Sharing living space with a roommate can truly test your patience, especially since you have to be mindful of their needs. There are many issues you will encounter, from dealing with guests you had no idea were coming over to watching the dishes pile up in the sink. However, one of the most challenging issues you will have to deal with from time to time when you have a roommate is sharing a bathroom in a manner that ensures you respect each other’s boundaries and maintain hygiene at the same time.
How do you share a bathroom with roommates?
- Create more space for items
- Clean up after yourself
- Follow a cleaning schedule
- Coordinate your schedule
- Set ground rules for shared items
- Create guests policy
Make sure you store your personal supplies separately so that you don’t get them confused. There are some items you will inevitably share, so make sure you set the ground rules on how you are going to go about it. You will also have to come to an agreement with your roommates on keeping the bathroom clean, preferably coming up with a well thought out cleaning schedule. Another important issue to keep in mind involves guests, more so those who spend and night or two and without a doubt use the shared bathroom during their stay.
When it comes to sharing a bathroom, it is important to understand the importance of personal space as well as maintain hygiene. In addition to being a potential breeding ground for bacteria if not properly used, bathroom usage can also be a source of conflict when you don’t come to an agreement on how to share it with your roommates. Here are some factors to take into consideration if this is your living situation.
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Steps to share a bathroom with roommates
1. Create more space for items
It is easy to clutter the bathroom due to the limited space so you can imagine when it is being used by more than one person. Things like personal care products, hair dryers, and toothbrushes can easily accumulate all over the cabinets and counters, and you will find in dire need of space so that you won’t have to worry about knocking everything over whenever you are in the bathroom.
Horizontal space may be limited in your bathroom, so will have to find other means of storage, such as making use of your walls. Here are a few ideas you can take advantage of when it comes to adding storage in your bathroom:
- Declutter – The first step of creating more storage in your shared bathroom is by decluttering. Remove all the items that are on the counters and taking up space that can be used for other purposes.
- Use the cabinet doors to your advantage – You can easily create space in your cabinet by using the inside of their doors. One of the ways you can do this is by using over the door organizers to store an assortment of items. You can also use Command Hooks to hang items such as cleaning cloths or towels. You can easily remove them when you want to shake things up, and you can use them anywhere else where there is space if you want to.
- Toothbrush organizers – You will want to keep your toothbrushes dry, separate and in an upright toothbrush organizer. It might not seem like a big deal to keep your toothbrushes in the same toothbrush holder, but having toothbrushes so close to each greatly increases the risk of bacterial infection. You also don’t want to keep them in the cabinet since they will stay wet and increase the chances of contamination. A single vertical toothbrush holder is the ideal toothbrush organizer when you have roommates.
- A personal shower caddy – Opt to use a shower caddy to efficiently to store the various bathroom essentials such as body wash, conditioner, shaving cream, shampoo, and any other items you may have. This will save you and your roommates a lot of space in the bathroom since you can store your shower caddy in your room. All of your bathroom essentials will be in one place, and you will have an easier time cleaning up after yourself.
- A laundry bin – Add a laundry bin in the bathroom where you can store any dirty clothes and towels. If the bathroom is too small, then you can move it to your bedroom.
- Hooks instead of towel bars – You are better off hanging towels on a hook rather than on a towel bar. Using hooks is much easier, and your towels will dry much faster. Hang towels on the back of the bathroom door using over the door hooks. This way, you will be able to distinguish your towel from that of your roommate(s). To make an even more significant distinction, consider getting towels that are of different colors. Use a double hook if you want to store both a washcloth and a bath towel.
- Clear acrylic containers for extra storage – If you have acrylic containers to spare, you can use them to store your personal items in the bathroom. If you have several, you can easily stack them, effectively reducing the shelf space they take up.
- Label if you need to – Use subtle labels for your items to help your roommate tell the difference between your stuff and theirs. Consider using labels to improve personalization of space in a shared bathroom if you don’t want to confront your roommates too directly.
- Hang shelves above your door – Utilize dead space to your advantage by hanging a shelf or two above your bathroom door. You can store towels, toiletries, and any other items here.
2. Clean up after yourself
A dirty bathroom harbors bacteria that could potentially cause breakouts of skin diseases and other serious illnesses. While a bathroom will get dirty with constant use, it doesn’t have stay that way. Here are some tips on how you can clean your bathroom when you share it with roommates.
- Sinks – One of the first places you should clean in a shared bathroom is the sink. It is one of the more grimy areas, especially when you consider toothpaste dribbles, scum from soap, and overspray from perfume or hair products. Scrub the sink using an all-purpose cleaner that is effective in removing water stains and scum. For the deposits that are harder to remove, opt to use bleach.
