7 Productive Ways to Deal With Messy Roomates

Living with a roommate can be an exciting and rewarding experience, but it can also come with its own set of challenges. One of the biggest challenges that many roommates face is dealing with a messy roommate. Whether it’s dirty dishes piling up in the sink or clothes scattered all over the floor, a messy roommate can create tension and stress in an otherwise harmonious living situation.

If you’re struggling to deal with a messy roommate, don’t worry – you’re not alone. There are plenty of ways to address the issue and find a solution that works for both of you. In this article, we’ll explore 7 different strategies for dealing with a messy roommate.

1. Communicate Clearly

Dealing with a messy roommate can be a frustrating experience. However, before you take any drastic measures, it’s important to communicate with your roommate. Here are two ways to establish clear communication:

1.1 Establish clear expectations

It’s important to establish clear expectations with your roommate about cleanliness and organization. This can include things like how often you expect the common areas to be cleaned, how dishes should be handled, and how personal belongings should be stored. By setting clear expectations, you can avoid misunderstandings and prevent conflicts from arising.

1.2 Schedule regular roommate meetings

Scheduling regular roommate meetings is a great way to keep communication open and ensure that everyone is on the same page. During these meetings, you can discuss any issues that have come up, review the established expectations, and make any necessary changes. It’s important to approach these meetings with an open mind and a willingness to compromise.

Remember, communication is key when it comes to dealing with a messy roommate. By establishing clear expectations and scheduling regular meetings, you can create a more harmonious living environment.

2. Create a Cleaning Schedule

Living with messy roommates can be a challenge, but creating a cleaning schedule can help keep your space tidy and your relationships intact. Here are some tips on how to create an effective cleaning schedule with your roommates.

2.1 Divide up cleaning tasks

The first step in creating a cleaning schedule is to divide up the cleaning tasks among your roommates. Make a list of all the cleaning tasks that need to be done, such as vacuuming, dusting, and taking out the trash. Then, assign each task to a specific roommate. To make things fair, consider rotating the tasks on a regular basis. For example, one roommate might be responsible for cleaning the bathroom one week, while another roommate handles the kitchen. This way, no one gets stuck with the same unpleasant task week after week.

2.2 Stick to the schedule

Once you’ve divided up the cleaning tasks, it’s important to stick to the schedule. Set a specific day and time for each task, and make sure everyone knows when they’re responsible for cleaning. Consider using a shared calendar or app to keep track of the schedule. It’s also important to hold each other accountable. If one roommate consistently fails to complete their assigned tasks, it’s important to have a conversation and figure out a solution.

See also  How to Quickly Declutter your Home in 10 Simple Steps

This might mean reassigning tasks or adjusting the schedule to better fit everyone’s needs. By creating a cleaning schedule and sticking to it, you can help ensure that your living space stays clean and organized. Plus, by working together with your roommates, you can build stronger relationships and create a more harmonious living environment.

3. Set Boundaries

3.1 Discuss Personal Space

One of the main reasons roommates clash is due to personal space. It’s important to have a conversation with your messy roommate about what areas of the apartment or house are considered personal space. This could include bedrooms, bathrooms, or even a portion of the living room. By setting boundaries on what areas are considered personal space, you can avoid any misunderstandings or conflicts in the future.

You should also discuss what each of you expects in terms of cleanliness in these personal spaces. For instance, if one roommate is okay with leaving clothes on the floor of their bedroom, while the other is not, it’s important to have a conversation about it. By setting boundaries and expectations, you can ensure that both roommates feel comfortable in their own space.

3.2 Respect Each Other’s Belongings

Another important aspect of setting boundaries with your messy roommate is respecting each other’s belongings. This means not using or taking things without permission, and not leaving your own belongings in areas that are designated for your roommate’s use.

It’s important to have a conversation about what items are shared and what items are not. For example, if you share a kitchen, you should discuss what items are communal and what items are not. By setting these boundaries, you can avoid any misunderstandings or conflicts over shared belongings.

Remember, setting boundaries is all about communication and compromise. By having an open and honest conversation with your messy roommate, you can come to an agreement that works for both of you.

