Avoid stress and conflict by setting clear household rules with your roommate or roommates. Right from the beginning, come to an agreement on specific potential issues, such as the division of space and purchasing of groceries, regardless of your relationship with your roommates before the move is complete. Once the initial rules are set, review them 30 days later and periodically address problems before they get out of hand.
Agree on Space
Identify shared or separate space early in the relationship. If each roommate has a bedroom, all roommates must agree not to enter the room without permission. Divide storage space, such as kitchen cabinets, early in the arrangement to allow each roommate to have personal space within shared areas. The University of Maryland states roommates should agree on who will provide what furniture pieces and how the living space should be set up and decorated. If items need to be purchased, split the cost or decide if one person is willing to purchase specific items, such as a TV, and keep them after you no longer live together.
Set a Schedule
Discuss the schedule of each roommate, and post it where it will be seen every day. KidsHealth.org explains that a "morning person" and a "night person" may struggle to live in the same space if the schedule is not discussed. For example, the roommates could establish a rule that during the week, the sound level of the radio or television should be kept at a minimum after a specific time of night. Also discuss how late guests can stay.
Identify Household Chores
In some living arrangements, simply stating that all roommates must do their part to keep the home clean and pick up after themselves is sufficient. Set up specific duties or requirements for each roommate to prevent a conflict in the future. Either create a visible chore chart that lists which roommate is handling what chores, such as taking out the trash or running the dishwasher--or split the chores permanently.
Discuss Sleepover Guests
Regardless of the reason a house guest is spending the night, set up ground rules before it ever occurs. Sharing living space with roommates is difficult enough, but having to wake up to a visitor can be frustrating. Decide whether overnight guests are acceptable during the week or on the weekends and how many nights per week or month are tolerable. The same is true for significant others.
Determine Food and Beverage Rules
Discuss whether to share or keep separate all food and beverages. The same is true of shared cleaning items, toilet paper, laundry soap and other household products. Either agree to keep these items completely separate, or agree to share certain items. Discuss whether to label items for clarity and how the shared items will be paid for. Take turns purchasing the shared items on a weekly basis, or one roommate can do the shopping and the others pay their parts of the bill.