- Shower and tub – Scrub the shower walls thoroughly using a multi-purpose cleaner to get rid of the soap scum that may have built up. Use the same cleaner to clean the bathtub as well. The shower head is prone to deposits, so make sure you use a cleaner that gets rid of lime, calcium, and rust. Remember to clean the shower curtain as well to prevent the development of mildew. After cleaning the bathtub, fill it up with hot water and add some bleach. Let it sit for a while before draining it. By doing this, you will have disinfected it and made it a lot more hygienic for the long baths you or your roommates may take.
- The toilet – Use your favorite toilet cleaner to get rid of stubborn stains lingering in the bowl, and then pour a small amount of bleach or any other disinfectant to get rid of bacteria. Use the toilet brush to scrub the insides of the bowl, and then let the disinfectant sit for a while before flushing the toilet.
- Surfaces – The bathroom counters are one of the most frequently used surfaces of the bathroom, so make sure you wipe them using disinfectant wipes after decluttering. Don’t forget to wipe the exterior of the toilet, including the top surface as well as the flush handle and the outside of the bowl. Clean the drawers and cabinets using a damp washcloth, remembering to disinfect them when you are done.
- Windows and mirrors – Use a reliable glass cleaner and a washcloth or paper towel to clean the windows and mirrors in the bathroom. A mixture of equal parts vinegar and water also works just as well.
- A nice scent – The bathroom easily accumulates odor, so it is important to have a candle or any other scented product that is strong enough to keep unpleasant smells at bay.
- The bathroom floor – Pick dirty towels and any other items that might have been left on the floor. Mop it using warm soapy water that contains bleach making sure to get to all the nooks and crannies where debris may have accumulated.
3. Follow a cleaning schedule
A cleaning schedule is a must-have when you live with roommates. Here are tips on how you can come up with an effective cleaning schedule:
- Figure out all the chores that need to be taken care of in the bathroom.
- Divide them amongst each other equally, ensuring that you write down the various tasks and whoever is in charge of each one.
- Consider creating a chore wheel so that you can rotate doing the various chores, which makes the cleaning process even fairer.
- Set deadlines for when a task should be completed, whether it is a daily, weekly, or monthly chore. This way, you will be able to hold each other accountable and ensure that all the chores are completed on time.
- Communicate with each other. By being open, you can figure out ways to make the cleaning schedule fairer in case someone raises complaints.
4. Coordinate your schedule
Time management when it comes to the usage of the bathroom is especially important when you live with roommates. You will find that the demand for the bathroom varies, with the mornings likely to be especially busy. Learning how to allocate time in a shared bathroom is quite challenging, especially if you and your roommate(s) share the same schedule. If you all plan to shower at the same time in the morning, things could potentially get messy. In such a scenario, consider having breakfast at different times so that while one of you is taking a shower and getting ready, the rest of you can eat breakfast or clean your living space to kill the time.
Another way you can deal with the demand for the bathroom is by scheduling shower times. Discuss with your roommates to see who takes shorter showers and who wakes up earlier so that you don’t have any confusion when you are all in a rush to get to work. The schedule you come up with does not have to be a strict one, but you should have a general idea of the time you can expect to use the bathroom on a daily basis. Try to be considerate during your allocated time-it won’t be fair to the next person expecting to use the bathroom if you decide to take a long bath.
5. Set ground rules for shared items
Sharing some items in the bathroom such as toilet paper, bathroom cleaners, and the hand soap is not unheard of when you have roommates. However, it is important to come up with an agreement on when and how such items will be replaced. Most roommates have no problem sharing items like shampoo and toothpaste in an emergency, but make sure that you always ask before you use them instead of assuming they won’t have an issue. Come up with a reasonable budget for replacing the shared items, ensuring that you stock up on items such as toilet paper and hand soap so that they don’t unexpectedly run out. You will want to completely avoid sharing shower gear such as a bar of soap and towels, as well as makeup to avoid the risk of contamination.
6. Create guests policy
It is important to have sort of a guest policy when you share a bathroom with your roommates. If someone has a friend over, they are going to use the bathroom sooner or later, so it is important to come up with rules for such situations. Discuss whether or not the guest is going to use the shower during the visit, and if they come over frequently, whether they can leave their personal items in the bathroom. Finally, anyone planning to have a guest over should notify the other roommates in advance.
Sharing a bathroom with roommates can be challenging especially since it is a relatively small but crucial space. However, by communicating with your roommates about what bothers you and establishing agreed upon boundaries and rules, it can be a more bearable experience for everyone.