Messy Roommates? Here’s How to Handle It

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dealing with messy roommates


Living with someone is a true test of a relationship. There are boundaries to set, personalities to contend with, and a lot of little quirks that come out only when you finally move in. 

The big one, though, is whether or not they can pick up after themselves. Living with messy roommates is enough to frustrate anyone, but it's another thing when it's difficult to communicate with that person. 

Even if you land one of the best apartments in Dayton, OH, the sweet jingle of those keys will sound like chains rattling if your roommate keeps your place a total mess. 

We're going to look at how to approach handling a messy roommate today, giving you some insight into tips and tricks that might help you smooth things over. Hopefully, the ideas below nudge you toward a happier living space. 

Let's get started with some tips for dealing with messy roommates. 

How to Deal With Messy Roommates

The first thing you should do is establish a boundary. Express yourself and tell the individual what you would prefer in the house when it comes to cleaning and picking up after one another. 

It's an intimidating conversation to start on your own, but it's something that all roommates should do to avoid conflict later on. Whether the person in question is your best friend, an old acquaintance, or someone that you've never met, a conversation needs to happen. 

You might have a long and beautiful relationship with a friend, but the realm of cleaning and personal hygiene doesn't need to enter into most normal friendships. So, you're in some new territory for the relationship. 

The difficulty of the situation lies in the fact that you want to keep a smooth personal relationship, and arguments over things they don't care about could explode into deeper issues. 

Many of us are too shy to confront someone on a habit that they have. In normal life, these issues aren't too bad because we aren't forced to live in the same space as most people with habits that don't align with our own. There's no need to bring something up, so we don't. 

In the house, though, messiness or inconsiderate roommates take a toll on our mental health.  

What Happens if They Refuse to Clean

Even though you express your wish to keep things clean and your roommate agrees, the reality of the situation might not work out so smoothly. You could find that their idea of "clean" is much different than yours (or anyone else's for that matter), and you're living in a dirty home.

It's acceptable to approach your roommate after a while and tell them that you have a different idea about how clean the house should be. So long as they're receptive, try to be as specific as you can in terms of how well things should get cleaned. 

The better idea they have of your wishes, the more they can accommodate if they're a nice and considerate person. Additionally, it helps to mention why you like to keep things clean. 

Some people don't need things as tidy as you do, so they might need a little insight into your perspective so they can value how important it is to clean. For example, mention that your mental health declines in a dirty environment if that's the case for you. 

Asking Your Roommate to Clean

When all else fails, you're put in a difficult spot. There are things to clean and you're holding up your personal end of the bargain. That only accounts for half of your house, though, and the other half is left unkept. 

If you start cleaning the whole house, that might set a precedent or the other individual might take offense to you doing their part. In any case, overstepping and cleaning things out of your purview shakes the personal dynamic up in some way. 

So, you have to ask the other person to clean or else things will remain dirty. One option is to dance around the subject a little bit while keeping cleaning at the center of the discussion. 

You could say, "did you ever get around to cleaning the bathroom? I haven't been in there today so I wasn't sure." You could also say something like "I think we might have people over in a day or two, do you think you could do the dishes by then?"

These are non-confrontational ways to approach the situation. When all else fails, though, you have to come right out and ask direct questions. 

"Can you clean the bathroom?" "Could you please do the dishes?"

Getting to the point and saying things assertively is a good way to let them know that they're important to you. Do your best, though, to avoid saying things in an aggressive or mean manner. 

That will only serve to make things worse. 

Suggest That You Both Clean at the Same Time

Before you and your roommate enter mental no man's land and start fighting about cleaning, suggest that you do cleaning together. Give them a date that you plan to clean the apartment and ask if they'd be willing to help you out. 

You never know why someone else refuses to clean up after themselves. There's laziness, but it could be something a little deeper. For example, they might feel very bad about their mess, but the anxiety they feel about the huge garbage heap might overwhelm them.

As a result, they could avoid the entire process. Extending a compassionate hand and offering to tackle something as a team could be the thing they need. Your house will get cleaned, and you might strengthen your roommate relationship at the same time. 

Do You Have Messy Roommates?

Living with messy roommates that aren't willing to change is difficult. After a while, you might just tune out and accept that things are going to stay messy. 

We hope the messy roommate solutions above helped to chip away at the issue. If not, though, you always have the option of finding different apartments for rent in Dayton, Ohio. We're here to help you with that. 

Explore our site for more ideas and options for new places to live.

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