If you’re living away from home for university it’s highly likely that this will be the first time you’re going to be living with other people who aren’t your parents or siblings. Now your family might be accustomed to your way of living but the new people you’re living with won’t be and you’re going to be completely independent so it’s important to look after yourself as well.
The very basic motto of being an A+ flatmate is “don’t be a jerk” – but here are a few little tips on how to be the best flatmate possible!
First of all, don’t blast your music or watch videos loudly super late at night.
By all means, play your music loudly during the day but late in the evening when your flatmates could have early lectures or work the next day is pretty disrespectful. Have you ever tried getting to sleep whilst music is being played at top volume? Or been rudely awoken at 3am because somebody decided to play music? Even if you haven’t they don’t exactly sound like the most pleasant situations do they? In Staffordshire University halls there is a noise curfew between 11pm and 7am anyway so follow the curfew at least.
The second tip I have is a big one but CLEAN CLEAN CLEAN!
There is a lot to speak about with cleaning but that is literally one of the biggest factors of living with other people. No one wants to be the messy, dirty flatmate. Plus you don’t have your parents there to clean up after you either, although your flat mates might do it for you but they won’t be too happy about it. Especially in the kitchen as that is a communal space. One of the most important parts of cleaning is doing your dishes! Try to wash your dishes within the same day or at least within the next day. Do not be leaving your dishes for days or even weeks (like some of my flatmates did) as that is just generally quite disgusting and you don’t want to have mouldy plates. And don’t just expect your flatmates to wash your dishes either.
Similarly clean up your mess in the kitchen! If you’re cooking just clean up after yourself. Even just little things like when you open a new milk, put the little paper lid in the bin (something that my flatmates failed many times to do). Something like that does not take a lot of effort to do and no one wants to be hanging in a kitchen that’s filled with rubbish.
Again in university accommodation at least, you get inspected every week so it’s very important you keep on top of the cleaning and do your share! With the people you live with create together a cleaning schedule so you know whose responsibility it is to do which job each week. This is important as you don’t want a fine and you don’t want to live in an unclean place either.
The next tip is kind of related to the previous one but communication between you and whoever you live with is super important
If you have an issue with something your flatmate is doing whether that be cleaning or they’re just being a bit of a nuisance it’s important that you actually talk about it to sort the situation out. Most likely that this will be with the rest of the people you’re living with not just 1-on-1. I know it’s super nerve-wracking to confront someone but part of living by yourself is opening yourself up to being vulnerable and ultimately it could make both of you better people. Also at all costs avoid doing that via text or group chat as being passive aggressive isn’t necessarily the best thing to be.
One thing that you might have to communicate about with your flatmates is eating or drinking each other’s stuff!
To put it simply – don’t eat or throw away your flatmates food unless they explicitly say you can. Sometimes though if you just need a bit of milk to put in your tea and you’ve run out, most people will be generous and let you use a bit. As long as you buy your own ASAP and don’t end up constantly using other people’s milk. A little thing you can do as a flat if you’re struggling to identify whose milk is whose, you can just grab a sharpie and write your name on the bottle of milk.
Most of all though to be an A+ flatmate you just have to be kind and polite really. Another motto you can live by is that “kindness doesn’t cost a penny”, which is kind of the same sentiment as “don’t be a jerk” but either way it’s something to follow! Obviously everybody makes mistakes and nobody is perfect, but we can all strive to be polite and respectful to the people you live with.
So now I hope you can go forth and be the best flatmate that you can be!!!