Living with housemates: it can be the best of times or the worst of times, and you never know until you move in.
Sure, you may have been close friends for years, but take the plunge and move in together and you might find you never really knew them at all: Josie’s great fun at a party but it turns out she’s hopeless when it comes to paying bills and insists on having the heating on full for 10 months of the year.
But moving in with randoms is arguably riskier - sure, they seemed lovely when you went to visit the flat, but that was when everyone was on their best behaviour.
How could you possibly have known Tom has a raging cocaine habit and Beth insists on blaring out drum and bass into the wee hours? For some reason they neglected to tell you that.
Move in with the right people, however, and living with housemates is a lot of fun - you always have chums at the ready, be that for a spontaneous night out or an evening in front of the TV.
Considering most of us aren’t going to be able to afford our own homes for a long long long time, it’s important we make our houses and flats happy places. And with that in mind, here are...
The as-of-yet unwritten commandments of living in a house-share:
1. Thou shalt not leave washing up for more than a day
Is there anything worse than coming to the kitchen to whip up a stir-fry only to find the wok’s got crusty old dregs stuck to it and you'll have to wash it up before being able to make yourself a quick, healthy dinner? Damn you, Carla.
2. Thou shalt not have loud sex when thine housemates are in
No one wants to hear anyone else having sex so be considerate. Or just wait till your flatmates are out and then unleash your wild side. If you suddenly hear us turn up our music reeaaally loud, take the hint.
3. Thou shalt not conveniently always forget to empty the bin
There are only so many times you can crush the contents down further - that bin is full so bloody take it out!
4. Thou shalt not take really long showers at slightly different times every morning making it impossible for thine housemates to time their morning routines
“Why were you late to work this morning?” your boss asks. “Well, Sophie had just got into the shower when I needed to brush my teeth and she was washing her hair and shaving her legs so I had to wait fifteen minutes, boss,” you reply. Your boss is not impressed.
5. Thou shalt not invite over large groups of random people without first giving thine housemates a heads-up
When you arrive home after a long day, the last thing you want is to encounter loads of people you don’t know and hadn’t expected in your home. At least if you'd been warned you could have come up with a credible excuse as to why you’re going to be anti-social and hide in your room.
6. Thou shalt not eat food that doesn’t belong to thou (unless offered)
Oh, you were just going to borrow “a splash” of my milk, were you, James? Well now I can’t have my cereal and what am I supposed to have for breakfast, hmm? Cretin.
7. Thou shalt not leave hairs or any sort of bodily excrement around the wash-basin, shower or toilet
Cleaning up someone’s food mess is one thing, cleaning up their personal mess is another. And it’s gross. If you’ve blocked the shower drain with your hair or thrown up down the sides of the loo, be a decent human being and clean it up.
8. Thou shalt not take over the whole kitchen for hours and hours during prime dinner-time
Multiple people trying to cook multiple different meals in one kitchen is carnage. And let’s be honest - most of our kitchens are so small there’s only room for one person at a time. But everyone wants to eat so don’t spread your chopping boards and appliances out over all the kitchen surfaces and hog all the space in the oven.
9. Thou shalt not practically move in thine significant other if they do not contribute to any bills
We all have overnight guests from time to time, and of course, we welcome their showering and gladly share our loo roll with them because we are not absolute d***s. But when a flatmate’s boy- or girlfriend seems to be living at yours more than not, that’s just not fair to be honest. We’re all poor here.
10. Thou shalt not send passive aggressive messages on the group chat
“Was just thinking it would be really great if we could all wash up our breakfast stuff in the morning as otherwise it’s a bit of a pain when we all get home and want to start cooking dinner lol.” No one is lolling. And everyone knows at which one member of the house that message was directed.