Housemate doesn't clean up after himself. Help.
November 16, 2009 10:58 PM   Subscribe

My housemate doesn't clean up, like ever. How can I do to make things work, or at least more bearable?

I've been sharing an apartment since the beginning of September with an old acquaintance, and everything's been going well enough. EXCEPT:
My housemate doesn't help out with the cleaning. Every day I come home to even more mess, and it's starting to really bug me.

Some background here: My housemate and I are both 23, male, and college seniors. We went to high school together but lost touch after graduation. I was looking for a housemate for an apartment I found this August, and a mutual friend said Housemate (whose mom died last year) was looking for a place as well. We signed a lease, moved in and started school, so far so good.
The first hint I got that Housemate wasn't very good at cleaning was about a week in when he asked me what "rinsing" dishes meant. Since then, he's remained pleasant, but the amount of housework he's done has gone from little to almost none.

The main problems:
-His dishes stay dirty in the sink either until I wash them or there are no more clean ones, whereupon he washes a dirty one, uses it, and puts it back in the sink. The same thing goes for pots and pans. I can count the number of times he's washed all the dishes in the sink on one hand, and even then they've come out covered in brown curry grease and needed to be washed again.

-When asked to wash his dirty pots and pans that were filling up the sink, Housemate was surprised that I would want them to be cleaned even if I wasn't immediately going to use them. Housemate said that he would wash them before he needed them again "only as a favor". He cooks about four gallons of curry every two weeks.

-Although he was willing to split the cost of a $50 vacuum cleaner, the only time he's picked up a broom was when he broke a glass. He's been leaving brown greasy globs of curry on all the kitchen surfaces and covers the floor in oil when he cooks. All these problems with cleaning up have carried over to the bathroom as well.

Apart from all this, he's been a decent housemate, asking if I want to watch cartoons or split a pizza or whatnot, or coming out to parties with me.
I've talked to him about washing dishes and cleaning up around the apartment, and he's always said "sure"- the problem is it doesn't end up happening. He tends to drink beers and watch cartoons when he's done with schoolwork and doesn't have anything to do, so it seems like a combination of procrastination and just not knowing how to run a household: his mom used to do all the housekeeping.

What can I do to encourage him to do his share of housework, or failing that, what can I do to minimize the amount of mess I have to deal with? Ideally, we would clean up after ourselves, and if someone else missed something then the other would clean it, no problem.
I don't want to be that passive-aggressive guy, but something's got to change, since I'd like to be able to have guests over without feeling embarrassed. I'd be tempted to only clean up after myself, but I'm afraid the apartment would be taken over by maggots.
posted by dunkadunc to Human Relations (38 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Get a cleaning service.
posted by walla at 11:10 PM on November 16, 2009 [2 favorites]

Dishes get done immediately after use. That is the only policy that ever worked well when I had roommates.

And if he says, "It's soaking", point out that soaking makes things more difficult except in the rare case where something is crusted onto a pan.

But in general: Don't nag him. Just tell him, "Man, you're my friend, but I can't live in this place if you don't help with the cleaning" and move out if he doesn't make progress.

Also point out that women are repelled by filth.
posted by qxntpqbbbqxl at 11:13 PM on November 16, 2009

Your housemate seems thoughtless, not evil. It could be a lot worse. The internet is full of roomate disaster stories... it looks like your roomie isn't stealing from you, harming you or failing to pay bills... odds are good that he'll come around after some encouragement.

One day while watching cartoons, splitting a pizza together:

"Hey Sanjay, do you want to cleanup the pizza mess while I grab the vacuum for these crumbs? It makes me feel good to get the cleaning out of the way sooner rather than later."

Next time he makes a curry bomb in the kitchen... jump in 60-90 minutes later:

"Hey Sanjay, I was going to make some fajitas... do you think you could restore the kitchen? Really appreciate it."

