Roommate Etiquette: DO’s and DON’Ts (Unless you don’t want a roommate next year, in which case disregard all of this advice.)

By on April 3, 2013

By Aimee Jewell-

Whether you’re living in a dorm this year, on Greek Row or off campus, it’s important to remember these roommate do’s and don’ts for an easier living situation. Everyone’s living situation is unique to them, but these are some universal policies on living with another human being. Open communication and being clear about what you expect from your roommate is important too.


Wash your dishes

Austin Schwenker, senior, marketing major:

“It is important for roommates to do their own dishes in order to respect the mutual space(s) that you share. I have no problem if your room is dirty and disgusting because those things are, ‘out of sight, out of mind,’ however, common areas are just that, shared spaces between roommates.”

No one likes doing dishes, especially when the dishes aren’t theirs. Try to stay on top of your dish-pile or make a roommate pact. Some roommates give their dishes a 24-hour limit to be in the sink, while others divide the cleaning duty. Ultimately, it’s up to you. But no one wants to clean that 3-week old yucky-ness off your nasty plates. Just don’t do that.


Pick up after yourself

Morgan Mottley, senior, Pre-Law:

“It is important to pick up after yourself when you have roommates so that you maintain a peaceful environment. If you want others to clean up after themselves you have to do the same.”

Having a dirty bedroom is one thing, but when you haven’t picked your personal belongings up from the living room or kitchen, that is just plain inconsiderate. You are not living with your mom anymore, and someone’s got to pick up after you, so it might as well be YOU! Leave the common rooms mostly clean to avoid conflict.


Go to bed at a decent hour

Alli Hoehler, senior, justice administration major:

“It’s important to be respectful of one another, especially during the night time hours. A college student’s schedule is stressful as is. Rude roommates that inhibit proper sleep schedules only make things harder.”

I don’t want to sound too much like a mom, but it is important to be mindful of your roommate’s sleep schedule. If you’re playing video games at 4 a.m. while your roommate’s attempting to catch some z’s on a random weeknight, you might need to figure out a new schedule.


Don’t play music super loud 

Sarah Smith, senior, secondary education major:

“It’s important to monitor music/tv volume because you may be on different schedules. So while you have downtime, your roommate may be trying to sleep or studying, and you know you’d want a workable/sleepable environment when you need it.”

Everybody likes to listen to music every now and then, but paying attention and being considerate of what your roommate is doing and if he or she wants to be listening to your type of music is important. Try listening with headphones or when your roommates not home, just to be safe.


Stealing roommate’s food

John Shellenberg, senior, business marketing:

“Stealing your roommate’s food is definitely never cool, especially without saying anything. It’s a respect and trust thing. Would you walk into their room and take something without asking? I hope not.”

As deprived college kids, we’re all on the “poor college kid diet.” This means that if we actually buy food, we want to be the ones to eat said food – not you. Don’t eat your roommate’s food without asking. Especially if it’s dessert. No one wants to find out their dessert is all gone. That’s just not cool.


Being too much of a loner

Skye Harris, senior, communication major:

“It’s important to be social with your roommate. Don’t be a loner because you don’t want to feel unwelcome in your own house/dorm where you are paying the bills too. It just doesn’t work well.”

Hanging out in your room is okay every now and then, but if you completely ignore your roommate, he or she may wonder why they moved in with you in the first place. (Unless you’ve discussed it and both do your own thing, then it’s fine.) At least make an effort to get to know your roommate.


Clean up after pets

Kayla Blanton, junior:

“Having roommates with a pet is only okay if they are responsible about it. If they can’t clean up after their pet, then more than likely they have issues with cleaning up after themselves as well.”

Dogs and cats are cute, but when pet hair gets everywhere, it’s time to do something about it for your roommate’s sake. Not cleaning up after your pet is never okay, even if they are cute.


Not paying rent on time

Joe Londergan, sophomore, communication major:

“Usually if you don’t get your rent in on time, then in a lot of cases, your roommates end up covering your share. That just puts tension on the friendship.”

Paying rent on time is always important. You want to make a good impression on your landlord, but you do not want your roommate to resent you for not turning in your checks on time.


[email protected]
Photo courtesy of

About Staff

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *