Tolerating a Messy Roommate

messy roommate

Maybe you are a neat freak, or maybe you just like to have a clean apartment. Either way, if your cleaning habits are better than your roommate’s, there will likely be some tension. Many apartment renters in this situation immediately try to find a cleaner roommate opposed to remedying the problem. Before you start blowing up everyone’s phone with a, “I need a new roommate!” text, you should talk with the roommate you have. There are ways to work together to resolve conflicts that come from living with a roommate, a messy one, nonetheless.

Seek a Mutual Understanding

It may feel like your roommate is not keeping the apartment clean to annoy you, but that is not the case. If your roommate is having trouble keeping up with cleaning, there could be several reasons behind it. Ask your roommate what is going on before you assume anything and spark an unneeded argument. For example, your roommate may be feeling down due to the winter blues, a breakup, or maybe even a job loss. Messes tend to pile up and get worse due to poor mental health. By reaching out to your roommate, you might just give them the positive encouragement they need to keep their chin up and organize their stuff. They may also be trying hard to keep things clean, but they are simply not as good as it as you are. Always be empathetic and try to understand what is really going on in your roommate’s brain, you may be surprised by what you hear. Reaching out and gently asking what is going on is an easy way to keep the apartment from flaring up in a fight, as well as keep it clean.

Your Apartment Has Zones

The easiest mistake is expecting the entire apartment to be maintained at your standard of clean. You and your roommate have your own spaces in the apartment, but you also have shared spaces. Unless you are worried about your roommate’s well-being, you should not attempt to manage your roommate’s spaces. Instead, focus on the common spaces. When you first move in and set ground rules for the apartment, expectations need to be established for how these common spaces are to be cleaned by you and your roommate. Doing this will aid in preventing conflict.

Keep an Open Mind to a Professional Cleaning Service

If you and your roommate are both that busy and either cannot or will not find time to clean your apartment, you may find that you need to hire a professional cleaning service. You and your roommate can split the cost of a professional cleaning service to come once a week and clean your apartment. Seeing a professional’s work will inspire both of you to maintain the apartment between cleanings. Hopefully, you will pay attention to the professional’s efficient routine and learn that you and your roommate have the time to save money and clean the apartment yourselves.

If You Like it, Do it

If you like to clean, negotiate with your messy roommate by offering to do more of the cleaning chores if they do more of other chores. Not everyone is good at cleaning, and even less people enjoy it, but if it is for you, use this to your favor. If you dread taking out the trash, but love to vacuum, compromise with your roommate where they take out the trash every time, and you vacuum every time. Compromises are one of the best ways to tolerate a messy roommate.


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