Cleaning up after your housemate is only teaching him that he doesn't have to do anything. In his world, all is good and you're happy to do it. Be honest with him in a non-nagging way and he'll come around out of common courtesy.
posted by shew at 11:14 PM on November 16, 2009

I once lived for three years in a 10 bedroom share house, usually occupied by between 10 and 12 people. Cleaning up was a perennial problem, particularly in the kitchen. I eventually resorted to washing, drying and hiding any item left unwashed in the kitchen, and over time this reduced the number of items in circulation to the point where people had to keep stuff clean in order to have anything to cook in or eat off.

The fact that there were only ever two or three people in residence at any time who knew which end of the vacuum cleaner sucked and which end blew was one of the things that eventually irritated me enough to move out.

You need to have The Talk; you need to be absolutely blunt, and point out that (a) you're not his mother and you're not going to clean up after him and (b) you have no desire to live in squalor, and if your housemate does he can find another housemate. And you need to mean it, even though it may well end up costing you the apartment that you found in the first place.

You'll get better results by keeping the main thrust of your tirade objective (this is bullshit, this kitchen is a pigsty, this bathroom is unsanitary) rather than whining (I'm sick of doing all the cleaning) or attacking (when are you going to learn not to shit where you eat).
posted by flabdablet at 11:18 PM on November 16, 2009

cured my friend- (eventually) when she left dirty dishes out, her roomies put the dishes in her bed. (I think this was threatened before randomly starting.)

She is now much neater!

Have your own dishes, kept under lock and key, use them, wash them, put them away. (Option, to me this sounds a little weird.)
posted by titanium_geek at 11:23 PM on November 16, 2009 [2 favorites]

His mother has probably cleaned up after him his entire life and if you make any move to continue to clean up after him he'll let you. I had a similar roomate in grad school: one day about a month after he moved in our third roommate gave him an ultimatum that the entire kitchen had to be spotless by the time she got home from work or he was being evicted. He called his girlfriend and asked her to come do it for him because it had to be clean or he'd be homeless!!

The best way I ever saw to solve the roomate-dishes problem was to only allow each roommate to have one plate, one dish, one spoon etc. Color coded so you know who owns what. Then people have to clean up after themselves or not have anything to eat off of. All communal pots and pans get washed after meals and you can severely cut down on those too to reduce the amount of mess it's possible to create in the first place.
posted by fshgrl at 11:34 PM on November 16, 2009

You need to communicate two separate concepts.

1 - As much as you like the guy, you won't live in filth. This is non-negotiable.

2 - Precisely what the standards are. Don't be vague and hope he figures it out. Your roommate sounds like he doesn't know how to clean. You need to tell him how to perform the task and how often the task is required. This isn't you being a jerk or condescending - this is you communicating what you need in a living arrangement.

Make sure you've got reasonable standards then have the talk. He sounds like a good guy who's never had to take care of these tasks himself.
posted by 26.2 at 11:49 PM on November 16, 2009 [2 favorites]

I have had this problem!

My ex-housemate and I solved it by:

- talking about how disrespectful it made him seem and how frustrating it was to get home after work and not have enough patience or time to wash dishes to cook on
- setting a time limit for things to be in the sink (ie, one day) before one of us told the other to do it and made them do it right then
- cooking together so we both used the kitchen at the same time and split the cleaning duties
- talking a lot more about what and when we were going to cook something

Until all this was done, he truly hadn't realized what it was like to have a clean kitchen, and he definitely hadn't understood the mental-health benefits of having a tidy kitchen for me.

He's still unkempt, but his kitchen is clean.
posted by mdonley at 11:49 PM on November 16, 2009

I had this problem too.

I solved it by not living with them. I jest not.

Some people don't like cleaning after themselves and don't see this as selfish. Some do. Find someone who largely shares your sentiments.

We tried being polite, being more forceful, a rota and so forth. Other friends have had similar problems - in some cases with quite dear mutual friends.

