared space remains clean and tidy is to set up a cleaning schedule. Perhaps make Sundays your ‘cleaning day’ and alternative chores. On the first and third Sunday of the month, perhaps you clean the bathroom, living room and laundry while your partner cleans the kitchen, dining room and lounge room. Then, switch for the second and fourth Sunday of every month. This will help ensure that your area remains sanitary and can limit any confrontations in the future. After cleaning, share a stress reliever like exploring walking trails or lifting weights together.

Respect your Roommate

Respect and communication are the two most important things to remember when sharing your space. It is important to communicate your wishes and desires to your roommate so that he understands your point of view. While you may not have to go so far as to set up a schedule when it comes to using the kitchen, going to the bathroom and watching television, it is a good idea to work with one another’s routine. If your roommate loves Monday Night Football, then let him have the television on Monday night. If your roommate works late and sleeps in, then limit any loud boisterous activities until the middle of the day to respect his sleep habit.

There are some things that you simply don’t want your roommate, or anyone else for that matter, touching. This may include items like your personal computer, your photo albums or books, your camera, your phone, your bedroom linen, your underwear (or laundry) and your toiletries. There is nothing wrong with this. However, you need to make this rule clear and keep these valuable and personal items away from the shared area. If you are sharing an apartment, for example, make it a rule that anything in your room is off limits. If you are sharing a dorm room, place all valuable items in a specific drawer or closet which is yours.

If there is a problem with your shared space, it is best to talk about the issue before you become angry or upset. If, for example, your roommate constantly eats your food and doesn’t replace it, then address the situation and suggest you split up the fridge so that you have a separate shelf. If your roommate is constantly inviting friends over and keeping you up at night, then ask him to limit his gatherings to one day a week and to provide you with notice so you can make arrangements.

Almost all problems with sharing a living space can easily be solved with communication and respect. Not everyone lives the same way as you and it is important to remember this when you agree to live with someone else. The key to successful space sharing is to remain open minded and flexible.

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