With dirty dishes piled up on the sink, and unfinished chores, living with a messy roommate can be annoying. Think clothes strewn across the floor, or a general lack of cleanliness, dealing with a messy roommate can also put a strain on your living situation. But you’re not totally hopeless, there are ways to navigate this situation and maintain your sanity.

With this co-living guide, we’ll explore effective strategies for dealing with a messy roommate, promoting open communication, and creating a harmonious living environment. So, take a deep breath and let’s discover how to handle this challenge with grace and optimism!

How to Deal with a Messy Roommate: 8 Tips & Tricks

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Adjusting to a roommate can be difficult enough, but when you’re saddled with a lazy roommate, coming back home can seem like a nightmare. As if work stress wasn’t enough, now you have to find time to complete your roommate’s chores as well.

While you may wish to avoid confrontation, in some cases, it’s unavoidable. So, what would be the best way to ask your roommate to start cleaning up after themselves?

Related: Looking for a roommate? Here are some qualities to look for!

1. Communicate your distress

When living with a messy roommate, it’s easy to assume they’re just lazy. However, it’s best to give them a chance to explain themselves and have a conversation about it. When living with another person, communication is key. There may be several reasons why your roommate can’t clean up after themselves; perhaps, they just lost their job or dealing with a difficult work situation, or it’s just how they are.

The best way of dealing with a messy roommate is to communicate your distress. Instead of hurling accusations at them, try to frame the problem as something that you need to tackle together. Pointing out your roommate’s flaws may be tempting, but it will only make them defensive and unwilling to listen to your suggestions.

2. Pick your battles

Having honest conversations is important, but it’s just as crucial to know when to pick your battles. Arguing over every dirty dish, or crumb on the floor isn’t going to be productive. Cribbing over minor issues will probably lead to your roommate not wanting to listen to you, even when things are their fault.

If your roommate’s laziness is affecting common living spaces, that’s when you should try to convey your unhappiness.

3. Think of your apartment in zones

When dealing with a messy roommate, you need to accept that your home won’t be as neat and perfect as you want it to be. If you want everything to be your way, you’re likely to be disappointed. The best way to approach living with a lazy roommate is to think of your apartment in three zones: your space, your roommate’s space, and common spaces.

You have complete control over your space, such as your bedroom, and can keep it as tidy as you like. Similarly, your roommate has the right to keep their roommate the way they like it, although it may not be up to your standards.

4. Create a chore list or chart

Although you may assume that your roommate understands their chores without needing to verbalize them, you may be wrong. Creating a chore list or chart helps keep track of what you both need to get done. It also helps that you have a visual reminder of the tasks that you need to do around the house to avoid forgetting or leaving it for the next day.

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Sit down with your roommate and try to split the chores according to what you like and what they like. For example, you can wash the dishes then your roommate will wipe them and put them back on the shelf. As much as possible, try to divide chores evenly; you don’t want to get stuck doing all the work yourself!

Related: Sharing a Kitchen: A Guide to Peacefully Share a Kitchen with Roommates

5. Try cleaning and organizing together

If all else fails, why not suggest cleaning and organizing together? Perhaps your roommate prefers group activities or could do with some tips on how to organize themselves better. Cleaning together can be a great way to spend time with your roommates and bond with them.

6. Lead by example

If you see that your roommate tends to leave a mess in the apartment, try leading by example. Clean up after yourself when eating or after using the kitchen or living room, show your roommate what should be done when it comes to cleaning. This way, your roommate can see how you clean and maybe take it as a sign that they should start cleaning too.

7. Get the help of professional cleaners

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Let’s say everyone in the apartment works a lot and don’t really have enough time to rigorously clean, there are some professional cleaners you can hire as long as you have the budget for it. This option is a bit more costly, but you can split the costs between roommates and in turn, you’ll have a clean apartment.

8. If it’s beyond fixing, it’s time to leave

You’ve confronted your roommate, created a chore chart, tried cleaning together, and hired professional cleaners, and your roommate still leaves a mess? Maybe it’s time for you to go. You have to consider that there are extreme cases where your roommate just doesn’t know how to clean up after themselves, or maybe they’re going through a hard time that makes it difficult for them to clean. In this case, moving out is the best option, although it isn’t the easiest, it would be better for you to just leave the apartment and find a better place or roommate.

Finding the perfect roommate and apartment

Although it can be difficult, living with a messy roommate isn’t impossible. With these handy tips, you’ll know how to approach the issue without turning it into another argument. To resolve the issue peacefully, try to approach the situation calmly and allow your roommates to explain themselves. Moreover, if you think the situation is beyond fixing, maybe it’s best to just leave.

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Deciding to leave and making the move can be a bit difficult, but Roomi can make it a whole lot simpler for you. As a top roommate and apartment finder, Roomi has a wide array of apartment listings in New York you can choose from (you can also post your own listing for free!).

With Roomi’s Roommate Finder, it’s easy to search for the ideal roommate. Not only can you refine your search based on age, gender, and location, but you have an opportunity to look through their profile as well. Roomi makes it easier for you to get an idea of what your potential roommate will be like before you’ve met them; no more surprises!

More than that, Roomi also does background checks on all of its users to ensure safety and gives verified badges to avoid scammers. It also features in-app messaging for the security and privacy of all its users. Try out Roomi today and find your perfect match.

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