It's sometimes best when you've explored some of the politer options just to accept that discretion is the better part of valor and find somewhere else to live.
posted by MuffinMan at 12:23 AM on November 17, 2009 [1 favorite]

I am the messy one. I feel bad about it and I try to get better at it, and sometimes I do, but the fact of the matter is, that is just how I am. I live with a wonderful person who puts up with my crap most of the time, now, but previous roommate situations have been solved in one of two ways:

1. We don't live together anymore.
2. The clean person (and in this case, obsessive militant vegan person) made a deal with me. I promised not to put anything dirty in the sink, but rather either in my room or on the counter or stove, unless I was cleaning it at that moment. And she had her own set of dishes, pots and pans that were her vegan things that I never used. She could always get to the sink to wash things, and she used the kitchen table to do prep work. We only lived together for one year in college so it worked out well in the end, and she knew her requirements were very strict, so we managed to compromise.

Basically, while it might be nice for you to think you can change this guy's habits, or help him to grow and be a better/cleaner person, it isn't your responsibility! He's causing you problems, yes, but do you need to commit to modifying his behavior beyond reasonable requests to clean up after himself in, say, a 24 hour period? As a complete slob, I can tell you that it will either become so oppressive that he will be the first to move out, or there will be a proper fight, months before he can get his act together.

The positive things you list about this guy sound like qualities that would make an excellent friend, not roommate. Going to parties together and splitting food and hanging out together is nice, but it's even nicer if, at the end of the night, the two of you part ways. Additionally, I should note that I am always far more clean and tidy when I'm a visitor in someone's home than when it's my own home.
posted by Mizu at 1:49 AM on November 17, 2009

I was passive-aggressived on this in a 6-person shared house when half of the housemates had a bet to see who among the other half would crack first when the ants started to come in and feast around the pile of dirty washing-up -- no dishwasher, either. I cracked first.

I'd suggest hiring a cleaning service to arrive unexpectedly while he's in the house to see if that might imbue a sense of shame, but that's probably not worth it. My head says that you need to have The Talk and establish a firm rule that you never leave dirty pots overnight. Not even to soak.

My gut says "put them in his bed".
posted by holgate at 1:57 AM on November 17, 2009

Oh, and show him how to clean. He has indicated that he has, never before, ever, in his life, ever, cleaned anything. So you need to fill in where his mum/dad neglected to teach him. Don't clean for him, clean with him, if you want him to start cleaning up. Only do this once, then you get strict. "Hey, mate, could you help me blitz the kitchen? I'll show you what I'd like for you to do."

Then comes dirty dishes in bed time.
posted by titanium_geek at 2:41 AM on November 17, 2009

Try limiting the number of options he can go through before he has to wash a dish in order to eat again. If you have ten glasses, keep two in the cabinet. Keep one small pot and one large pot and one frying pan for standard use. Two plates. You get the idea.

It will at least limit the pile that can exist in the sink, it will be a motivation for him to clean, because he won't be able to make a hamburger without cleaning the frying pan he fried an egg in in the morning, and if you do wind up doing it for him, at least it's not a ton.

You could also try a swap -- cave in on the dishes, just do whatever is there in the early evening and the morning. And get him to do something else: all the laundry, or all the grocery shopping, or get him to pay for all the groceries since you're doing so much more work.

Maybe one of these ideas is unappetizing enough that he's not so much a child that he'd clean to avoid it.
posted by A Terrible Llama at 2:58 AM on November 17, 2009

in order:

1. talk frankly, agree standards/cleaning schedule. once you have a basic agreement in place as to exactly what is expected, you can point out where he is not holding up his end of the bargain.

2. if he can't keep up the agreed standards, he can pay for a cleaning service to keep up his end of the agreement.

3. if 1 and 2 don't work, find another roommate.

it's not your job to either teach him about cleanliness or deal with being his surrogate mom. this way lies misery.
posted by wayward vagabond at 3:45 AM on November 17, 2009 [1 favorite]

As a complete slob, I can tell you that it will either become so oppressive that he will be the first to move out

which is, of course, a Win.

