Tips for roommates to organize shared living spaces

roommates

If you are in your 20s or 30s and living in a big city, chances are that you’re living with roommates, or have in the past. There’s often not a lot of space, and bucketloads of conflict over clutter. But before you strangle your hoarder roommate, have a look at these tips on making the best of your shared spaces. It may save someone’s life, and definitely everyone’s sanity.

Kitchen

Fridge and Freezer

A large and very symmetrical fridge makes it much easier to accommodate everyone fairly. Try and divide up the space as evenly as possible, and failing that, get everyone to label their food. Also, to avoid junk piling up and robbing you of valuable space, schedule a regular clean-out session, where anything that’s expired or forgotten gets chucked out.

Surfaces

Try to keep surfaces as clear as possible. Instead of using a knife block, a magnetic knife holder on the wall will free up some space. Also, instead of spice bottles lining the wall, get a wall-mounted spice rack. Then, if cupboard space is limited, you can store non-perishable foodstuffs, like sugar, flower, and so on, in stackable plastic containers in a corner, or on the fridge or microwave.

Cupboards

Stackable containers will also make it easier to maximize the space in your cupboards. To avoid fist fights over hogging the space, it’s best to give everyone their own door. Failing that, it’s probably time to break out the sticky tape or a marker. But if it is at all possible, adding some wall-mounted shelves will give you that extra space that is sure to pacify any brewing tension.

Bathroom

Shower

Every roommate should have their own shower caddy. That way everyone can keep their things neatly organized, and off the shower floor. This also makes cleaning a lot easier.

Basin

The top fix here is to replace the mirror with a bathroom cabinet (obviously get one with a mirror in the door). Make sure it’s big enough to fit everyone’s stuff, or get one with multiple doors. You can also mount separate toothbrush holders on the walls, so that the germophobes can keep their toothbrushes separate.

Behind the door

The space behind the bathroom door is the ideal place to install towel hooks, if you don’t have space for towel rails. You can also perhaps hang a little hanging shelf for clean towels and so on here.

Other Common Spaces

Entryway

You should get a coat rack and a shoe rack near the door, since these items will otherwise inevitably be strewn all over the floor. A key holder and mail baskets will also help to keep things tidy.

Lounge

The lounge could have some multipurpose furniture, like divans with storage space inside. That way you can store things like blankets, extra cushions, and linen out of the way. An obvious one is also a sleeper couch for when guests stay over. This is neater and easier than extra mattresses standing around behind the furniture, or having to inflate a blow-up mattress late at  night.

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