7 Tips for Sharing a Bathroom With a Roommate

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Regardless of how close you are to your roommate, no one wants to share a bathroom. It's a small space where you need to feel clean, comfortable and at home. A bathroom that is continuously messy, dirty or overrun with junk can quickly become a stressor for you and your roommate. Try these suggestions to make your bathroom-sharing experience a bit more enjoyable.

  1. Use a shower caddy. Multiple people in one shower means multiple bottles of shampoo, conditioner and body wash. You can try to pile these items on the sides and bottom of the shower, but it crowds space and just leads to clumsiness and confusion. A shower caddy will allow both you and your roommate to access your personal hygiene products easily and without clutter. Purchase one with two shelves, so your items can stay separate, and you'll have equal storage space. They're easy to install, and they're affordable ($10 to $15).
  2. Throw away used/old products. There's no reason to keep that empty can of hairspray, the broken deodorant stick, or the expired bottle of aspirin. Why, then, do bathroom cupboards and cabinets end up full of these unusable items? The world may never know. For some reason, it is easy to stockpile garbage in bathroom storage areas. When you're sharing your bathroom with a roommate, these items can quickly become overwhelming. Remember to toss out any items you're no longer using, and you will keep your bathroom free of space-wasting junk.
  3. Share toilet paper responsibility. There are two types of people you don't want to be. You don't want to be the person stuck in the bathroom with no toilet paper, and you don't want to be the person responsible for the lack of toilet paper in the bathroom. To avoid these unhappy scenarios, take turns buying the toilet paper for your shared bathroom. You can set up a schedule, or go Dutch on a bulk batch from a warehouse club. Regardless of your tactics, never hit the bathroom unprepared, and never leave your roommate stranded.
  4. Share cleaning duties. No one wants to clean anyone else's toilet. Let's face it; no one wants to clean their own toilet. If you're sharing a bathroom, however, you have to be willing to take a few for the team. Make sure you're stocked up on cleaning supplies, and take turns cleaning the bathroom. If you don't mind cleaning the bathroom, then you can assign your roommate a room in the house that he or she doesn't mind cleaning. For instance, you can take care of the bathroom, and your roommate can claim the kitchen. As long as you put in equal work, you can reap the same benefits.
  5. Don't leave the sink wet. This is less important than some of the other tips on this list, but it can mean the difference between attentive roommate and thoughtless slob. When you're finished using the sink, make sure you wipe it down. It's an awful feeling when you lean in to the mirror, and come back up with a line of water across your chest (especially when you're about to head off to work). Drape a small towel over the front of the sink to catch drips, or leave one on the countertop, so you can wipe the area down after use.
  6. Always wash your towels. If you've ever buried your face in a dirty towel, then you understand the importance of staying on top of bathroom laundry. Don't reuse the same towel for weeks at a time. After a few uses, throw your towel into your laundry hamper. Dirty, wet towels have the tendency to smell like mildew, which can make even the cleanest bathroom smell dirty. If you notice that your roommate's towels are spending too much time on the rack, then let them know. No one wants to dry their clean body with a dirty towel.
  7. Don't dominate the bathroom. Be considerate of your roommate's time. If there is only one bathroom in your place, then make sure you're not monopolizing it. Limit your time in the shower and the time you spend in front of the mirror. If you both get up for work at the same time, then try to arrange a schedule around the times you both wake up and leave. Arriving late to work because your roommate needed to curl her eyelashes is not a legitimate excuse, nor one you enjoy having to make.

It's easy to rush in and out of the bathroom neglecting common courtesy. Regardless of how late you are to work, school or any other scheduled event, though, treat the bathroom like any other shared space. Remember that the bathroom is the only room in the house that you use to get clean, and no one can feel clean in a dirty, cluttered or unorganized space.

Last Updated: January 28, 2012
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About Chanti Burnette Chanti was a freelance writer for IdealHomeGarden.com.

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