Slobs don't deserve clean housemates. They just don't. Let them go live somewhere else, where they can happily fester in each other's filth.
posted by flabdablet at 4:09 AM on November 17, 2009 [4 favorites]

it's not your job to either teach him about cleanliness or deal with being his surrogate mom.


Remove all plates, glasses, cups and cutlery. Replace them with paper cups, paper plates and disposable plastic cutlery.

Alternatively, buy a dishwasher and some dishwasher safe pots and pans.

Regarding dirty floors etc: tell him that you're considering a cleaning service, and will increase his rent to cover the costs.
posted by iviken at 4:20 AM on November 17, 2009

Send them a link to this thread.
posted by peacay at 4:45 AM on November 17, 2009 [1 favorite]

Have a frank talk with him and as others have stated, if he doesn't know how to clean, show him. If that doesn't work, then go online and find the average cost per hour for a cleaning service. Figure out how much more work, in hours, that you do to clean up after him and then deduct that amount from your rent. If he refuses to pay the extra gap in rent, then what I would do is to take every dirty dish or piece of trash he leaves behind and put it in his room or bed.
posted by MaryDellamorte at 6:11 AM on November 17, 2009

If you can get him to acknowledge that having a clean house is desirable, this is a good first step. If the concepts of neatness, lack of clutter, clean dishes, and no spoiling food are like an obscure foreign language, then you may be screwed. Determine if he doesn't care about things being clean, or just doesn't care to clean things himself, by asking some probing questions.

If you find that he has no use for a clean house, then you should part ways. If he just doesn't want to clean up, then you might want to offer a fair trade of money for your services. Perhaps $40 per week, depending on the relative value of your time and the fact that you would be his maid.
posted by Midnight Skulker at 6:23 AM on November 17, 2009

Your options definitely seem to be:

1) Split a cleaning service, but this only fixes the bigger things (bathroom; kitchen floor) and not the daily things, like dirty dishes in the sink all the time. Still, might be worth it. Depends on your budget.

2) Teach him how to clean and then split chores officially (keep a scheduled chart if you must). Maybe he sucks at doing dishes, but he can be the one who always takes out the trash? Vacuuming is also a pretty easy task to get someone to do, provided you keep the floor clear enough. This concept requires him to be on board with the idea of a clean apartment. He seems like he maybe could learn to care.

Maybe you need to remind him that remnants of food left out all the time = roaches and mice? Ew.

If he really just doesn't care, then he just doesn't care. Which leaves options 3 and 4, which are deal with it, or move out.

Some people are saying that it's not your job to teach him, and of course it's not, but he's your friend and people don't do things for their friends because it's their job. Teaching him how to clean isn't just helping you, it's helping him. This is a life skill. It will make him easier to live with in the future, and it's a good thing to be easy to live with.

I have some guy friends who live at my place over the weekend, and if the trash builds up, I ask them to take it out. If someone else cooks and I've been doing all the after-cooking cleaning up lately, I ask one of them to do it. And they do. It's fair trade. And this is so much better than my college friends who didn't know how to clean and I'd sort of try to teach them but it was easier to just do it myself. I find the current set up far happier all around. Someone taught these boys how to clean (and cook!) and it makes them even better to hang out with. I wish I'd done a better job of teaching my other friends.
posted by quirks at 7:13 AM on November 17, 2009

honestly, this is exactly why i moved into my own place. you will not be able to change this person, nor is it your responsibility.
posted by gnutron at 7:39 AM on November 17, 2009

Best answer: Yeah, you should probably get a new room mate. I'm sure this guy is your friend, and likes to split pizza with you, and whatever, plays two-player smash-tv, but none of these things have an bearing on being a good house-mate. A good house-mate maintains their living space with the same amount of care as you do and provides an amicable living environment. It has little to do with personality or hanging out or anything like that.

