Top Tips for Happy Student House Shares
What can you do to give yourselves the best chance of being a happy student house?
Living in a shared house can be an exciting adventure. You get to make the rules, have more freedom and experience a taste of what it’s like to make a house a home.
It’s also a very cost-effective way to enjoy your university years as you can share costs and find creative ways to make your budget stretch.
You also get to share a house with friends which means living in a harmonious bubble of happy human habitation. Or does it?
Sharing a house can make you feel part of something great, but there can be tensions, especially for students under pressure from exams, tight budgets and busy schedules.
What can you do to give your household the best chance of that harmonious habitation bubble? We’ve put together our favourite tips for happy student house shares.
Never assume that everyone got the message. Keep everyone in the loop about what’s going on in the house via a WhatsApp group chat. BUT make sure the conversation never strays into moaning about your housemates!
2) Be self-aware
It might come as a surprise, but walking around in your pants might not be everyone else’s cup of tea. We all live by our own internal rules but be aware of how these impact on others. Background music to one person might feel like blaring music to someone else.
3) Make it easy to pay the bills
Have an upfront conversation about how household bills are going to be split and managed.
Designate someone to be responsible for collecting the money and paying the bills, which could be one keen and organised person, or it could be split.
Huddle is a great service which combines all the household bills into one manageable payment, split evenly between all the household members. Alternatively, keep track of who owes what via a Google spreadsheet or app such as Splitwise which can send out a diplomatic message saying who owes what.
4) Agree what’s communal
While it’s usually best for everyone to buy their own food and toiletries, there are a bunch of household purchases that can be shared. Bin bags, cleaning supplies, and loo roll should definitely be communal. If you have a small fridge and limited cupboard space, it might also be worth having household tea, coffee, milk etc. Ideally, work on the basis of a kitty (and someone responsible in charge) and shop on a rota basis.
5) Make cleaning fair
We all have different standards so if yours are high, accept that not everyone will feel the same way. If you know your standards are low, accept that you will need to step up. Make sure no one does the lions share, even if someone wants to.
It might sound boring, but a cleaning rota really does work and takes away unnecessary stress and hassle. Are apps your thing? Then look into Spotless or Tody. A household that takes the approach of cleaning up your own mess, then weekly or monthly cleaning sessions could be enough. Or, a ‘little and often’ approach might be needed. An alternative tactic is for everyone to have a designated area that they keep clean, but it can be hard to make this fair.
If it really becomes a problem, consider hiring a cleaner. Costs vary between £8-£12 an hour, which might be well spent when splitting between all housemates.
6) Just wash up
Washing up is one of the biggest issues amongst house sharers. As with cleaning, people have different approaches with some needing to wash up instantly and others happy to let things fester until the next day or beyond.
If you make a house agreement to wash up your own things not long after using them not only does it avoid arguments but can avoid flies and other unwelcome guests.
So remember…. Just wash up!
7) Don’t point the finger
When problems arise (and they will!), keep the conversation solution-focused. Argumentative finger-pointing is never going to lead to harmony. And NEVER leave angry or sarcastic notes, they amplify problems and can lead to even more misunderstanding.
And pick your battles – many things really aren’t worth the potential fallout.
8) Respect other people’s schedules
Don’t have a party when you know someone in the house needs to get up early. Respect that some people need a lie-in to function or that people might be working weekends.
Put something up in a communal area that shows peoples routines or use Google Calendars.
9) Spend Quality Time Together
Like any successful relationship, it’s essential to have some fun. Put aside regular time to hang out, go out for a meal, or watch a film. Cook together sometimes or have a Come Dine with Me style evening.
10) Treat Other People as you want to be treated
Remember that it’s nice to be nice. This might sound incredibly obvious, but if you only one do one thing, do this one. Being treated by fellow housemates with respect is all most people really ask for.
For more tips to keep a happy house, visit our help and advice pages
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