Guidelines and Household Rules When Living With Different People
Whether you are living at home with your parents, about to move out with housemates or your partner, or have somehow managed to set up a living situation with your in-laws, this guide will help you navigate your way to household living bliss.
Living With Your Parents
With housing prices and the cost of living increasing astronomically, more and more young people are finding themselves unable to afford to move out of their parent’s home. The downside to this arrangement is that no matter how cool the parents are, they will still be involved in your personal life, and still treat you like a child living under their roof, rather than a responsible adult. To try and get around these issues:
- Pay Board. Agree on a weekly amount that will contribute to food, water, electricity and gas bills and other household expenses. This will cement your adult status and give you a high level of living respect with your parents.
- Clean up after yourself. Your parents will get to the point where they won’t accept untidiness from another adult living in their home. Try to combine your mess to your room, and if you can’t keep it tidy, at least shut the door. If you really want to try and be independent, be in charge of washing and ironing your own clothes, vacuuming and cleaning in your own areas, and helping out around the house.
- As much as you wouldn’t want them in your personal life, even as an adult living under their roof, your parents will still worry, so notify them when you are going to be out and if you are coming home that night or not.
- Be respectful about noise levels, as you will most likely be running on different schedules, remember to respect their work and sleep routines.
- Sex. The elephant in the room when it comes to living with your parents. If it is possible without being ridiculously awkward, establish rules about having guests staying the night. You’re all adults after all.
Before committing yourself to moving in with housemates, you need to:
- Decide who to move in with. You have the option of moving in with your friends or with random other renters in a share house. There are pros and cons to both options, such as ruining friendships by moving in, or ending up living with a person who is a total psychopath, so you need to decide that will be best for you.
- Check out the communal areas, your bedroom size, storage space, laundry facilities, kitchen appliances, bathrooms, parking availability, security measures etc.
- Check out the other housemates attitude towards having guests over, sharing food, parties, plus the arrangements for paying bills and rent.
- Look out for weird smells, cigarettes, mould, damp areas and just general uncleanliness. They are things you would not want to put up with once you moved in.
Once you have decided to move in:
- Set up a trial run with an out cause. Work out an arranged period of time to allow time
to see if the arrangement is working for everyone.
- Get everything in writing. The most significant aspects are what the rent is, when it is due, who pays the utility bills and when they are paid. Don’t get into argument about payments or money, it’s cheap.
- Set a roster or plan for cleaning the communal areas so everyone knows what they have to do, and how often.
- If something or someone is bugging you, like eating your food, making too much noise, invading your space, or other things, say something. Have a house meeting to bring up house grievances so they can be discussed within the group. Try and keep a level head and don’t succumb to screaming matches.
Living with your boyfriend/girlfriend
Moving in with your boyfriend or girlfriend can be a complex, serious decision. It can strengthen and cement your bond and love for each other, or it could end in fights, tears and a break up. There is a certain level of future commitment (for example, that you will eventually marry) attached to moving in together, so don’t do it unless you are ready to take that step. Ask yourself:
- Where will you move to? Do either of you own a place, or will you have to look for somewhere? Do you both need to commute to work? Can this be equally achieved in a new living location?
- What is the deal with furniture? Whose books are in the bookshelf? Whose painting on the walls? Is everything now ‘ours’, rather than ‘yours’ and ‘mine’? Who is in charge of decorating?
- How are the house expenses and rent going to be paid? If one of you is earning more than the other, should the payments be split equally?
- Do you have the same expectations about living together? How much freedom and independence do you each have?
Living with your in-laws can be a volatile, walking-on-egg-shells experience. In most cases, you will have to adopt a high level of tolerance for the living arrangement. As the parent-in-law, you need to
remember that your child is an adult that has created their own family unit, and although they may be living with you, that does not make the right for you to interfere within the family dynamics. As the child-in-law, you need to remember that your in-laws don’t wish you harm, they are just being protective of their child. Keep in mind:
- Different is not always bad. Remember that they have grown up living with different house rules and you may be able to learn from each other to better the household.
- Never gang up against an in-law.
- Also, never use the person in common (i.e. the partner/child) as leverage or as someone to settle an argument. Don’t make them choose sides or alleviate situations.
- Allow time for the in-laws to bond and form a relationship without the person in common present.