Tips and tricks for successful co-living

… a few lessons learnt from yours truly.

1. Remember – your keys are your most prized possession

Keys: you think out of your phone, purse and keys, the holy grail of items not to lose, that keys would come last in order of importance. It may seem obvious, but you literally cannot leave the house without them, and perhaps more significantly you cannot enter. This then results in waking up your flatmate, who may or may not have a gruelling law-firm internship which requires her to wake up at 730am, to let you in. (Sorry Flora, I’ve learnt my lesson…)

We’re friends now!

2. Buy loo roll in bulk

It’s a simple life-hack, and will go a long way in preventing flat-mate conflict. There is little more annoying than having to yell your flatmate’s name to bring you some loo-roll, when yours has magically ran out. Or, accepting you’re the only one who will make the effort to buy another pack. So, to avoid this, split the cost of a bulk order and your loo-roll drama will become a distant memory.

3. Label your items in the fridge

This may seem a bit OCD, but by labelling your individual items in the shared fridge you are a) clearing up any confusing of whose food is whose and b) averting the potential for flatmates becoming milk/egg/anything – thieves. A necessary task!

4. Come home from a night out quietly

(and with your keys re: point 1)

Co-living means that, likelihood is, you and your flatmates have contrasting schedules. Different meal times isn’t a problem, but stumbling in on a weekday at 6am, waking up your flatmates, is. It’s not cool, and the bumbling excuse of ‘Sorry, I was sooooo drunk’ doesn’t quite cut it.

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5. Don’t leave food out overnight

Meal planning is great, as is a late-night scranning session of medialunas. Living in a flat of 6 seemed like the perfect number – neither too little nor too less – the ideal amount of flatmates one could say. This is, however, until the ants came to join us. Ants aren’t fussy with left-over delicacies, and will infest your kitchen faster than you can say ‘milanesa de carne.’

6. Take your washing out of the washing machine before you leave the house

Simple as – it’s really, really annoying when you want to do a wash but your flatmates clothes are inside already washed. It’s rude to take them out and leave them in a clump, but it’s also not your responsibility to go and hang them up to dry. So do your washing when you know you have time to take them out, leaving the machine accessible for somebody else to use.

7. Don’t accidentally become the ‘previa house’

It’s so so exciting to have a new home in an exciting new place, and the first thing you want to do is show your friends. Whether it be a weekly asado or a fortnightly previas, friends can quickly presume that your house with the terrace and the balcony is the place to go. Behind the crazy nights out and tasty dinners watching the sunset, leaves a multitude of empty beer cans and hours of tidying up to do. It can also result in slightly aggravated neighbours. Best to take turns, hey?

8. Don’t judge your flatmate’s cooking abilities

‘Ohhhhh you’re having ANOTHER milanesa? Don’t you get sick of them?’ Oh shush, you and your pretentious curry that took 8 hours to make on the slow-cooker. Milanesas are both delicious and practical, so there.

9. Key word for successful co-living – BOUNDARIES

There’s little wrong with the odd naked-dash to the shower, but walking up to the terrace to find a certain flat-member sunbathing sin-ropa having known each other for just over a month, was a bit of a shock. Boundaries differ and often diminish through time, but it’s important to respect each others to begin with.

10. Anyone want a cup of tea?

Last but not least, a cup of tea solves all. BE the person who offers one on the reg, and you’ll soon be the best flatmate on the block – literally. A hangover cure or a break-up coping mechanism, a classic English breakfast or an authentically prepared maté, a tasty cuppa is a chance to sit back, relax, and realise co-living isn’t too difficult at all.