Living with a messy roommate can be quite frustrating. You will have to deal with mildewed shower tiles, dirty clothes, overflowing litter boxes, dirty bags of garbage, and a toothpaste-laden sink. This creates a horrifying living environment, especially if you fancy high standards of hygiene. No matter how close or much you love them, you will have to address this uncomfortable issue of apartment cleanliness. The friendly relationship you have with your roommate can make it difficult to drive the message home. If you are wondering how you can do it, this guide has tips on dealing with a messy roommate.
Explain Your Distress
You have probably kept this thought to yourself for a long time, and it has to come out now. While you might be thinking twice about it, you need to know that you are doing the right thing. Starting the conversation with such a mentality will give you the confidence to explain your distress with ease. However, you need to be cautious when raising this issue for the first time. It is not easy to tell people that you don’t like their habits or find their habits disgusting. Therefore, you need to be careful not to bring up the issue in an accusatory manner. The words you say at that moment will determine the course of the conversation. Avoid saying things like “You live like a pig. You are so disorganized,” or “You need to get rid of your stupid behaviors and start getting organized.”
Mentioning such statements will only irritate your roommate, making them resent you. They can even get messier just to irritate you! Therefore, instead of attacking your roommate, focus on attacking the problem. In most cases, such roommates have no idea that you find their habits disturbing. This is why you should find acceptable ways to address the real problem rather than blaming it on your roommate. The best way to approach it is by proposing a solution rather than merely mentioning the problem. For instance, if you don’t like your roommate living undone dishes in the sink, this is how you can tell them, “I don’t like it when there are lots of dirty dishes in the sink. I prefer washing mine the same day I use them.”
After that, you can ask your roommate, “Do you think you can do that as well?” By phrasing it that way, you give your roommate a chance to address the problem. If they agree to change their behavior, it will be a good first step. They can start washing their dishes and maintain good hygiene. Keep in mind that the manner you convey the message is very important — it determines how your roommate will respond.
Get Serious About Cleanliness
Your roommate could agree verbally to change their behavior but won’t follow it through and start washing their dishes. They might wash the dishes for a few days and then go back to their old habits. In that case, you will need to for more serious and firm solutions. Talking to them the first time might not have convinced them that you are serious about apartment cleanliness, and you will need to have a more serious and involved discussion. In that case, prepare some reliable and doable ideas about fixing the problem. For instance, you can suggest creating a “chore chart” that indicates who will be responsible for garbage duty, taking care of dishes, and any other housekeeping chores throughout the week. For a more comfortable and fair solution, rotate tasks so that everyone gets to do all the chores. However, if your roommate can’t stand doing dishes but is okay with vacuuming, you can exchange tasks. It might seem unfair to you, but you will get your roommate to improve their hygiene.
Get More Personal
Apart from completing house chores, it would help if you reminded your roommate to be responsible for keeping their rooms tidy. You could only be concerned about communal spaces, but your roommate can be so messy that their bedroom bothers you. In that case, you need to find ways to tell them about it. You could be okay with a few books on the floor, but giant piles of dirty laundry are likely to be unacceptable. Let your roommate know how much clutter you can endure, and be very clear about your boundaries.
Doing so will prevent your roommate from getting too messy and doing things that can get on your nerves. Rather than dealing with hundreds of candy bar wrappers and constantly complaining about it, you can let your roommate know your stand. If you have to stock every room in your apartment with a trash can, then do it. However, your roommate should chip in so that it isn’t only you spending money to help keep the apartment clean.
In Case of Extremes
There are some cases where your roommate might have extreme cleanliness problems. For instance, they might not shower, wash their clothes for weeks, and let mold grow in their room. In that case, it will be very difficult to try and change their behavior. If you find yourself in such an unfortunate situation, your only option is to move out. Alternatively, you can try and convince your roommate to move out instead. It is not a good idea to live in an apartment where you always complain about poor hygiene and unfavorable living conditions. Have an open conversation with your roommate and share your thoughts.
If you don’t share rent and only host them at your apartment, asking them to leave might seem unfair. However, you won’t have any other option because you can’t help people who don’t want to help themselves. On the other hand, if you share bills in the apartment, it is good to ask your roommate to find another partner before leaving. Leaving without any notice can disadvantage your former roommate, especially when it comes to paying bills. However, before making that decision, make sure you give your roommate time to change. Tell them you will leave at the end of the month if they don’t change, then follow through with your promise.