If you’ll be dorming at FIT there’s a good chance you’ll have a roommate or two or three! One of the mandatory things your RA will have you do is sign a roommate contract, basically agreeing to how you plan to live together. It can be hard knowing what to talk about before moving in with future roommates if you’ve never had any, so here are some of my tips.
- Ground rules
I don’t like surprises so I usually ask my roommates to text if they have a visitor and I do the same. Also we usually let each other know if we won’t be home for the night or if we’re traveling – which is also a safety measure. It’s good to talk about things like when you typically go to sleep and wake up, especially in a small dorm room! Anything else you feel passionate about is good to address ahead of time, wether it be dish washing policy or on overnight guests.
- Household supplies
It’s good to figure out how you intend to split or divide the buying of household supplies. I’ve done both “I buy toilet paper then you buy next” as well as just going 50/50 on expenses. If you want to take the 50/50 route, the app Splitwise makes it really easy – I’ve been using it since freshman year and it has been great for both household stuff and for when I travel with friends. Deciding how you’ll handle household shared expenses can help make sure you never run out of toilet paper.
On the flipside, I would say someone should own things that don’t get used up outright – splitting the cost of physical items up front may be cheaper in the moment, but when it comes time to move out it’s hard to decide who keeps the coffee maker. For my freshman year dorm, I bought all the kitchen stuff and my roommate bought all the bathroom items. This way when we moved out we knew who was taking what.
- Cleaning and upkeep
Some people like to have a cleaning calendar where you trade off week to week, but personally my schedule has always been kind of wild so I usually agree with my roommate to clean up after ourselves, and then give the dorm/apartment a good cleaning once a week or so. Others like the set schedule of cleaning periodically. As for doing dishes, I like to have a different set of dishes than my roommate so I always remember to wash mine. If I see my bowl in the sink, I know that it’s mine to clean! To prevent creatures moving in, it’s best practice to wash dishes before going to bed every night.
Obviously there is so much more to discuss with your roommate before moving in, but make sure to iron out what you expect in terms of ground rules, money and cleaning. These are easy pain points to avoid by discussing up front!