Sharing Spaces with Roommates
March 22, 2013 4:57 AM Subscribe
What is a normal way to share common spaces among four roommates? If there isn't a norm, how do I (should I?) approach a roommate about her things in common spaces?
posted by mild deer to human relations (15 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
There are four roommates living in a two-story house. Me, Katy, Paige, and Peter (fictional names). Katy have lived here for a year and a half. Paige and I have been living here for about 6-7 months. We are all in our late 20s / early 30s. We are all fairly introverted and sensitive, and mostly keep to ourselves. I don't actually know if we all pay the same rent. If there is a difference, Paige and Katy probably pay maybe $10-50 more because they have the bigger rooms upstairs.
I was gone for three weeks in December. When I came back, there was a desk and floor-to-ceiling cabinet in the already cramped dining/living room. The desk is only used by Katy. The cabinet seems to be used by no one except for Paige.
In February, an Ikea ottoman-like footrest sans cushion appeared on the back porch, lined with only her shoes on top. It takes up 1/3 of the back porch, recycling products take up the other 1/3, and the leftover, narrow walkway is in the middle.
I've also noticed that for 3-5 days out of the week, Katy leaves her dishes on the living room table, her mail on the bottom of the stairs, her laundry basket in the dining room floor (which I trip over sometimes), and her carry-on work luggage in the kitchen.
There are other issues, such as the uneven share of chores, and buying stuff (toilet paper, kitchen towels, dish soap, etc). More times than not, Peter and I do her dishes because they fill up half or all of the sink and "she doesn't have time" to clean. These things go untalked about, and I get the feeling that I am the only one who cares.
I have tried to arrange a housemate meeting 4-5x since early January, but due to wildly different schedules, we could never all meet. I thought about sending an email, but from my experience living here so far, emails do not get responses.
Katy is the "nicest" out of my other three housemates, so I find it hard to approach her about sharing spaces equitably and leaving her things around the house. She is also the most "busy" in terms of how much she puts into work, but I don't think this should excuse her from certain responsibilities, like picking up after herself.
I regret not asking about cleanliness before I moved in. I plan on living here for 1/2 a year to 1 1/2 years. I don't know if these issues are worth bringing up, or how they should be brought up. I grew up in a highly dysfunctional family where problems don't get talked about, so I don't know what's normal.
However, this use of common space makes me feel like it's unfair, cramped, uncomfortable, and a little angry. Sometimes, I try to tell myself to not care, but...I always come back to caring when I trip over the laundry basket or see that her stuff is left in *every* common room so that the entire house feels more like Katy's than any of ours. How do I approach this situation? Help...!