5 Tips for Coordinating Housing Essentials with Your Roommates

By Christine Ascher on June 29, 2018

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Moving into new housing requires a lot of planning and coordination. In addition to your own packing and organizing, you’ll also have to purchase the necessary items for an apartment or a house along with your roommates. When you’re moving in with several people, it can sometimes be difficult to stay organized in terms of making sure that you have everything that you need. To stay on top of things and to make sure that you and your roommates get all of the essential items for your new living space, try out some of the following tips.

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1. Start Before You Move In

Considering you’ll probably have a lot to do already when moving into new housing, between packing and coordinating the move itself, it’ll be better for both you and your roommates if you can start planning for and purchasing some of your housing essentials before your move-in date. Reach out to your roommates a couple weeks before you move in to get the ball rolling. It’s a good idea to start off by asking if any of your roommates already have certain items that you’ll need, to avoid purchasing anything unnecessarily. Make a list of what you already have between you and your roommates, and share it with everyone so they know what still needs to be purchased.

2. Make a List

Once you’ve determined what housing essentials you already have, the best place to start figuring out what you still need is by making a list with your roommates. Try to think of everything that you’ll need, such as silverware, cleaning supplies, and larger items like a TV or vacuum. It’s a good idea to divide your list up into sections to help you think of everything. For instance, try to come up with all of the kitchen utensils that you want to purchase first, before you move on to cleaning supplies. If this is going to be your first time living in an apartment or house, rather than a dorm, ask your parents or some older students if they can think of any essentials that tend to be forgotten when moving into a new place; a silverware organizer or paper towel holder are some common examples. Once you have a list of everything you’ll need, you’ll be able to check off the items as you go, ensuring that you don’t forget anything.

3. Determine the Items that You Can Switch Off Buying

After you’ve created a list of all of the essentials that you and your roommates want to purchase, go through and take note of the items that you’ll need to re-buy throughout the year, such as paper towels and dish soap. Rather than splitting the cost of these items every time you buy them, it’s easier if you and your roommates take turns purchasing them. If you can, divide these items up evenly between you and your roommates, then rotate who buys what throughout the year. It can become hard to remember whose turn it is to buy certain items, so to keep things simple, find a place to write down who purchased what and who is responsible for replacing them next.

4. Divide Up Items Based on Cost

For items that only need to be purchased once, pay attention to the price. To avoid a potential source of conflict with your roommates, try to keep the amount that each person spends buying essentials relatively even. Make sure everyone keeps their receipts when you shop for your apartment or house, so you can go back later and check if you’ve spent an equal amount. It also helps if you go shopping together, so that you can check prices you shop and make sure they more or less even up before you leave the store.

5. Buy the Items that You’ll Want to Keep

For some items, depending on your preferences and those of your roommates, you may want to purchase them on your own so that you don’t have to worry about dividing them up when you move out. For instance, if you know that you’ll want to keep the coffee maker that you bought for your apartment after you move out, you may be better off paying for it yourself right from the beginning, so there are no questions as to who it belongs to at the end of the year. This strategy works best if you and each of your roommates know that you’ll want to keep certain items at the end of the school year, so everyone can buy something and share; otherwise, you might end up with only one person buying a bunch of expensive items, and not being comfortable with everyone else using them.

Living in a house or an apartment will definitely require more supplies, utensils, and other housing essentials than you would expect for a dorm, which will, in turn, require a lot of coordination between you and your roommates to make sure that you get everything you need. As long as you stay organized and everyone pitches in, you’ll be off to a great start to the school year!

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By Christine Ascher

Uloop Writer
Hi! I'm Christine and I'm currently a senior at the University of Southern California, where I study English Literature, Economics, and French.

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