If you were a disgusting filth-lover then this chap would be a fine match for you, but it seems like you prefer a clean living area, so he isn't a good house-mate, to you. It doesn't have to be personal. I've lived with people that I'm actually not fond of, and will hopefully never have to interact with again, BUT, living with them was really nice because they insisted on cleanliness and had procedures and routines and etc to keep the common areas and actually helped me to become a cleaner, better house-mate.

So, you should first talk to him strongly encouraging him to clean up. Talk about how you feel, talk about how neither of you are going to be enjoying college sex because of your environment, talk about vermin, mice, roaches, bedbugs, screwflies, etc. Teach him some basic cleaning techniques. Hire a cleaning service if you must, and split the cost 50/50.

Don't be a bastard and start putting dirty dishes in his bed. That's very disrespectful. DO NOT enter his private space without explicit permission. If you do that then YOU are the bad house-mate, and much worse than just being messy.

You signed a lease, so you are stuck with the filth. You may have to be his mother and clean up after his nasty ass all the time because he may be unwilling or unable to change his ways and breaking a lease is never a good idea.

This is the most likely scenario: You will be the one who keeps the apartment habitable and you will gradually stop being friends with the slob and begin to resent him. You will eventually move on and learn to pick better roommates and the slob will end up entombed in filth, probably alone.
posted by fuq at 8:09 AM on November 17, 2009 [2 favorites]

I agree that the best thing is to change your living situation by moving out, or booting him out. I don't think you can 'work with him' or 'teach him to clean', because, to be very blunt, I do not believe that this person honestly, legitimately does not understand what it means to 'rinse dishes'. I do not believe that it is possible for a person to be intelligent enough to get into college, but unintelligent enough that he can't figure out how one might use dish soap and a scrubber to cause a dish or pot to be clean. It ain't rocket science.

It just doesn't make sense, and as Judge Judy says, if it doesn't make sense, it isn't true.

Your roommate knows perfectly well how to clean a pot or a dish, but he believes it to be beneath him, and much prefers that you do it, so he has pulled out a few passive-aggressive tricks to make it so. 'I don't know how to' perform x chore is the oldest trick in the book that people pull to get out of doing something they don't want to do.

Why would you put up with this treatment? Find a new roommate who can work those mysterious, undecipherable tools that millions use every day to clean their dishes.
posted by 2xplor at 8:44 AM on November 17, 2009

I will admit to being really not a neat person. Mess just sits on the edge of my awareness where I know I should do something about it but I get distracted by X and Y and Z...

Anyway, there are times in my life where it would have really helped me if someone had said, "Hey, let's you and I make some time RIGHT NOW and clean the kitchen. I will wipe the stove and countertops and you can wash the dishes." Every time. Until it gets to be a habit.

You probably don't want to do that much mothering. That's totally reasonable, and in that case, yeah, move out and get a new roommate.
posted by Jeanne at 9:04 AM on November 17, 2009

My roommate and I have been friends for years, and in most ways he is a great person to live with, but I have the same problem you do -- that he will not clean ANYTHING, and doesn't see the problem in our possessions being disgusting or too decrepit to use. Oh, the tales I have told of his disintegrating washrags, his festering towels, the grime left upon every dish he deigns to wash, the piles of garbage he creates besides the can (so he can avoid taking the trash out, I presume).

My eventual solution is going to be moving out. He is absolutely NOT going to start cleaning, and I have come to accept that as my reality. I am not neat, as far as clutter goes, but I despise filth. So until I move out, I have saved my sanity by combining this problem with these two others:

1. My roommate also has considerably more income and considerably fewer expenses than I do, yet I end up paying for all supplies, curtain replacements, furniture, etc. He has almost no possessions -- I own the entertainment center and all its contents, I own the furniture, I own all the dishes and cookware, etc. He gets lots of use out of my things, and has seriously damaged or destroyed a few of them.

