How to Make Your Roommate to Clean the Room?

When you start college and move-in with your best friend, or someone who you think is a perfect match, in the beginning everything is perfect. You both get to know each other, spend evenings talking about living in the new place and the new school, you explore the city together. But brace yourselves – coz the big BANG is coming! By which, of course, we mean the issue of cleaning the room.

Obviously, most of the places don’t have a cleaning lady or service, so you have to do it by yourself. But if you spend your Saturday mopping the floors and dusting the shelves, and your friend is out there somewhere, enjoying student life – you start to understand, that sth must change. Soon!

So here are a couple of simple-yet-effective ideas on how to solve the situation. Thank us later!

1. Set up the rules from the beginning

In a perfect world, we would all read each others’ minds and there would be no need to discuss boring stuff like cleaning. But well, the sad reality is that if you want to have a clean place, you’ve gotta have clean rules. So don’t be shy, and sit down with your roommate even before your check-in day. Serve some chamomille tea to shoothen the tension and discuss all the rules, like when each person should clean, for how long are the dirty dishes allowed in the sink, how would you keep the kitchen in shape etc. Make a list! And don’t just talk – note it all down! If you want, print a schedule for cleaning and hang it in the living room/kitchen.

There’s nothing rude about it 🙂 It just shows how much you care about your home.

2. Lead the way

Talk is cheap! If you note down the cleaning schedule – that’s awesome. But the moment it’s done, you should start to actually do whatever is written down – and show your flatmate that it’s not as difficult as it seems. Don’t complain, just do it – and soon your energy and positive attitude is going to affect your roommate for sure!

3. Act if really needed

Don’t be an ostrich – don’t hide your head in the sand! If you see a problem, like, your friend keeps on forgetting to clean the floors, or leaves the dirty clothes on the floor, don’t leave this hanging. Invite him/her for a makan session, and have a not-to-serious-yet-important chat about how to make sure the house is in a good condition. Don’t be a teacher – just make sure you both are on the same page.

4. Kill’em messy habits!

If your friend is not really listening and starting to get on your nerves with their messy habits, don’t give up! And most importantly, don’t encourage them. The easy way: if your roommate never washes the coffee mugs, you could just wave the white flag and stop cleaning them. But don’t! You still want to be friends, right? Complaining, grumbling about it and being “the better person” will just inflate the problem and cause a conflict. Don’t go this way if you want to still be friends! Instead, get your own cups and keep them closed in your wardrobe or shelf, so you’re not dependable on your roommate. Eventually, he/she will have to clean them, it’s just the matter of time!

5. Be understanding (it’s not easy, we know!)

We all come from different families and backgrounds. What’s obvious to you, might not be so straightforward to your flatmate. If you’re used to sweeping the floors and mopping them daily, it doesn’t mean that everyone else has the same standards. At the really stressful moments, when you can’t tahan the situation, think in your mind “Is this argument worth loosing a friend over it?” It’s just a couple of crumbles on the floor. Is it worth to risk your special bond over that?

Make sure you prepare a “must-be-done” list that you share with your flatmate, and stick to it. Make sure it’s SHORT. The rest of the chores should be ok to skip or optional. Or you can always perform them yourself. But for now: chill, lah!

Zuzanna Ch
World traveller, but with the heart stuck in Malaysia.

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