Living with Flatmates

Flatmate Disputes – A 5 Step Guide To Solving Housework Disagreements

If you feel your flatmate’s “idea of housework is to sweep the room with a glance”, you’re not alone. Many people are in the same boat. They have different thoughts about housework than their flatmates which leads to disagreements and disputes.

When living with flatmates, it’s important to remember that people have different ideas about housework and the standard needed to keep a room, apartment or house clean. A person’s attitude towards chores, hygiene and cleanliness is cemented very early in life by their childhood experiences and is often difficult to change. Whether you feel the members of your household are too obsessive about housework or literally “sweep the room with a glance”, you will need to reach a compromise with your flatmates that makes each person feel comfortable and willing to complete their share of the housework.
an you and your flatmates solve disputes about keeping your house or apartment clean? It’s as easy as following these 5 steps that let you find the solution that’s right for your share house.

1. Draft A List of Your Concerns
Before approaching your flatmates, it’s a good idea to make a list that identifies and outlines the areas that concern you about your current housekeeping arrangements and practices. This helps you decide if you are blowing any issues out of proportion or whether your feelings are well founded and the issues should be raised. It also you lets you gather information that can help you demonstrate your concerns.

2. Quietly Remind Your Flatmates First
Your first step should be to quietly remind your flatmate about the area of housekeeping you feel they are neglecting. For example, asking the flatmate who leaves the dirty dishes in the sink to wash their dishes and put them away. This approach is less confronting and may solve the problem straight away especially if flatmates are simply forgetful or run out of time.

cleaning gloves

3. Create An Open Discussion
If after talking to your flatmate you still feel they are not pulling their weight, bringing up the subject of housework in a group discussion lets you talk about the issue without pointing fingers, blaming or singling out flatmates. It lets each flatmate express their opinion and helps your household solve issues about housework in a calm manner.

4. Finding A Solution
Any solution your household decides to implement should be agreed and supported by all flatmates. If this does not happen, it is highly likely the solution will not work. Finding the right solution will depend on the dispute and the reason behind the problem. For example, when a flatmate doesn’t have enough time to complete a task you may simply need to change the housework roster while ingrained attitudes toward chores may be harder to change. Solutions can include changing the housekeeping roster, re-assigning chores, hiring a cleaner that’s paid by the people who don’t wish to do housework and changing the household rules or the way housework is done. Check out how your share house can create a housework chore schedule.

5. Revise and Implement Improvements or New Solutions
If your household feels the chosen solution doesn’t work the issue should be re-addressed. Your household may need to find a more innovative solution, for example, asking flatmates to put in a $1.00 in a jar each time they have forgotten to do a chore and at the end of the year spending the collected money on a party. When implementing this type of solution, it’s important that it’s done in the spirit of fun and involves a sense of humour. Alternatively, when common ground can not be found, it may be time for a flatmate to find new accommodation. Even though most flatmates may wish to avoid this scenario, it may be best solution for the household.

Just remember, even though each member of your share house may have different thoughts and feelings about housework you can solve disagreements. Before you know it, even the flatmates whose idea of housework is sweeping the room with a glance will help you keep your home clean and tidy.

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