4. Lead by Example

One of the best ways to deal with a messy roommate is to lead by example. This means that you should set the standard for cleanliness and organization in your shared living space. When your roommate sees that you are keeping your side of the room clean and tidy, they may feel more inclined to do the same. Here are a few tips on how to lead by example:

  • Start by keeping your own belongings organized. Make your bed every morning, put your clothes away, and keep your desk clutter-free.
  • Take care of your own messes immediately. If you spill something or make a mess, clean it up right away. This will show your roommate that you take responsibility for your actions and care about the cleanliness of your shared space.
  • Set a cleaning schedule and stick to it. If you agree to clean the bathroom every Sunday, make sure you do it consistently. Your roommate will appreciate your reliability and may be more willing to participate in cleaning tasks if they see that you are committed to the schedule.
See also  20 Minimalist Kitchen Essentials Every Minimalist Needs

Leading by example can be an effective way to encourage your messy roommate to clean up after themselves, but it’s important to remember that you can’t force them to change their behavior. If they continue to be messy despite your efforts, it may be time to have a frank conversation about your living situation and come up with a plan that works for both of you.

5. Learn to Compromise

If you’re living with a messy roommate, it’s important to remember that compromise is key to maintaining a healthy living situation. Here are a few tips to help you find a middle ground:

  • Set boundaries: Make sure you both know what is expected of each other in terms of cleanliness and organization. This can include things like designating certain areas for personal items, setting up a cleaning schedule, and agreeing on how often common areas should be cleaned.
  • Be open to feedback: If your roommate has concerns about your habits, listen to them and try to find a solution that works for both of you. Remember, compromise means finding a solution that works for everyone, not just yourself.
  • Find common ground: Look for areas where you both agree and build on those. For example, if you both enjoy cooking, make a plan to take turns cooking and cleaning up after meals.
  • Communicate effectively: When discussing any issues, try to use “I” statements instead of “you” statements. This can help prevent the conversation from becoming accusatory and can make it easier to find a solution.

Remember, living with a messy roommate can be frustrating, but it’s important to maintain a respectful and understanding attitude. By working together and finding a compromise, you can create a living situation that works for everyone.

6. Seek Mediation

When dealing with a messy roommate, sometimes it can be difficult to come to a resolution on your own. In situations where communication has broken down, seeking mediation may be a good option. Mediation is a process where a neutral third party helps roommates communicate and come to a mutually beneficial solution.

Most universities and colleges offer mediation services to students who are experiencing roommate conflicts. Contact your Resident Advisor (RA) or housing office to find out more about the mediation process and how to schedule a session.

See also  20 Easy Home Declutter Hacks

During mediation, each roommate will have the opportunity to express their concerns and feelings about the living situation. The mediator will help guide the conversation and ensure that everyone has a chance to speak. It is important to approach mediation with an open mind and a willingness to compromise.

Mediation can be a great way to resolve conflicts and maintain a peaceful living environment. However, it is important to remember that mediation is not a guarantee that all issues will be resolved. If mediation is unsuccessful, it may be necessary to consider other options such as transferring to a different room or seeking assistance from a higher authority.

7. Consider Moving Out

If all else fails, and your messy roommate is causing you too much stress and discomfort, it may be time to consider moving out. It’s not an easy decision to make, but sometimes it’s necessary for your own well-being. Here are some things to consider before making this decision:

  • Can you afford to move out? Make sure you have enough money saved up to cover rent, security deposit, and other expenses.
  • Do you have another place to go? Look for apartments or rooms for rent in your area before making the decision to move out.
  • Have you talked to your roommate about your issues? Make sure you’ve exhausted all other options before making the decision to move out.

If you’ve considered all of these factors and still feel like moving out is the best option, make sure to give your roommate enough notice and try to end things on a positive note. Moving out can be a difficult process, but it’s important to prioritize your own well-being and mental health.


Living with a messy roommate can be a challenging experience, but it doesn’t have to be a nightmare. By following the tips and strategies outlined in this article, you can work towards creating a cleaner, more organized living space that you both can enjoy. Remember to communicate openly and honestly with your roommate, and be willing to compromise and collaborate to find solutions that work for both of you.

Some of the key takeaways from this article include:

  • Communicate your concerns in a non-accusatory way
  • Lead by example and maintain your own cleanliness standards
  • Develop a system for shared cleaning responsibilities
  • Consider implementing storage solutions to reduce clutter
  • Be willing to compromise and find solutions that work for both of you

Remember, dealing with a messy roommate is not a one-time fix, but an ongoing process. By staying committed to open communication and a collaborative approach, you can create a living space that is clean, organized, and comfortable for both you and your roommate.