On paper, with more hands to split tasks and keep on top of clutter, living with another person should make keeping the house clean easier.
The reality, however, is often the opposite of a harmonious cleaning relationship. A messy husband, wife or friend can throw even the most scrupulous of cleaning routines out of the window.
But that doesn’t mean you should seethe in silence. The cleaning experts here at Gtech have pulled together some top tips for living with a messy person that will keep your house tidy and your relationship intact.
Continue reading, below, to find out how to live with a messy housemate.
1. Understand why they are so messy
While it might feel like your messy friend is going out of the way to create clutter, the most likely scenario is that they don’t realise the chaos they leave in their wake.
Perhaps they have a very different idea of what constitutes a messy home, or maybe your messy person finds a little bit of comfort in an untidy room. Understanding a messy person’s psychology is key to curbing any anger or frustration you may be holding onto - which is essential for the success of the next step.
2. Talk about cleaning expectations (and be willing to compromise)
More than anything, understanding your untidy foe (we mean “friend”) is vital for communication. That’s right, no more passive aggressive notes; the most productive step you can take is to talk to your messy spouse or friend.
Use this opportunity to discuss what you both feel constitutes a messy house (you will likely find you have very different standards). From that point, you can start to establish non-negotiable clean areas that must stay tidy from day-to-day, especially communal areas, like the lounge and kitchen.
Just remember, living with another person is about compromise, so you must be willing to concede that keeping the entire house spick and span is an unreasonable negotiating stance.
3. Create a cleaning schedule you both agree on
If you both came out of the talking stage still on good terms then you’ve already hurdled the most tricky obstacle! Now, you just need to create a cleaning schedule that delegates household tasks evenly.
A great way to balance cleaning duties is to assign your messy person all the tasks that they like doing - or at least avoid giving them the tasks you know they hate. After all, your housemate is more likely to tackle a messy room if they feel it’s achievable and have the motivation to see their task through to the end.
You should also avoid putting strict timeframes on the assigned tasks. Give your messy person the freedom to decide when to complete their chores and don’t nag them about any outstanding assignments as it could negatively impact your relationship.
4. Purchase the right cleaning equipment
In accordance with delegating your messy person the more manageable tasks, you may also want to consider buying cleaning equipment that makes both your domestic lives easier. This may encourage your messy spouse or friend to step up in the future.
For example, who really enjoys carrying a heavy vacuum from room to room? No-one. That’s why cordless vacuum cleaners are a shared tenant’s dream. Tackling floors, tight corners, and – yes, even the dreaded staircase, a cordless vac will see both you and your messy housemate ease into an effortless cleaning compromise.
5. Have your own haven of cleanliness
Even if you follow all our steps to the letter, the reality of living with a messy person is that there are still going to be days when their messiness just gets a bit too much. And sometimes, the most diplomatic solution is to simply remove yourself from the cluttered surroundings.
As such, it’s a smart idea to carve out your own personal space of cleanliness that you can retreat to when your messy housemate’s habits start to overwhelm. If you live with a friend, take shelter in your bedroom or, if you live with a spouse, use a spare bedroom or a study for your peaceful alone time.
These breaks from the mess can help alleviate any stress and frustrations that would otherwise have been taken out on your housemate. After all, it’s all about maintaining a happy home as well as a tidy one!