Get Along, Gang. (Or, How to Handle your Housemates.)


Because in house shares, being Montgomery the ‘Good News Moose’ isn’t always easy.

Alone in your room it’s fine. Drifting off to sleep, you reflect smugly that it’s actually almost affordable. The location means 25 extra minutes in bed, too. Eight hours later, you hit the alarm and meander to the kitchen in jim-jams, searching for caffeine. Only suddenly it’s not fine. There is no more coffee. Your actual coffee has gone. Also, it’s carnage in here. You want to throw your slippers at the stupid Kasabian poster one of them brought back from Reading effing Festival. How can people live like this?

It’s the communal space in house-shares that’s, um, potentially bothersome. Why? Other blinkin’ people, (aka housemates) that’s why. They may have boycotted washing up, fallen asleep at 2am cooking fish fingers, stolen the last loo roll for a camping trip, returned your pearly-white top a dirty grey or swear you’d mentioned last week anyone could have your Himalayan pink bath salts.

Persist knows it’s challenging to live with people.

In the spirit of sharing, laughter and trying to avoid smashing (dirty) plates in anger, here’s our guide to persistence in a shared living environment. Of course, we’ve provided some anonymous, real-life examples for your enjoyment. You’re welcome.

The challenge: take me for a mug, do you?

“In our house, mugs kept going missing. Nobody could understand it. Then I noticed one girl always took a hot chocolate, tea or Horlicks to bed with her. Eventually we decided to raid her room while she was out. We found at least a dozen mugs behind the divan under her bed, all containing quite shocking mould growth. Her explanation? ‘Oh sorry. Mum normally takes mugs down to the kitchen…’’’

Persist with: patience and understanding.

A curt, “Well, you’re not living with mum now!” might make you feel better, but it kind of comes off catty and chances are she’s learned her lesson. We’ve all got our little foibles – we are all just pretending to be adults, really. And if you have to go mug foraging again, or deliver a gentle nudge regarding their return? Hardly a gargantuan burden, no?

The challenge: sausage party.

“It was my first big Saturday night out in London. On Sunday I felt rough. My housemate offered to make me a sausage sandwich, which I thought was really sweet. Unfortunately, his method – placing raw sausages between two slices of bread and transferring to a sandwich toaster – wasn’t made clear. He proudly presented his masterpiece to the foetal mess on the sofa that was me. My first bite of soft, cold sausage meat was possibly the worst thing I’ve ever tasted.”

Persist with: laughter and accentuating the positive.

This housemate was trying to do something nice, right? We highly doubt he was trying to kill you with breakfast. You have two choices: eat it out of politeness (don’t do that) or laugh and tell him he ought to sample his creation. We’d recommend the latter. The look on his face will sort your hangover right out.

The challenge: rub-a-dub-dub, your clothes are in my tub.

“One of my housemates never used the washing machine, preferring to do her laundry by hand, in the bathtub. I offered to show her the settings on the washer, but she didn’t want to know. I would come home after a long day wanting nothing more than a relaxing soak in the bath, to find her clothes languishing in all our hot water.”

Persist with: compromise and acceptance.

We feel you. If baths are your thing, woe betide anyone who denies you chill time. Just to play devil’s advocate though, hand-washing uses less water than most washing machines and isn’t as abrasive on clothing. Humans are proud creatures of habit. Draw up a rota for bath-times and laundry. Stick it to the bathroom door. Adhere to it.

None of these remedies are miraculous. One of our confessors admits to still throwing her slippers at the bedroom wall (slippers don’t make much noise) when housemates truly irritate her. But this is life – challenges build character. And anyway, yay you for managing to keep a roof over your head, right?

One day you’ll laugh about this – maybe even with the same people, over a sausage sandwich, after a mug whip-round, folding laundry and waiting for the bath to fill.

2 thoughts

  1. SOOO true! For 5 years I shared a house with 2 boys. Well, grown men, we were in our 20’s. I think its about admitting your flaws and accepting others. I clean a lot but i do finish the orange juice. And not replace it. They used everything of mine, including my body cream.. Which was vivienne Westwood boudoir…


  2. Yes! The reality of house sharing! Brilliant, and hilarious too. Just wonder if I could always see the bright side and be as objective as the writer of this piece. I fear though, that looking back, I threw more than slippers at the wall!


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