So. Moving out, huh?
Moving out and getting away from your parents to a flat of your own is both an incredibly exciting, yet also an incredibly stressful moment. The amount of things you just let your parents do for you without worrying about them, as well as lack of experience in regards to other things suddenly blow up in your face, leaving you shocked and confused.
The stress shouldn’t dampen the excitement, just how the excitement shouldn’t stop you from worrying about things that actually matter.
One of the things that matter is what kind of flat you move out to. Specifically to the topic of this article, the relevant question is whether you’ll live on your own, or share a flat with someone else.
Both have their benefits, and their downsides. Let’s discuss them.
One of the most obvious benefits of sharing a flat with someone else are the expenses.
Splitting the payments always makes it easier. Rent is always a lot of money, even if you find the cheapest flat possible – especially so when you’re a student, or have just graduated, and have limited income.
The expenses are not just about the rent itself, though. It’s also about the bills and whatnot – and believe me when I tell you those do accumulate pretty fast. Water, electricity, gas for older flats… you really want to save up on as much as you can, and having a flatmate would be incredibly helpful.
Finding the flatmate
This one is tough and, usually, more of a con, rather than a pro. It’s obviously very convenient when someone you know is already looking for someone to split the rent with, and that does happen quite often, but sometimes you’re gonna end up having to scout for people.
Some put up posters in their universities, others do so through Facebook, Instagram and co, there are special websites for this – there are a lot of ways to find someone to share a flat with, but it’s still quite awkward at first, when you move in with someone you barely know.
It’s not undoable, though – just be careful, ask the person you may be moving in with what their lifestyle and habits are like and look through the people you know, first. If you actually want to commit to it, that is.
This is both a pro and a con when it comes to flat-sharing.
Living alone can get lonely, even if you don’t fully realise it. It’s a big change: being in a flat all by yourself after spending way over a decade of your life always surrounded by family can be tough, no matter how much you actually wanted to get away from said family.
In addition, you always have someone to have fun with in case you’re suddenly bored – you can order takeout and watch a movie together with your flatmate, or you can drag them out to party, if they’re up for it, and you won’t even have to spend hours messaging people on WhatsApp to find someone who’d agree to hang out.
On the other hand, however, it can also be exhausting, depending on the person you’re sharing your flat with. Sometimes you can’t get that time alone that you desperately need. Sometimes they’ll have friends visiting and they’ll be hella loud. Sometimes they’ll be doing something weird at three in the morning, not letting you sleep.
Whether to take this point as a pro or as a con is up to you, and to your own personal needs, really. But I personally cannot stand not having my ~completely alone~ time with nobody around me in the radius of 10 metres, so.
Keeping it clean
Don’t get me wrong – you should keep your flat as clean as possible regardless of as to whether you live alone or with somebody else. That’s hygiene and personal comfort for you, folks.
Still, however, being on top of your cleanliness game is especially important in a shared flat. The more the people – the more the germs. Do your dishes regularly, don’t leave the bathroom all nasty after yourself, yada yada yada.
It’s important to respect ‘health regulations’, if you will, and not make anybody else uncomfortable with your lifestyle choices. So in any living conditions, but especially in a shared flat, please take care of tidying up.
Coordination is incredibly important when sharing a flat with someone.
When I say ‘coordination’, I don’t mean ‘We both have to like the colour lavender and the same kind of music’. What I mean is it’s important to know where things are, who is responsible for what, and what is necessary.
From simple things like not buying extra salt if your flatmate has already bought some that you’d agreed to share, to the more complicated things like one of you losing the keys to your flat (it happens to the best of us). The more coordinated the two (or more?) of you – the easier it will be to figure everything out.
Frequently discuss the chores and the shopping lists; have each other’s immediate contacts – like, again, WhatsApp, for example, and the address of their work place(s); know each other’s emergency contacts – especially so if one of you has a chronic disease of some sort, like diabetes.
If you’re unable to live in even the slightest coordination with somebody else at the moment – be it for personal reasons, for work/study reasons, or any other things – then maybe a shared flat is not for you.
This kind of flows out of the previous point. If you have any serious conditions that might result in you needing outside help, then maybe you should consider having a flatmate seriously.
I’m diabetic, and I used to think that this was nonsense, and that I’m completely, 100% capable of taking care of myself. That, as it turned out, I am, of course, but emergencies do happen – and it’s during these emergencies that you appreciate someone else having the keys to the apartment. (Or, even better so, being in the room next door.)
This is a double edged sword. If you’re an adamant meat-lover who happens to disrespect every vegan they meet, and the potential flatmate you’ve found is vegan, then that will definitely cause trouble.
It applies to many things. And it’s important to be able to respect the other person’s habits and preferences – as long as they’re not completely bonkers and/or illegal – as well as to respect the things you’ve decided on together, like who does the dishes on Thursdays.
If you can’t see yourself as capable of doing that, then save everybody the trouble of dealing with it – including yourself. Because it will be annoying for everybody involved, I promise.