Living In Shared Accommodation – Tips For Students

Living In Shared Accommodation – Tips For Students

As a student, there are plenty of pretty intense events and challenges that are going to occur over the next few years – some really good, others really scary. One of those things all students have to go through, is living in shared accommodation. Unless you happen to be commuting to university from home, you’re going to be sharing a space with people you have never met before, for at least a year. That’s pretty scary stuff!

When it comes to sharing all the different spaces in the property, it is really important to work as a group to come to an agreement about responsibilities.

Here are some tips to help you sort out common responsibilities getting the boring stuff out the way, leaving you to enjoy all the fun bits of being a student:


Although everyone thinks students live on beans on toast, there are no rules that say you have to do this and cooking can be a central part of the house you live in. You can choose from a few different options including:

  • Cooking Together – This is easy and cheap but you will need to all have the same food budget and the same tastes in food.
  • Cooking Alone – This is expensive but it is easier to control.
  • Cook In Turns – You could make a rota so everyone takes turns cooking. This will need a lot of planning.
  • Cooking Alone But With A Shared Meal Once A Week – This is fun and means you can all come together once a week for a shared meal. Alternatively you could take turns to cook for everyone once a week, enabling everyone to show off their culinary skills.

Run these different options through with the group and come to a decision based on how often everyone is there, everyone’s tastes, commitment levels and enthusiasm.

Paying For Household Items

There are certain things the entire house will need, so you need to figure out a shared responsibility plan just like you have with the cooking. Just some of your options are:

  • Shopping Together – This is cheap but often impractical
  • Shopping Together Online – You could create a shopping list online that everyone pays for and views before it is agreed
  • Take Turns – Have a list of set essentials and take turns buying them weekly
  • Buy Your Own – Have your own essentials and keep them in your room

It is important to decide on this and if it is decided you will buy items as a group, make sure you keep a log of who has paid. Don’t assume just because you are all getting on now that a huge argument over who isn’t chipping in for washing up liquid can’t happen.

Washing Up

Washing up can often be a sticking point in shared households, especially when certain people are slacking and the sink is inaccessible. Just some of the options for sharing responsibility with washing up are:

  • Do Your Own As And When You Need To – You will wash your dishes as and when you make them, not a week after you made the meal
  • Those who don’t cook, wash up – Those that don’t cook wash up, although you might need to rota this
  • Rota the washing up – Completely rota the washing up so that everyone takes turns washing up at the end of the day (can be tricky as pots used will vary)

Make sure this is decided quickly – don’t assume everyone will pitch in. Discuss as a group and make sure the rules are set and everyone agrees to stick to them.

Cleaning the House

Whilst everyone might stick to cleaning the house in certain parts, IE the pots, they might not pay so much attention to the rest of the house. The fridge, the garden, the carpets – they might all get pretty squiffy in regards to hygiene if you don’t set up a house cleaning plan together. You could try to following options:

  • Clean it as a group when it gets really bad – Agree together what ‘really bad’ is and when it is time, put the music on, tackle it as a group and enjoy the satisfaction of a sparkling, clean house at the end of it
  • Clean is as a group once a month – Agree on a cleaning day on say, the last Friday of every month so that the whole house gets a makeover at least once every 4 weeks
  • Have a rota – Set up a rota for cleaning different parts of the house
  • Clean up after yourself – This can be a problem if it feels like you are the only one cleaning, or you feel someone is slacking

Any of these could work, it all depends on the type of group you are. Just remember to ensure the plan is fair and workable and that everyone makes a general effort to keep the space tidy.

Noise Levels

Although going to uni can be all about partying, not everyone is going to want to do this at the same time. Don’t assume everyone looking for student accommodation St Andrews is going to want to be asleep and awake exactly when you are. Have a chat together about agreed ‘quiet times’ unless all of you are doing something together. Someone might have a lecture at 9am, which means you banging around in the kitchen at 3am won’t go down well. Agreeing on noise levels will help keep the peace.

Have Fun!

Remember, the more you organise what seem like boring issues, the more fun you can have together.