Roommate math: One bathroom + any number of roommates = multiplied chance of aggravation and frustration. Cut the chances of a bathroom drama by following a few simple tips.
1. Communication is Key
If one of your roommates isn’t aware of your schedule, can you really blame them for taking their time to make their hair perfect just when you need to get ready for work? Talk things through with one another so everyone is aware of potential scheduling conflicts.
2. Schedule Showers
Most likely no one wants to endure a Sheldon Cooper level of bathroom scheduling, but a simple shower schedule can help keep everyone happy. A schedule is especially effective if you have more than one roommate, or if one roommate tends to spend far too much time in the bathroom—and always at the most inconvenient times.
Customize shower times to the individual; for instance, if you like to shower before work or class in the morning, but your roommate doesn’t, your roommate can shower in the evening or after a workout later in the day. Staggering saves roommate relationships.
If everyone needs to shower during the same general time of day, set an agreed-upon time limit for each shower. Anyone who purposely ignores the time limit loses their time slot and instead gets to shower last.
3. Surprises Happen
Remember that commercial, “Gotta go, gotta go, gotta go right now?” This situation can—and will—happen when sharing a bathroom with others. If someone needs to use the facilities while you’re shaving, let them in, or better yet, let them have the bathroom for now. You’d expect the same.
4. Pick up After Yourself
Basic courtesy helps keep roommates friends with one another. It’s the simple things that matter. Everyone should do the following:
- Clean the drain cover after a shower.
- Pick up clothing, towels, and personal belongings.
- Clean up any hair left on the floor or sink.
- Replace the toilet paper roll when it’s empty.
- Clean up spills.
Ultimately, each person should leave the bathroom at least as tidy as it was before they used it.
5. The Sharing Situation
Ideally, everyone has their own toothpaste and personal-care products, but in a pinch, consider sharing shampoo or body wash. Lay down a few ground rules, though. For instance, if you need to use your roommate’s shampoo, ask first. But don’t use every last drop, and don’t keep using it for days or weeks on end. Buy your own as soon as possible.
Some items, such as lip gloss and eyeliner, should never be shared as this could cause health issues such as cold sores or pink eye. If one roommate seems to have no clue about personal belongings boundaries, sit down and talk it out. Keep your stash of you-only stuff in a container with a lid on it, and write your name on the lid.
6. Tiny Space, Too Much Stuff
Bathroom surfaces such as the sink, countertop, or any furniture in the room are magnets for clutter, and it’s even worse with roommates. Things like hair brushes, personal care products, a hair dryers, and flat irons can accumulate and make the bathroom a mess. Since everyone wants space for their stuff, employ a clutter-management system.
Purchase wire bins to store bath products, razors, the hair dryer—you name it. Each person can have their own bins that can be kept in drawers in a cabinet or closet. An over-the-door organization system with built-in baskets offers another way to deal with clutter when storage space is minimal.
7. Everyone Cleans
Everyone should take turns cleaning the bathroom. You could rotate bathroom cleaning so a different person cleans it every week. Trading schedules, as necessary, is perfectly reasonable, too. Or, if you and a roommate are available at the same time, such as a Saturday afternoon, you might want to clean the bathroom as a team. It will go faster and seem a lot less like a chore with a friend’s help.
Discuss cleaning supplies with one another, too. It may be that one roommate has chemical sensitivities or asthma, or perhaps simply prefers using natural cleaners instead of harsh chemicals. Use cleaning supplies that everyone agrees upon to keep the relationship—and yourselves—healthy.
Wellness Mama offers a list of natural bathroom cleaners you can make to tackle just about any bathroom cleaning task. These homemade cleaners are both effective and inexpensive, so they’re perfect for tight budgets, too.
9. A Breath of Fresh Air
This should go without saying, yet it still must be said. Whomever creates a potential odor in the bathroom should also ventilate or spray air freshener so the roommates don’t have to share in the scent-based experience.
If you’re averse to chemicals, use a product such as Poo-Pourri, which, when put onto the toilet water, takes care of odors before they begin. Such products rely on all-natural essential oils to block odors, leaving the room smelling fresh instead of funky. Everyone wins.
A few minutes discussing and agreeing upon basic bathroom guidelines will make roommate living much more pleasant for everyone!