If you are in your 20s, then chances are you have at some point lived with a roommate. In college, I was blessed with some of the best humans to share homes with (shoutout to Dana, Ashtyn, Al, Kayla, Lauren and Kaylee). Between late night heart-to-hearts on the stoop, to freezing spoons to help with swollen eyelids after a drunken sob sesh, it's safe to say college would not have been nearly as amazing without these girls by my side.
Since graduating, I have swapped my XX-chromosome roomies for an XY. Although I was nervous to move in with J, it has actually been pretty incredible. Living with your partner is having a built-in best friend, and we basically get to be our weird, authentic selves all the time. With my female roommates, I have flashbacks of sharing clothes, boxed wine sessions, judging our favorite red carpet looks on TV, and getting ready for parties together. With J, I have flashbacks of climbing on our refrigerator to get a birds-eye view during a Nerf gun war, screaming at the TV when the Vikings screwed up (per the usual), and dancing in our kitchen before going out on a Friday. Each memory is unique and wonderful, and I have loved my time living with each person.
Now, although it seems like it is all fun and games, there are still moments when J leaves a wet towel on the bed, or I spill nail polish remover on the coffee table and strip the varnish. Cohabitating takes patience, communication, compromise, and kindness. I am pretty OCD, and J has been wonderful at keeping the house tidy (for my sanity more than his), but there are also times when I have to consciously LET THINGS GO. Give your partner or roommate the grace that you would want if you are having a rough day. Ask how you can help. Be proactive if you see a house chore that needs to be done. Make time for yourself to be apart. Have a blast and hunt down the best perch for a Nerf war.
Along with these tips, here are some other ways J and I make living together easier.
1. Make a joint calendar
How many times have you forgotten about a big work event? Yeah, we've all been there. Having a calendar for all of the big and little happenings in your month will save each of you a lot of hassle in remembering. I made a DIY chalkboard a few years ago using an old mirror, and update it each month. We also have a shared note in our phones for further out important dates, to help us remember weddings, friend/family visits, or work trips. Both are lifesavers.
2. Make one person responsible for bills
Now, this may not work for everyone, but for J and I it has been simpler that I handle the utilities and he just sends me money via PayPal/Venmo for his half. We grocery shop together 90% of the time, and we usually keep the same process: where I pay and then he just transfers the money to me. It has been great for us, but everyone just needs to find a system that works so things don't fall through the cracks. Eventually, we'll combine finances, but for now this has been easiest for us.
3. Share a note or document for household items
J and I have a note in our iPhones that we can co-edit to add household items that we need to restock. We live a little ways from a Target (and like a true Minnesotan, I pretty much refuse to get my items anywhere else), so this helps to allow us to stock up on all of the essentials when one of us does a run. We've done this for groceries too, but like I mentioned previously, we usually go together.
4. Keep it consistent
For your sanity, find a consistent spot for the important things, and NEVER CHANGE IT. For example, we have one key for our storage closet, and we keep it in the drawer to the left of our sink. No matter who uses it, it always goes back into that damn drawer. When you live with someone else, it is easier for things to get lost, so creating designated spots will save you a lot of headaches having to hunt down missing keys/documents/etc. We are not perfect at this, but have definitely made strides since moving in together.
5. Show appreciation
This one is the most important. I came home from brunch with girlfriends a few weekends ago,, and J had cleaned the floors, scrubbed the stove drip pans, put away laundry, and organized our mail tray. If you see your partner or roommate go above and beyond or even do a small, sweet gesture - SHOW SOME FRICKING GRATITUDE. There is nothing more exhausting in life than feeling under-appreciated, and you would want a little credit if you had done the same.
While I loved the 3 times I got to live on my own (freshmen spring after transferring from the University of San Diego, Berlin, and my first real apartment in KC), I thoroughly enjoy getting to share a home with J, and think that these insights have helped make it so great. Here are some items that can help you co-habitat like champions.
Have any other helpful insight? I would love to hear! Share what works for you and your roomie/partner in the comments.