Living With Roommates? Here's How To Successfully Share Small Living Spaces

The young handsome Caucasian-White man looking for food in the fridge when his roommate working in the backdrop.

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Small But Mighty

Sharing a small home with multiple people can be challenging — especially if you can't get on the same page about when quiet hours should be, how to split household chores, and how common areas should be used. But by implementing smart organization methods, effective communication, and mindful living practices, you can transform your living space into a functional and comfortable haven.  

From optimizing space to learning how to communicate with roommates, here are nine tips Redditors say will help you make the most out of your home, no matter the space constraints. 

Mother and daughter having a talk.

Be Respectful and Remember To Communicate

When it comes to roommates, "communication is key," writes one Redditor, adding, "Depending on the relationship you have with the roommates, social interaction out of the house is always a good thing. Group activities strengthen the bond." This should go without saying, but being mindful and respectful of your roommates' belongings is key to maintaining healthy relationships.

"I recently moved out of a house where one of the roommates kept touching my stuff and moving it without permission. It was infuriating," writes another user. Yikes, definitely don't be that person. 

Brightroom Storage Bins

Invest in Smart Storage

Investing in smart storage solutions such as vertical cabinets and wall-mounted shelves can help eliminate clutter and make your living space feel larger. "Use TALL shelves, (aka vertical storage) rather than wide and short ones, since using floor space comes with a high premium of losing a lot of wiggle room, for everyone," writes one user.

Other smart storage solutions include multi-functional furniture such as under-bed storage and pull-out tables and couches to maximize space and promote a neat and organized environment. 

Storage Containers
Dollar Tree

Vacuum Seal Your Clothes

Another great way to increase room is to vacuum seal clothes and shoes you don't often use to reduce the amount of garments in your closet. "Use vacuum bags for clothes," advises one Redditor, adding, "If you don't have any, use the big 2 gallon zipper bags and stick a straw in there and suck the air out manually." Or you can buy a pack of 20 on Amazon for less than $30. 

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Divide Chores Efficiently

"The basics are important," writes one user, adding, "[Roommates] need to have social norms that people can't be slobs in common spaces and need to clean up after themselves." To divide household tasks efficiently, consider having a group chat where everyone's responsibilities are listed, or even a chore spreadsheet if you want to be extra thorough, suggests another Redditor.

"We had a house group chat for communication that it was important for everybody to be on. Have a rotating chores schedule if possible," the user adds. 

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Family discussing in living room
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Decide What To Do With Shared Spaces Together

Establishing a shared agreement over how common spaces and items should be used can help prevent misunderstandings and potential conflicts.

"Designate areas for each resident for fridge and pantry space, [and] house storage," one user points out, adding, "Actively discuss what items are available for shared use (pots/pans, TVs/gaming, drinks) and which ones are for individual use." 

Related: How to Furnish a Dorm Room on a Budget

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Set Boundaries

"Communicate and set boundaries. Divide the chores and keep each other accountable to do them," writes one Redditor, while another adds, "Definitely make sure you set boundaries, make sure they are aware of them, and don't touch the things you don't want touching." 

When in doubt, it's always better to over-communicate than to leave things unclear and return home to, say, your roommates throwing a party you did not agree to — or worse, the disappearance of your favorite snacks. 

Related: 10 Ideas For Leading A Simpler, More Fulfilling Life

Black+Decker BCRK25B Mini Fridge

Beef Up on Amenities

If you prefer keeping to yourself (we get it — social interactions can be exhausting sometimes), one way to make the most of your personal living space is to invest in amenities that will make life easier. "Get as many amenities for your room as you can with the space available," writes one Redditor. "Things like a mini fridge, microwave, electric kettle, mirror, etc, will go a long way." 

Related: Cheap Home Decor Advice

What's with all the noise?!

Invest in Noise-Canceling Devices

Depending on your budget, investing in noise-canceling devices such as headphones, ear plugs, or noise buffers can be key to helping you get good rest and sleep, enjoy your down time, and focus on daily tasks if you work from home. "Been a while since I shared a house, but the noise was the worst," writes one Redditor.

Related: Best Cheap Headphones

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Set Ground Rules

Another effective way to promote a harmonious and functional communal space is to set ground rules that everyone can agree to. "Post [the ground rules] in a couple of places like on the fridge and in a common area," shares a user. "Examples are: clean up after yourself in the kitchen and main living areas, be quiet so you don't disturb each other, etc." 

Related: 13 Ways to Save on Renters Insurance