Living with Roommates: How to Share a Bathroom

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Out of all the inconveniences you may encounter living with a roommate, having to share a bathroom tops the list. Having a roommate is great in terms of lowering your living expenses, overall safety and constant companionship, but sharing personal space, specifically a bathroom, can be problematic. You and your roommate can make it work if you try to coordinate your schedules and respect one another’s needs. Here’s how to make sharing a bathroom with your roommate work.

Schedule Shower Times

The most complicated part about sharing a bathroom with a roommate is coordinating use of the shower. If you both have opposite schedules (where one of you goes into work later than the other), you really don’t have much to worry about. The shower schedule will naturally work itself out. However, if you both have to be at work at the same time every morning you’ll need to decide when each person has use of the bathroom. The easiest way to decide is to simply have a discussion about it to see who gets out of bed earlier and who typically takes shorter showers. You don’t have to set a rigid schedule for the shower, but know generally at what time every morning each of you can expect to have use of the bathroom. Be fair and stick to the plan.

Keep It Tidy

You learn sooner than later when living with a roommate who the tidier person is. While it’s preferable to live with somebody who has the same expectations in terms of cleanliness, you can’t always be so lucky. The bathroom is one of those rooms where lack of tidiness and cleanliness really starts to show. You both need to be aware that the bathroom is a shared space and that you need to do your part to keep the place clean. Be sure to put your products, like hair gels and lotions, back in the linen closet or medicine cabinet after using them instead of leaving them sitting out by the sink. In the shower, don’t take up all of the space with your shampoos and soaps. Try to divide the space evenly so that no one person is taking more than his or her fair share. Plan to take turns scrubbing the bathroom or assign specific cleaning duties to each person.

When All Else Fails, Ask

Like everything else in life, communication is key. If you’re going to spend extra time in the bathroom one morning and, as a result, could infringe on your roommate’s schedule, talk to him or her about it. Keep the lines of communication open so that no one feels slighted. Sharing a bathroom with a roommate is as simple as showing one another respect.

Adjusting to living with someone new will have its growing pains. If you’re willing to compromise, though, and treat one another with respect, sharing a bathroom will not be an issue.

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Rachael Weiner: I’m a communications professional for a non-profit, which financially necessitates my status as an apartment dweller. Constantly “on-the-go,” I’ve resided in five different apartments across the United States over the past five years. Roommate issues, budgeting, organizing and handling problem neighbors are my specialty.

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