If you share a bathroom with roommates, it can be a source of great conflict. From toilet stains and hair clippings on the sink to not replacing the toilet paper and waiting while a roommate takes a half-hour shower, it is not uncommon to struggle with people’s bathroom habits. Because the bathroom is an ultra-personal space.
Rather than engage in a series of subtle and not-so-subtle flights with your cohabitants, follow some simple rules. Because wouldn’t it be better to avoid conflict and get along with your roommates?
Start By Communicating
One of the first nights you move in, have a roommate’s only dinner. Make the food easy and good. One of the quickest ways to bond with others is sharing a warm meal. Then, talk about your expectations. As a group, pinpoint specific rules you expect everyone to follow. Make sure to write them down, so there is no squabbling over what they were later.
These rules could include everything from where you store your toiletries to what cleaning schedule you will follow. You might outline how long people can stay in the shower when another roommate is waiting and whether or not drying your hair is acceptable in the bathroom. You may discuss how clean the sink should be post-shave, what protocol is for visitors, and whether or not shower singing is permitted.
Outline a Schedule
Whether everyone needs to be ready in the morning at roughly the same time or you have one person who needs extra primping, a schedule can simplify things. Talk openly about your needs and expectations. Set specific times when each person will have access to the bathroom.
Depending on how the sound carries through your home, you might also want to discuss any hours people should try and avoid showering.
Make a Cleaning Schedule
One of the quickest ways to resent your roommates is to constantly clean up after them. Create a cleaning schedule and put everyone on it. It is easiest if the schedule rotates so no one person is left with the worst job.
Talk About How You Will Split Expenses
Toilet paper isn’t free. Neither is toothpaste, mouthwash, hand soap or shampoo. Talk about what you are sharing and what you are not. Then, come up with a plan for how you will cover your shared expenses. If one person is always buying the toilet paper and never getting reimbursed, it won’t take long for them to be bitter.
Pick Up Your Stuff
When you are done in the bathroom do a quick once over. Look for anything messy or items you may be leaving behind and clean them up. This means putting away your cosmetics and stashing your toothbrush. Did you leave splatter on the sink or mirror? Give it a quick wipe. Is there a used Q-tip on the counter? Toss it in the trash. Did you leave a ball of stray hair behind in the shower? Get rid of it.
Everyone poops. It is a fact. There is a whole book about it. But, that doesn’t mean everyone wants to smell your poop. In fact, no one wants to smell it. A courtesy flush is when you flush the toilet while you are pooping. The quicker you get rid of your smelly excrement, the more quickly the smell will dissipate.
Courtesy flushing is also a good way to muffle any unwanted noises. If you have a particularly smelling trip to the loo, you might consider using some air freshener or lighting a candle. It is also a good idea to run the bathroom fan while going.
Ask Before You ‘Go’
If you think you are going to have a particularly smelly trip to the bathroom, ask if anyone needs to use it first. It’s quite unpleasant to pee in a smelly loo. This is particularly important if you only have one bathroom.
Add Some Personality
Make your bathroom a space you all enjoy. Perhaps you want to add some fun décor such a funky bathmat. Hanging a fun saying can be another good touch. Pick out an incenses you all enjoy. Collaborating on the decorations gives you something over which to bond and grow closer.
Remember to be Flexible and Understanding
Life happens. Schedules change. Needs evolve. And, sometimes people just make mistakes. Show your roommates some grace and ask them for the same in return.
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