Happy House Share tips from Jo Hemmings

Behavioural psychologist, Jo Hemmings knows a thing or two about house-sharing as the psychologist on cult TV show, Big Brother.  She shared her top tips on student  sharing with O2 Home Broadband.

“The key to a harmonious house is in doing a little preparation as soon as you move in.  Tedious though it might seem, you can dodge a lot of disputes with rotas, a kitty and some general rules pinned up where everyone can see them.”

My top tips for a Happy House Share are:

  • Put together a twice-weekly rota for cleaning and tidying all communal areas – bathrooms, loos, sitting room, kitchen, bins and don’t be afraid to clear the fridge weekly
  • Hold a monthly house meeting to establish how things are running and discuss any conflict or ideas for improvement.  You might want to use the kitty to get a take away and a few beers to make this meeting more informal and fun
  • Agree to have a kitty for basic household items like milk, tea, coffee, sugar, washing up liquid, loo roll, ketchup etc.
  • Label all other food/drink and assign each person a shelf or cupboard
  • Have a separate kitty or bank account for utility bills, minor repairs, TV licence and broadband
  • Agree on a temperature for the central heating – if you feel the cold put a jumper on, or peel off if too hot.  Have another heater in your room if you like it warm
  • If you like your music loud, listen to it on headphones in your room
  • Decide on what happens when friends stay over – the sofa should be booked out first
  • Call a house meeting if disputes do occur – leaving post it notes or text messages to individuals just heightens the conflict
  • Try and be flexible and adaptable to others lifestyles – you’re unlikely to get the same luxuries as you did at home and communal living can be a challenge
  • Respect people’s privacy – some like to leave their room door open while others like it closed
  • Relationships are bound to happen in the house – but think a little before you jump right in, just like working life, it can get uncomfortable seeing someone every day if you break up
  • Beware falling into traditional role models, as at is often the girls who are left to do more than their fair share of cleaning and tidying
  • The first few weeks of a house share are often the most challenging – people are finding their role in the house, working out friendships and might be homesick or behaving wildly with their first real taste of freedom.  It will get better…

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