Everyone has a different approach to living. While this variety is what gives shared living the majority of its benefits, it’s also what leads to some of its possible downfalls.
Cleanliness standards are just one of these differences that can cause a “coliving cold war.”
So, to avoid any arguments or passive-aggressiveness, it’s best to make sure everyone’s on the same page when it comes to tidying up.
First of all – talk it out. Good communication can solve almost any problem. While you might not be able to understand why one of your PadMates leaves their dishes in the sink all day, maybe that’s just what they’ve done all their life. It’s essential to explain to them that you don’t think it’s acceptable and set boundaries early on.
If you had to run out the door for work in the morning and leave a messy pile behind you, be sure to explain the circumstances to your PadMates. Send a whole-house message using the PadMate Messenger app and let everyone know you’ll clean it up when you return. Then, actually clean it up. It’s as simple as keeping everyone clued-in.
Set the trend for open communication early on by organizing a coliving meeting. Sit down with your PadMates and encourage everyone to speak up about what cleanliness means or looks like to them. Here are some talking points:
- Times that everyone is available to clean – having an idea of people’s worktimes can help you to understand why they couldn’t clean up right away.
- Cleaning weak and strong points – everyone has some cleaning tasks that they either love or hate doing. Consider these cleaning “blind spots.” If you notice someone may be slacking on their least favorite chores, you could pick up the slack for them or offer gentle encouragement.
What’s important is to understand that no one’s perfect, and messes will happen. Take a deep breath, steady yourself, and talk it out.
Speaking of strong and weak spots, it might be smart to work to the best of everyone’s abilities. Delegation of duties has been proven to work time and time again, even within the home. The average American spends over one hour a day cleaning their house, delegation can cut this time in half!
There’s no point in leaving the sweeping up to someone who will only do it half-heartedly. To make sure your coliving space is a well-functioning cleaning machine, why not orchestrate a cleaning team?
Find out what everyone likes to do best and make that their “job.” That way, everyone knows what they’ll have to do to maintain a tidy harmony within the living space.
Here are some of the bigger cleaning tasks that can be delegated:
- Countertop cleaning
- Taking out the trash bins
- Bringing in the trash bins
- Cleaning the fridge
- Cleaning bathrooms
And the list goes on! Keep in mind that you shouldn’t include more personal tasks on the list. No one wants to do anyone else’s laundry or wash their dirty dishes!
Make a chart or calendar
Once you’ve determined everyone’s duties, it’s best to keep track of them. Try writing down everyone’s name on a sheet of paper and marking their tasks/times next to their names. Stick the piece of paper on the fridge or wherever everyone can see it. That way, everyone’s kept up-to-date on what they have to do and when they have to do it.
Or, if everyone’s changing their routines from week to week, it might be best to buy a small whiteboard that can be hung up on a wall. That way, you’ll be able to make any changes to the cleaning route when needed.
And if all else fails – try a calendar. Calendars can be great for scheduling those big cleans or accounting for absences. Hang it up where there’s a lot of footfall in the house, and you should be good to go! Or, make a digital calendar for everyone to share using Google Calendar.
Stay stocked up on cleaning supplies
Another thing that can be kept track of in a calendar is when it’s everyone’s turn to buy the cleaning supplies. Unwillingness to purchase cleaning supplies is one of the most significant barriers to cleaning harmony within a coliving space. Without adequate cleaning tools, very little proper cleaning will ever get done. So, it’s important to be well-prepared.
Your PadMates might not like having a “buy cleaning supplies” time allotted to them, but it’s necessary. Consider writing out a list of what will need to be bought every time and from where. That way, you minimize confusion while ensuring everything runs smoothly.
If you’re met with a significant amount of groans, blank stares, or cold shoulders when suggesting that everyone pull their weight – you might want to take a different approach.
Usually, there’s one person who’s a little more open to purchasing cleaning supplies. Consider setting up a system where everyone gives this person their cleaning-supply money, and they proceed to pick up the cleaning supplies.
A clean-as-you-go policy
Some people like to do big cleans at regular intervals; others prefer to do little bits here and there. Since you have to be conscious of other people’s presence and comfort in a coliving space – the bit by bit policy tends to work better.
We’re taught to pick up after ourselves as children; just because you’re no longer living under your parent’s roof doesn’t mean the same rules don’t apply. Leaving no trace behind is a sign of consideration and respect for those you live with. Moreover, it’s easier than letting mess piles build up.
So, avoid conflict and a heavy workload by making things easier on yourself and those around you. If you’re too much of a busy bee to stop throughout the day, why not schedule 15 minutes in the morning and before bed to do a fast sweep-clean?
Keeping a shared space clean isn’t easy. Conflicts of interests and standards can arise quickly, but a few preventative measures can keep clashes to a minimum or even bring about harmony!
Ensuring that everyone is on the same page, understands each other’s cleaning strengths and weaknesses, and can communicate effectively is essential.
Placing equal focus on day-to-day cleaning and bigger cleans can go a long way to promoting a clear and tidy coliving space for everyone to enjoy. And once all the cleaning is done, here are some ways you and your PadMates can reward yourselves!