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‘I don’t do bins’: How to address your nightmare Bristol housemate without making enemies

Only get messy on your nights out, not in your kitchen


Picture this: You walk into your kitchen to find the sink overflowing with dishwater and every inch of the countertop is covered with dirty pans. The bins haven’t been done since what felt like an eternity ago, and the scent of rotting food lingers in the air. You decide to go to the bathroom, and, yet again, no loo roll can be found despite you pleading on the flat group chat for someone else who wasn’t you, to go and buy some more.

For many of us, this scenario doesn’t even need to be imagined. Whether your housemates are lazy slobs or noisy knobs, learning how to tackle the problems of those who live under the same roof as you can be a challenging, awkward task. This can be particularly hard if your housemates are some of your closest mates. Don’t let a few dirty dishes ruin lifelong friendships- it’s not worth it.

From someone who survived the trials and tribulations of the 22-person flats in Hiatt Baker during their first year, here is some of my best advice. Trust me, if you can survive that, you can survive anything.

1. Don’t be afraid to get gobby on the group chat

A passive-aggressive message on the group chat is always a great direction to go down. It allows you to call out anyone who is particularly bothering you, without having the awkwardness of an in-person conversation.

Within your housing situation, you should never feel afraid to voice your concerns – I mean, freedom of speech IS a human right. Plus, if your flat group chat is on Snapchat, you’ll earn the “Most Verbose” charm on there. Own it with pride!

2. Be smart, set traps and catch people out

Are you the victim of having a food thief in your house? Given the monstrous rises in food prices at the moment, every item on your fridge shelf is a valuable possession. If bits of your food are slowly disappearing, there’s a strong likelihood there isn’t a little mouse going into your fridge and nibbling on everything, but you’ve probably got a thief on your hands.

Labelling your food is one option to get the message across, or you can be smart and uncover who the thief is and unleash your inner Sherlock Holmes. My housemate realised that his beloved tub of ice cream was being eaten away at as spoon marks were left behind, despite the fact he exclusively eats it with a fork. Yes, a fork. But it quickly led to the revealing of the thief, so a win is a win.

3. Make a cleaning rota

Labelling your food is one option to get the message across, or you can be smart and uncover who the thief is and unleash your inner Sherlock Holmes. My housemate realised that his beloved tub of ice cream was being eaten away at as spoon marks were left behind, despite the fact he exclusively eats it with a fork. Yes, a fork. But it quickly led to the revealing of the thief, so a win is a win.

3. Make a cleaning rota

A rota is a classic solution to get everyone in your house on board with the cleaning. Sometimes structure and establishing a sense of order is all you need. Even if you just have one big clean-up together once a week, keeping things fair and ensuring everyone is pulling their weight is key. Don’t let one person take on the responsibility of cleaning, they’re not your maid.

4. Invest in Splitwise

Once you’re out of your halls, essential items that you wouldn’t have ever thought to buy can cause some issues. Bin bags, toilet rolls and hand soap are just a few of the things that are no longer provided for when you hit your second year.

Money is always a touchy subject, but everyone within your house must be contributing to these household necessities. Splitwise ensures this, allowing for easy tracking of what is being bought and by whom. It also highlights how much everyone in your house owes to each other, so no more arguments.

5. Turn cleaning into a fun activity

Okay, maybe fun is quite a strong word, but if your house is in dire need of a good scrub, why not turn it into an event? Gather your housemates, put some tunes on and tap into your Kim Woodburn energy. I mean, what’s a better way to spend your Friday night than scrubbing the floor on your hands and knees and hanging out with Henry the Hoover?

6. Don’t let the house drift

Having housemates that drive you up the wall can create a hostile environment. However, it’s best to keep your friendship with them separate from their housemate status. Keep trips to the pub and night outs together active, drifting as friends will only aggravate the situation further. Maintaining that bond is key and sometimes all you need is a house night out to Fishies to keep the peace.

7. Just get ruthless

If you’ve reached the end of your tether, why not go full psycho mode? Leave those dirty dishes outside of their room or if you’re ballsy enough, leave them in their bed. Give them a taste of their own medicine and become the ultimate hellish housemate everyone fears. Admittedly, this may lead to the outbreak of a small war in your house, but the satisfaction will be so worth it.