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Coping in a shared house

Moving out of home can be the best of times and the worst of times. Living in a student household with non-stop parties and action is not very helpful to study. Living alone may be either too expensive or just a bit too lonely. So how do you live in a share house and avoid major problems?

Essential tips on sharing a house

Ask questions

In the beginning, you cannot ask enough questions about the people you are going to live with and how they want to live.

  • Are they vegetarian and going to lecture you about the sausages you eat on Saturday for breakfast?
  • Do they have an open-house party every weekend?
  • Will you ever see them again after you move in, or do they always stay with their boy/girl friend?
  • Do they vote Liberal?
  • Do they smoke bongs for breakfast?
  • Will they cook?
  • Clean the toilet?
  • Pay the bills on time?

Money

Many difficulties in share houses are because of money. It is important to make as many rules as possible before situations arise, then everyone knows where they stand.

Phone bills can be particularly troublesome.  'Who made the call to Swan Hill/Hong Kong?'

Food

It is generally accepted in share houses that everyone should do their share of the cooking, and those that don't cook (it is not necessary to make a 5 course gourmet banquet) do the washing up.

In some households, of course, the opposite is true, and nothing is shared and you write your name on the milk. This can create a lot of tension when the milk is regularly taken for midnight coffees at exam time. If you must take someone else's stuff, tell them and then replace it or provide something else instead. In general, each household must make its own rules, but each person within the household must stick to them.

Communication

Talk to each other about the good and the bad. Avoid leaving notes around for people to find as these are very public and may embarrass the other person.

If you have a concern or a problem, deal with it quickly or forget about it. Don't hold grudges.

If you have tried but cannot get along well with some or all of the other housemates, put it down to experience, move out, and use what you have learnt to make sure you make a better choice next time.

Taking it further

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