HOME & LIVING
10/07/2014 08:00 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

5 Roommate Battles Worth Fighting (And 3 That Aren't)

Living with roommates definitely has its perks -- from shared wine to shared rent. But all that can come with a bit of a reality check, as sharing a home with someone, no matter how you know them, can lead to a few ruffled feathers now and then.

With that in mind, it's important to pick and choose your battles so you can enjoy all the benefits without needing to tape a line down the middle of your apartment.

Worth It? Definitely.

1. They are always late on rent (and cable, and utilities).
When there are finances involved, it's usually safe to say it's a battle worth fighting. A huge part of agreeing to be roommates is agreeing to co-exist in a financially-sound environment and hold up your end of the deal. While you shouldn't tell your roommate how to budget their money, kindly explain how it stresses your own personal financial situation, and offer to have things ready five days before they are due. Also, suggest that you each be responsible for mailing the check for a respective item and agree that any late fees incurred fall solely on that individual.

rent reminder

2. They leave doors unlocked and windows open.
Respecting each other's safety and security is an essential component of living together, so come up with a system that works within your schedules. Tell your roommate it's coming from a place of genuine concern, and set an alarm to check the doors and windows before you go to bed. Another option? Put a post-it on the door that says, "Last one out locks up!" so it's a friendly reminder for the entire unit that doesn't just call out one person.

keys in apartment door

3. They forget to turn anything and everything off.
This is somewhat of a double offense -- it drains your wallet and it's just not safe. But just because you spiral into a panic at the thought of a hair straightener being left on doesn't mean your roommate does. If you leave the apartment together, get into a system where you make sure you have everything, and review everything that should be off or unplugged from the television to the air conditioning. Explain why those things are on your "checklist" and ask them if you're missing anything so it's a joint effort. And if you leave the apartment separately, just ask them to turn the items off and note that you would, but you're on your way out.

curling iron

4. They disrespect what's yours -- and keep it a secret.
Sharing is caring... until something goes amiss, that is. Whether you discover a wine stain on the couch you brought to the apartment or find out the necklace they borrowed is sitting back in your drawer broken, it's important to call it out when you find it. Tell them you want to chat, and ask them why they didn't bring it up to you directly. There could be a larger issue at play, or boundaries may need to be set (like no more jewelry borrowing), but those things won't become transparent if the situation gets swept under the rug.

wine stain

5. They disregard your schedule.
Not everything is going to coordinate perfectly and there will be times when you both would like to use the bathroom. But if you make your roommate aware that you have to get a good night's sleep for an important day at work and they choose that night to have a party, it's time to say something. Choose a time to review what you both have going on during that week, and be open about what you need in the apartment and when you need it. You don't need to tell them everything, but having an idea of each other's schedules should keep conflict at a minimum.

alarm clock

Worth It? Not so much.

1. They forgot to clean a common area (even though it was their turn).
How they keep their own room is up to them, but don't freak out if they didn't do the dishes when it should have been on their to-do list. Offer to help them get through it this time, and if it becomes a regular problem, offer to remedy the situation by changing up your chores schedule.

cleaning supplies

2. They didn't replace the shared toiletries.
While it's certainly not a fun situation to be in, things do sometimes slip people's mind. A polite reminder should do the trick, and if it doesn't, suggest going in on economy-sized purchases so neither of you end up stuck with an empty toilet paper roll.

empty toilet paper roll

3. They ate a spoonful of your special -- albeit overpriced -- peanut butter.
An entire container? That's worth a battle. A spoonful, on the other hand, is worth a quick conversation. Make a joke about it, and ask them to not do it again because you don't want to be forced to store your food in your room. They should get the hint.

peanut butter

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BEFORE YOU GO

PHOTO GALLERY
Things You Never Want To Hear From A Roommate
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