Living with roommates doesn't have to mean drama at home. Credit: Thinkstock
The perks of city life include living among the best restaurants and cultural activities. The downfall: coming home to a teeny apartment — often shared with a messy roommate. We talked to Jenna Mahoney, author of “Small Apartment Hacks,” to find out how to have just as much fun at home as you do in the latest hotspot.
Stay organized “You should do a purge every three months,” says Mahoney. “You need to look at each piece at home and ask, ‘Would I save it in a fire? What’s its function to me?’”
Decor “You really need to think about scale, size and function,” says Mahoney. “To make your place look bigger, go for straight edges and modern lines.” Another trick: open legs. “Even though you want to hide things under your bed, open legs will give an illusion of a bigger space.”
Tips for dealing with a messy roommate 1. “You don’t want to be a nag,” says Mahoney, and cause any tension in your home. If chores just aren’t getting done because everyone is, say, too busy, she suggests talking to your roommate about sharing the cost of a cleaning service. Just remember to be direct with your roomie, advises Mahoney. Tell him or her what your cleanliness expectations are. And remember: “If you start the negotiations, try not to be overbearing when you talk, or you may just make the issue messier.”
2. “I’m really into creating zones,” says Mahoney. “You have to have landing strips for keys, mail and other stuff. Encourage your roommate to use those zones.”
3. Sometimes a roommate’s nail polish, books or whatever will pile up the middle of the living room — which can be a lot of stuff. “When I lived with roommates I would pick the things up and put them in a pile in front of their room and just let them know that I put it there so they could bring it into their room,” she says. “That’s a way to do it without acting like you are their mom.”
DIY Mahoney’s four rules for getting crafty:
1. Don’t start any projects you think you can’t finish.
2. Don’t start any new projects when you have pending ones.
3. Give yourself a realistic timeframe.
4. Get a friend to help you. “Studies show that if you book appointments, you’re more likely to stick with it,” she says. “So if you plan a work date with a friend for five hours, you are more likely to get the project done.”