Moving out and living in an apartment can be a liberating experience. You’re finally out of your parents’ hair, plus you get to stay in the city you’ve always dreamed about. But there’s a downside to your newfound freedom. And that’s using shared living spaces in the property. Part of the reality of being a renter is using a communal kitchen and sharing a bathroom.

Showering and grooming can be a hellish experience depending on your roomis. If you live with slobs, you’re probably all too familiar with the sight of hair stuck in the drain. Or that mildew building up on the shower curtains. If you’re the unhygienic roommate, it’s time to get your act together so you don’t gross your fellow renters out. Living in an apartment, after all, is all about respecting other people’s need for clean and safe spaces.

Thankfully, there are ways to make any shared bathroom a welcoming spot for everyone. Here are some handy hacks to get you started.

1. Come up with a schedule for using & cleaning the bathroom.

It can be chaotic when everyone’s scrambling to use the bathroom at the same time each day. When the entire apartment needs to get ready for work or school, your shower schedules are sure to clash.

This problem can easily be solved by coming up with a pre-agreed shower schedule. Set a time for every person to shower and apply a time limit, so no one hogs the bathroom.

When sharing a bathroom, it’s also important that everyone pitches in to keep it as spotless and germ-free as possible. This is where a cleaning schedule comes in. Take turns cleaning the bathroom at least once a week, using a checklist to make sure all surfaces are properly sanitized. Don’t skip the jobs everyone hates, here!

2. Sharing a bathroom with roommates means cleaning up as you go.

On top of the weekly cleaning schedule, it’s good manners to clean up after using the bathroom. With any shared living spaces, simple acts like wiping surfaces dry go a long way to keeping the area fresh. Store multipurpose spray or wipes under the cabinet, so no one has an excuse not to clean as they go! Some simple maintenance after you shower helps to keep mold and hard water build-up at bay.

Sharing a bathroom also means not leaving any traces of hair behind. For the gentlemen, try using a grooming mat to catch all your mustache and beard trimmings every time you shave. This is a non-slip material you place on top of the sink while you get rid of that five o’clock shadow. Just dust the hair into a trashcan and you’re done with cleanup.

3. Do your grooming in your room.

Since you’re sharing a bathroom with roommates, you want to be extra mindful about how much time you spend there. It’s primarily meant, after all, for essentials like showering and doing your business on the toilet. Consider doing your grooming activities like styling your hair, putting on makeup, and checking out your outfit in your room. Invest in a vanity or full-length mirror so you can carry out your beauty routine there instead of in the shared bathroom.

4. Get a shower caddy for shared living spaces.

Sharing a bathroom with roommates can get pretty messy, especially if everyone leaves their body washes, shampoo bottles and toothbrushes lying around. One trick is to buy a shower caddy – those plastic baskets that hold your stuff. Every time you shower, just bring it with your things inside so they don’t get mixed in with everyone else’s.

If the entire home has a caddy, simply hang them up with wall adhesives and label them with names. Now everyone has a place to store their shower essentials.

5. Maximize the space in the bathroom for stuff everyone uses.

Source: Unsplash/sanibell

With shared living spaces, there’s a big chance that you and your roommates use a lot of the same products – from shaving gel to hairdryers. Make the most of the space under the sink to store these shared items and make them accessible.

You can find a lot of organizing bins and baskets on Amazon to store things like a pro. Label them with individual names or just write “everyone” on the items you’re happy to share. You can also hang hooks over the door for towels, so you don’t have to step over wet, dirty towels when sharing a bathroom.

6. Keep the bathroom smelling fresh.

Source: Unsplash/Tina Witherspoon

When sharing a bathroom, no one wants to use one that smells disgusting. It’s particularly awkward and embarrassing if you leave it stinky and a roommate needs to use it right after you.

Scents can do a lot to make using the area more pleasant. Lighting a scented candle, using an aromatic diffuser, or just spritzing a room spray can instantly uplift the bathroom’s vibe. Try leaving a bag of potpourri to perfume the bathroom. Every time you do number two, you can also use poo sprays to mask those unwanted odors.

7. Don’t be too hard on your roommates when sharing a bathroom.

Nobody wants to keep sharing a bathroom with roommates that’s dirty, smelly, and cluttered. But at the end of the day, not everyone is a germophobe or a neat freak. While everyone can agree on rules and responsibilities, there’s always someone bound to mess up every now and then. Remember to take it easy and don’t get mad if someone forgets to leave out a fresh roll of toilet paper.

Know what else Roomi does outside of sharing helpful guides to its readers on sharing living spaces? With our ever-increasing lists of rooms and roommates across the world, we help you find your perfect match!