6 Steps to a Foolproof Apartment Routine

By Elizabeth Hilfrank on November 12, 2017

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Living with a group for the first time? Nervous about it? Check out this guide for how to create the perfect apartment routine.

STEP 1: Create a cleaning schedule

This is by far the most important part to your routine because you will find that when living with a larger group and with no Mom, things get dirty fast. At the beginning of the semester, set up a calendar with everyone’s names on it, and the chores that need to get done each week. Rotate who does what chore weekly such as sweeping, wiping down counters, cleaning the shower/toilet. The rotation will help to keep it equal so that no one person always gets the easy job and no one always gets the hard job.

Emphasize the idea of working together in order to keep the apartment as a comfortable place to live in. If it helps, you can even get one of the old chore calendars parents use for little kids or, if you are crafty, you can make your own. Doing so will make everyone accountable from the start. You should also emphasize rules that may not fit onto the calendar, such as “if you cook with it, you clean it,” or “you finish it, you fill it” (referring here to refilling toilet paper rolls … surprisingly not everyone thinks to fill after they take the last piece.)

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STEP 2: Set hosting policies

Having people over is all fun and games until someone has a big exam or sports competition the next day, or someone else wants to have a different group of people over. Find a way to keep it even on who hosts when and to always have people check with ALL of the roommates before they have a gathering or have someone from out of town visit.

This is relevant whether or not you have a single because most likely your guest will need to use the bathroom or the kitchen at some point, and it is most considerate to make sure that everyone is OK with having another roommate around for the weekend.

STEP 3: Maintain a group schedule

Another calendar idea, but when living with others, you will come to love calendars. Keep a schedule out in the open about what is going on in everyone’s lives and when. This will also help with the hosting policy as mentioned above.

Include presentations and events where you can go support your roommates to just every day class schedule so that you know when the bathroom will be most busy. It may seem over-the-top, but trust me, you won’t realize how beneficial it is to know what’s going on with everyone else until you are not aware.

Also, sometimes you will be so busy that you won’t see your roommates for a time, and they won’t get the chance to tell you something, which can lead to confusion. Best to have it all in writing.

STEP 4: Designate shelf space

Both in the kitchen and in the bathroom, it will be easiest to set designated shelves from the start. In the bathroom it will simply make it easier to find things and help to prevent the shared counter from being a pile of everyone’s make-up etc.

In the kitchen this tactic helps to keep your snacks your own. Also, by having your own shelf, you can double-dip in your peanut butter or Nutella without worry. If anyone has allergies, designated shelf space is even that more important. You should also find a way to organize the refrigerator both for the reasons as stated above and to avoid things going bad quickly.

Photo courtesy of pixabay.com

STEP 5: Money chart

Keep close control of who pays for what. This can be electronically or by way of a dry-erase board, chalkboard, however you like. If there are some things you pay for weekly or monthly, create a rotation for it. Make sure to write down any time someone buys something for the whole group and the cost, so that you can all pay equally.

STEP 6: Have a key holder

Simple, but a lifesaver. Make a place to hold everyone’s keys right near the door. This will help to minimize forgetting them or losing them. My first year in an apartment, I made a wooden plaque to hang with everyone’s names above a hook. We used it all year long, but even a simple dish would do.

If you follow these easy steps to an apartment routine, you will be off to a solid start living in shared space. The key to all of this is communication. Make sure all roommates communicate about what they are looking for in an apartment, and do your best to compromise in this respect. Make sure everyone understands that the apartment is a shared space, so the living room is not an extension of one’s personal room. Designated space as stated above will help with this as well.

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