2. I am in a minor amount of debt to him because of medical circumstances, buying aforementioned supplies, and because he would rather me take a long time paying him back if that means we get to eat out pretty often.

So, when I buy a replacement for our useless and moldy shower curtain (for example), I deduct half the price of it from what I owe him. And I charge him for my cleaning services, as well. Nothing extravagant -- if I clean the entire apartment, I'll knock $10 off what I owe him.

This is the only way I've been able to handle this situation. $10 is a small price for him to pay for me to clean the grime from the sink and tub, wash the dishes, wash the towels and rugs, sweep, mop, clean out the fridge, take out the trash, transport a load to the recycling center, clean the toilet, and so forth.

This is just how I have dealt with it. Depending on your roommate, and depending on who handles your finances, a similar situation may or may not work for you. Because, let me tell you, if I weren't hacking away at my debt to him while cleaning, I would be a much angrier person, and our roommate situation would be unworkable.
posted by Coatlicue at 9:07 AM on November 17, 2009

Pretty much the only cure for a slob of this nature is for he or she to move in with a pack of even bigger slobs. This generally ends up curing at least half of the slobs within a year.

In the meantime, suggest he pay for/chip in for a cleaning service. They are probably far more efficient than you are at cleaning.
posted by shownomercy at 9:18 AM on November 17, 2009

I don't understand the comments suggesting a cleaning service, because doing dishes is a daily task, and the cost of having someone come over every day would be prohibitive to a college student. Your best option in this regard is to split the cost of a used portable dishwasher. He will probably not load or empty it, but this might be slightly more palatable to you than washing the dishes yourself. Of course, you'd keep the dishwasher when you move out, since you're still doing the work.

Putting dishes in his bed is a bizarre option: you still have to do the work of moving them from point A to point B, his room will become infested with vermin, and he'll likely not speak to you anymore.
posted by desjardins at 10:02 AM on November 17, 2009

Please do not put dishes in his bed. It sounds like he is a nice guy who is going through a rough time and he probably missed out on learning a lot from his mother, let alone how to clean. I would just tell him how it makes you feel and emphasize respect - it makes you feel like he doesn't respect you or the apartment that you share - when he leaves dirty dishes around. Also be sure to say when you have that initial talk with him that it's not a favor to clean things when you're done using them, it's just respectful and common courtesy to make sure that the kitchen isn't full of dirty dishes all the time. He seems to think it's about use -- if you don't need them, why do they need to be cleaned -- so make sure that you make it clear that it is about more than availability of the dishes.

If he asked you what rinsing is, odds are that he would be open to learning about scrubbing and changing the sponges. Don't say "I'll show you how to clean," just ask him to share cleaning with you and show him without saying "This is how it needs to be done" or anything like that. Basically show him how you do it without saying he has to do it that way too; as long as he cleans the dishes and they aren't covered in grease when he's done washing them (he's doing it wrong) however he does it should be fine.
posted by k8lin at 10:08 AM on November 17, 2009

Best answer: They are probably totally invisible to your roommate.

If you tell him to do the stuff, you know, like, later, when you have some time... You know how that's going to turn out.

The best policy is going to be one of immediacy. "Hey man, got 20 minutes? (if yes) You are going to help me do dishes now." Be polite but firm. You do them too, even if they are 90% his, because if you constantly are demanding shit that wears on anyone. This will have the added benefit of letting you teach him how to wash to your specifications.

Split the labor, one person washes one person dries / puts them away. Or one person washes dishes one person does the floor/ stovetop / counters.

Just do it NOW as opposed to, you know, sometime. If you do it frequently enough it will stop being weird and just be dishes time.
posted by spatula at 10:25 AM on November 17, 2009 [2 favorites]

I don't understand the comments suggesting a cleaning service

I knew people who weren't deliberately slobby, but easily distracted, and they hired a cleaning service once a fortnight because the thought of two motherly women stepping over the accumulated detritus shamed them into cleaning up most of the mess in a frenzied hour before they arrived. (There's definitely a market in hiring people as a "shaming-you-into-cleaning service", in best Kim and Aggie fashion.)

