Monday, March 4, 2013 Sunday, February 10, 2013

Essential Rules for Getting Along with Roommates


At some point in our lives, we will probably be living with roommates. Whether it’s during college, the first time we move to a new city, with people we’ve never met before or with family members, roommates have a way of being a staple in many of our lives. However, sharing your living space with someone is a bit of a risky business if you aren’t aware of a few ground rules. So before you begin critiquing any of your roommates’ characteristics, let’s make sure you’re following each of the rules listed below first.

1.) Respect Personal Space. For many of us, our bedroom is our safe haven. Completely isolated from the rest of the world, it’s the one place where we get to do literally anything we want. And just like your car feels a bit strange after someone else has been driving it, your roo can get the same feeling after someone else has been in it. So it doesn’t matter if the door doesn’t lock, don’t go into someone else’s room. And just because they give you permission to go in there once doesn’t mean they’ve given you permission to go in thereevery time from then on. If you so much need to get a pencil from their room, ask.

2.) Do your share. The housework absolutely cannot fall to one or two people, it needs to be split up between all the roommates. So what if you work long hours and are hardly home, that’s not an excuse. Even you can spend 20 minutes a week power cleaning. Do the dishes once in a while, even if you aren’t the one making them dirty. Pick up, wipe down and vacuum/Swiffer the main living space. It won’t take long, but it’ll make a huge difference in your roomie dynamic.

3.) Be open. Before anyone enters into any living arrangement, all parties involved need to know exactly what they’re getting into. Are pets allowed? What about smoking? How long is the lease? Is everyone happy with what they are going to pay and what they get in return? What about boyfriends/girlfriends/children, etc.; have you discussed who is allowed to come over? How many nights someone can stay in a row without technically contributing to the living situation?


4.) Communicate. If there’s a problem, speak up! Holding things in has very rarely ever worked for anybody, so why start now? Just be courteous and try to see things from their point of view. Chances are, they don’t even know there’s a problem. And once you do mention something to them, give them a little bit of time to work on it. Habits are really tough to break, so they’re probably not going to get it right all the time. Be honest, be patient, and things will gradually change for the better.

5.) Relax. Living with roommates can be a stressful experience, but it really doesn’t need to be. Some of my worst living experiences have been with horrible roommates, but some of my best living experiences have also been with roommates. So go with the flow and by all means, don’t let one bad roomie experience sour you to the idea altogether.

Do you have any roomie advice?

Monday, January 21, 2013

Craving a Useful Basement?

You’ve probably seen a situation like this many times; you walk into a potential place to rent and are excited by its large, unfinished basement. “Yesss…..this will be the party room.” But before you know it, all you’ve thought of to do with the space is use it as storage. Pretty soon, you hardly even go down to the basement and people start to tell stories of how “haunted” it is. Not exactly what you had in mind.

So before you condemn the bottom floor of your pad as a glorified, creepy storage space, here are a few ways to do something awesome with it.

1.) Add light. Basements are dark and dungy and all you really need to change that is a bit of light! Natural light is preferred, so opening up any small windows is your best bet, but if this isn’t an option artificial light still helps. And no, we’re not talking about that lonely, naked, flickering bulb that only turns on when you pull a hanging string. bring down a few table and floor lamps to warm things up a bit.

2.) Give it a purpose. If you have nothing but a concrete room of course no one is going to want to go down there! So use it to your advantage; if you are the musical type, add a bit of insulation to the walls. Just pad them with cheap those foam mattresses you can find in Walmart or Target. Since they’re already pretty soundproof (being underground and all), it’ll make your music playing or listening experience even more private. And don’t forget about loud games; ping pong tables have a magically way of always fitting perfectly into a basement. You know…for all those games of “ping pong” everyone plays in college…

3.) Organize. Instead of just throwing everything in the room, arrange it in an actually useful way. If you’re going to use part of your basement for storage (and let’s be honest, who doesn’t use their basement for storing something), then at least limit the storage space to one area of the room. If you have a couple rooms downstairs, use one for storage and the rest to create an awesome basement.

4.) Decorate. Your basement shouldn’t be treated as an afterthought, it should be treated as any other room in the house. That means actually putting in some time and effort to determine what kind of feel you want your basement to have. So bring down a few colorful pillows to through on the couch and some art to hang on the walls. Sure it might look dark and gloomy now, but by bringing in some light, interesting activities and a color scheme, you should be able to spruce it right up in no time.

What do you do with a dark and dingy basement?