Living with roommates can sound great – you’ll split the rent! You can share clothes! You’ll have someone to hang out with all the time! But without the right preparation, it can go downhill quickly. So, before you jump into it, here are a few things to consider:

Social Lives

How often do typically have people over? How often do they? Does anyone ever stay the night or come over at late hours?

If you like your peace and quiet, living with someone that hosts parties every weekend might not be right for you (and vice versa). Similarly, having a roommate that has their friends or boyfriend or girlfriend over when you’re trying to sleep will get old fast. It’s important to discuss this upfront, so you can decide whether or not you can come up with a solution that will work for both of you.

Work/Class Schedules

If you’re up early for class but your roommate sleeps in and works late nights, you’ll need to figure out an arrangement that won’t disturb either of you. Consider setting “quiet hours” during certain times when one of you is sleeping, getting ready for class or work, or is trying to study.

Sleeping Schedules

On a similar note, talk to each other about your normal sleep schedules. Are you an early bird, but your roommate is a night owl? Establish ground rules for keeping noise down during the early morning or late nights. As long as both of you are respectful of each other’s sleep, opposite schedules can still work.

Cleaning Habits

Are you a clean freak, or more on the messy side? Which are they? Depending on their answer, come up with a system that will work for both of you. Set rules for cleaning shared spaces, or assign chores for each person’s strengths. Make they don’t mind taking out the trash, and you don’t mind vacuuming. Talk it over and set a system early on to avoid frustration.

Paying Bills

Before you move in together, determine who will be paying for what, or how bills will be split. Money is one of the biggest stressors for living with roommates, so it’s important to have open communication about it from the beginning.

Shared Spaces

This one goes back to the cleaning habits discussion. If you’re sharing a bedroom, bathroom, or living room, figure out how to make it work for both of you. Set a schedule for cleaning and be respectful of each other’s belongings.

For things like showering or doing laundry, come up with a good time for each of you so you’re not stepping on each other’s toes. In the kitchen, figure out if you’ll go grocery shopping together and split the bill or share the fridge and buy food separately. As long as you both stick to the system you come up with, you can avoid frustration and enjoy living together.

Off-Limits Items or Spaces

Don’t forget this one! If taking clothes out of each other’s closets, sharing food, or using each other’s shampoo is definitely off-limits to you, let them know at the start. Similarly, if each of you has their own bathroom and you would prefer they don’t go in ours, tell them!

These conversations aren’t always easy to have, but being upfront is the number one rule to living with roommates. Even if your schedules or personality traits are polar opposite, there are ways to make it work! As long as you keep open communication and set ground rules early on, you’re on your way to a happy and healthy roommate relationship.