Hiring a cleaning service to clean up the mess, on the other hand, seems like it reenforces Messy Housemate's lack of basic self-sufficiency. So while I actually agree with the Do-It-Here, Do-It-Now approach -- stand by the sink with him and do the bloody things -- the blazing lizard brain really wants to see whether he'd be prepared to sleep with his dirty crocks.
posted by holgate at 11:08 AM on November 17, 2009

Response by poster: Hiring a cleaning service would work if I was rich, but I'm not so the suggestion is a bit flippant.
I just asked him to help clean the apartment and he said he was too hung over (given the amount of water he was drinking, I believe it.) The problem is that he's not exactly the kind of kid who takes criticism well.
Thanks for the input- if anyone has any more suggestions they'd be welcome.
posted by dunkadunc at 1:46 PM on November 17, 2009

Best answer: I just asked him to help clean the apartment and he said he was too hung over

Training materials
posted by flabdablet at 3:56 PM on November 17, 2009

Response by poster: Buying a portable dishwasher is out of the question. We're broke college students, have no place to keep it, and it's just as much work to rinse off and run dishes as it is to just wash them by hand. That also leaves the messes he leaves all over the house. The problem here isn't technological, it's human.

fuq does speak the truth, I need to take an assertive and kind approach here.
posted by dunkadunc at 4:01 PM on November 17, 2009

Best answer: ok, so the dishes in bed thing only works for certain people and certain relationships. But what about all his other stuff? Can you move that to his room (or just to the door?) I know that's work for you, but you can say "hey, dude, I really can't stand it when you leave the house like this, please keep your stuff in your room."

I really like the "hey dude, got 20 mins?" "dishes time!" thing. I know that I have felt the "ugh, but I don't want to do it alone" feeling when it comes to cleaning. Working together might improve this.
posted by titanium_geek at 4:19 PM on November 17, 2009

Best answer: I'd take the dishes/pots and put them in one of those plastic bins with a lid, and push it into an out-of the way corner of the kitchen. Then I would mark my dishes and pots and make sure that the roommate knew he wasn't allowed to use them.

I had a roommate like this, complete slob, the type whose parents paid for everything. They don't really respect personal property, I've found. I finally lost my shit one day when this roommate, after not doing any laundry for weeks, had the balls to get in my closet and take my vintage STAR WARS sheets (yes, I have 'em, I'm a geek), and throw them on their bed. They didn't even fit, because the sheets were twin, and the bed was a double. This was when I told the roommate that my shit was mine and their shit was theirs and never the twain shall meet.

As for the bathroom - if you need to clean, just throw all their crap in a bin (again), spray everything with your cleaner of choice, wipe down, and you're done. Do not replace their stuff.
posted by HopperFan at 7:51 PM on November 17, 2009

I'm one of these messy people - I honestly just don't notice the mess. Two particular people I care about very much had enough patience with me to try out various methods, and lo and behold, word-for-word, spatula's advice worked the best. This approach -- when done right -- isn't confrontational, doesn't leave anything up in the air and has a note of companionship.

If it doesn't work for him then :/
posted by june made him a gemini at 8:22 PM on November 17, 2009

Response by poster: Follow-Up:

On the dishes front, I've started bagging them up and leaving them outside his door (so as not to invade his space). He doesn't seem to mind and takes the dishes into his room (where they've sat for quite a while) so I guess it might be a system that works after a fashion. It looks like I'll have to suck it up on the messes he makes around the house, though.
posted by dunkadunc at 1:32 PM on December 17, 2009

If you can stand it, wait until flies have had a good go at his dishes before bagging them up. Maggots crawling out from the bags he's left lying around in his room might help the message get through.
posted by flabdablet at 2:53 AM on December 19, 2009

« Older I just think that we'd get on.   |   Where's the XP Installer's Undo? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.