How to live happily in a communal space

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We've covered communal housing quite a bit here on Brick, from some of  the cool perks of this new trend to the affordability issues it raises. That's why we were particularly interested in a post on My First Apartment offering tips on how to actually live, and thrive, in one of these set-ups.

The author, who lives in one of these communal spaces in a large house in D.C., gave this advice:

1.  Face the fact that you won't all be besties. Try to make friends with those you like and be polite to those you don't. But this is probably not Friends 2.0. Accept that now and you're less likely to be disappointed down the road.

2. Clean up after yourself—and others. Everyone thinks the mess is someone else's fault. And in an apartment with multiple people, common spaces can get pretty messy quickly. Pitch in for more than your share—you'll be happier that way.

3. Take personal/sensitive calls elsewhere. Assume your roommates can hear you.

4. Be explicit about which items are shared and which aren't.  Don't assume that anything in the fridge that's not yours is for the taking.

5. Have house meetings to discuss pet peeves. Speak politely and respectfully, too.

6. Establish a communications system.  Whether it's WhatsApp, iChat or some other messaging system, it's good to have an agreed-upon method for getting a hold of each other.

7. Embrace the chaos. You may even miss it when you leave.


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