In this economy, it’s not too uncommon for families to combine into one home in order to save on expenses. After all, when everyone is contributing to the same rent, it’s definitely easier to save some money. However, along with lower costs comes the added burden of living with others. After all, if you’re used to your own space things can get a little ugly…fast. So here are 5 tips you can use to live with others…no matter who or where.
1. Avoid saying “This is my house.” You may be the owner or the name on the lease, but you have invited people into the structure so they would have a home. Nothing ever ends well when you say “In MY house,” even though you very well may mean it. Instead, try the phrase “In our home.” The simple change will improve a lot of attitudes. Everyone wants to take care of their home, and if you keep staking your territory no one else will have a reason to take on the ownership attitude of upkeep and improvement.
2. Have a chore chart. When people take turns doing the dishes or cleaning the floors, they are more apt to be careful with those things. If everyone is going to live in the same place, everyone needs to pitch in. Our chore chart includes the reminder that everyone does their own laundry and if you pee there you clean there.
3. Leave once in a while. Nothing kills the mood like everyone hanging out, fighting for space and being obnoxious. Take a break. This not only gives you space away from all the chaos that might be going on, but gives you new information to bring up at the dinner table. If everyone is always in the same place, there’s nothing interesting to talk about! And of course, the fact that you are no longer sick of them and they are no longer sick of you doesn’t hurt. An added bonus…they may have tackled their chores while you were gone.
4. Don’t be an ass. That means do your part, clean up after yourself, and be nice; share the remote, pay your share of the bills-on time, that sort of thing. Be the one who sets the good example. Make your mama proud. Be the one who cheers for the others. Every communal living arrangement needs a good guy and an ass. Choose wisely.
5. Develop an identity. People in our neighborhood know us as the crazy people who wear Christmas shorts (don’t ask) when we shovel their drives the morning after a big snowfall (being nice to neighbors is a good idea too). One communal family is known for their music jams. One family we know has a ‘for the love’ doll. It gets passed around as a nod to the things in life that makes you say “Oh, for the love.” and having it in your possession is a perk. Your home’s identity will probably come upon you by accident and you get to decide if it is “Animal House” or “The Waltons” but embrace it and make it who you are. Identity makes the chaos of living together easier to bear.