Sharing Spaces: Tips for Living with a Roommate

Living with others is tough work. Whether it’s a college dorm room, an apartment, or a group house, a shared living space requires healthy doses of communication, compromise, and organizational skills to maintain positive roomie relations and a tidy living environment. Here at Closet America, we know a thing or two about keeping homes tidy -- check out our tips for organizing a shared space with roommates.

Start at the beginning

If you’re living with multiple people, the entryway of your home can become cluttered in minutes. Shoes, jackets, keys, mail – if it doesn’t have a specific home, it’s likely to end up on the floor. Implementing an organizational system that includes baskets, hooks, and shelves can keep the space tidy.

Reclaim floor space with a modern shoe rack to house footwear you use most often. Assign each roommate a specific cubby to further ensure their shoes are placed where they belong. Shoes used less often should be kept in individual bedrooms.

For those small, easy to lose items, hooks and baskets will do the trick. Hanging keys on hooks will not only remove the potential pileup of keychains on the living room table, but will make for an easy exit during the crowded early morning rush. Store mail and important reminders in a bin hung conveniently below your keys.  

Claim your turf

Sharing a closet can be a necessary evil in college dorms and small apartments.  But equally splitting the number of drawers, shelves, and hanging spaces can help you and your roommate stay organized and maintain harmony. Still need more space? Consider investing in furniture that doubles as storage space.

Though you might be someone who likes to borrow and share your clothing, it’s important to know whether your closet-mate feels the same. If you’re both OK with sharing certain pieces, create a space for those items only – possibly in the middle of the closet – to help divide what’s fair game and what’s not.

Toiletries and Dishes

Bathrooms are tough to keep clean as it is; sharing one with multiple people can be a downright challenge. Start by utilizing wall hooks for everyday items like towels and hair dryers. Next, consider installing an extra shower rod and hang each house member’s caddie on it. And finally, unless your makeup or grooming products are stylish, store them behind closed doors or in drawers. 

Dishwashing habits and minimal storage can cause major headaches, especially in smaller spaces. Maximize your countertops – and chopping boards – by utilizing wall space. Hang shelves along the walls to store containers and other frequently used items like spices, and store appliances you don’t use daily. To eliminate dead space, think about additional shelving units or Lazy Susans.

Take notes from your closet, too. Divide the refrigerator by splitting up the number of shelves and drawers equally. You can even label each shelf with its “owner’s” name to avoid any confusion or unwanted food sharing.

Talk it out

If you find yourself getting frustrated about the organization in your home, have a conversation with your roommate(s). Addressing your concerns in an honest way can shine a light on topics or habits your roommates never considered bothersome.

It’s important to keep the conversation positive and focused on working as a team. If you haven’t done so already, take this time to implement an organizational chore chart. Although you might have to fight your way through some eye rolls, persevere and assign cleaning tasks to house members equally to ensure the cleaning gets done in a consistent and fair way.

Living with roommates is definitely fun, but it can also be hard. Different habits, preferences, and ways of living can often clash and create tension. Openly discussing how to organize your shared spaces is the best way to find out what works and what doesn’t for the both – or all five – of you.  

To learn more about Closet America’s amazing closet organization systems and see some of our beautiful designs, check out our closet ideas and design guide here. To meet one of our professional closet designers, call 800-747-3217 to schedule your FREE design consultation.