Five tips to living in a share house

Jackson Langford dishes all you need to know about share house living.

From the moment we step out of our first day of high school, all we look for is independence – the freedom of not having some authority figure hovering around telling us what to do. University, given its slightly loose structure and potential to do things the way you like to do them, can often be the perfect vessel for achieving a level of independence. Part of that independence is moving out of home. Imagine the blissful utopia of not having Mum and Dad around to command you to do their bidding. Imagine no siblings to inevitably drive you to insanity and perhaps most importantly, the complete liberty to live your life without daily interrogation from your family. Unfortunately, from experience, bliss isn’t always a guarantee and living with others your age isn’t always as fun as it seems. So, gather round as I share with you my advice about tackling the task of living in a share house and making it as rad of an experience as possible.

  1. If possible, live with people you know well

Now I know that not all cases provide the opportunity to live with your good mates but where possible, I highly recommend it. You would have heard the standard codswallop that “moving in with your friend will ruin your friendship.” I call that some serious bullshit. If you know your friend well enough and frankly, if your friendship is worth anything, then any issues you have living together should be able to be resolved relatively fast (unless they steal your alcohol, then by all means de-friend them/have them imprisoned). The issue with moving in with people that you’re not close with is that they can show a pretty repulsive side to them and that’s when living with them becomes incredibly difficult.

  1. Know your worth in the share house

Are you a people-pleaser? A peacemaker? One that tries his or her hardest to make sure everyone’s happy? Yes? That’s perfectly okay except for one small detail: it is totally not okay and it’s time for you to stop it. I was once as naïve as you – cleaning up after other people and doing anything to avoid a minuscule conflict. You may ask, what’s the problem? Doing this means you become the target, the person that others in the share house will try and take advantage of. Make sure you understand that all housemates have equal responsibility on all household matters when living in a share environment and feel free to remind your housemates of that when you feel the rule is being breached.

  1. Be a bit mindful when throwing a party 

One time my mate vomited in my neighbour’s letterbox. Enough said.

  1. If you’re a rare breed and don’t take ownership of your food very seriously, now is the time to start 

The basic homosapien is a natural hunter-gatherer. We, above everything else, will constantly be on the search for food but sometimes funds are low and you can’t have luxurious meals on a daily basis. How do you solve this problem? Do you trek down to the local Domino’s for a cheap pizza? Maybe. Does one search for the scarce amount of bread in your section of the cupboard to toast for dinner for the sixth night in a row? Perhaps. Do you finally stop eyeing off the neighbour’s mango tree and pick it clean? Go for it. However, do not, under any circumstances, down your housemate’s stash of Tim Tams or you will find yourself in a vicious shitstorm that can only end in a justified brawl.

  1. Be a decent human

This encompasses all four previous tips but it is by far the most important. It is impossible to live with a group of people that you don’t treat with the same respect as you expect to be treated with. Your entire upbringing has been in preparation for when you no longer need to rely on your family. Don’t waste all those years of what seemed like pointless and stupid teachings because they might be responsible for turning you into a solid human that could comfortably live with other people. Be a nice, genuine person (without forgetting tips one through to four) and you might just make it out of your share house experience alive and with the potential to gain some really good mates.

Image: Yee Long Toh