In Fall 2015, I moved into residence. Frankly, I was more excited about living apart from my parents than I was about living on my own, which didn’t settle in until they left the evening of move-in day.

Still, it wasn’t too bad. Once all the parents in the suite-style dorm left, I was in the company of two roommates. Moreover, on the day I moved out, I was left with nothing but pleasant memories about my time in residence.

This is in part due to my pre-residence preparation with my roommates.

Here are the three things we did to prepare to live with strangers:

  1. We met in-person several times before move-in day. Unlike a lot of people, my roommates were not my friends coming into the school-year. In fact, we were complete strangers, so meeting up for frozen yogurt in July and then for lunch later in August was important to getting a general sense of each other pre-moving-in. It may seem like you could do all this done in iMessage, but face-to-face is an entirely different experience in getting to know a person. If this is not possible, I know others who Skyped regularly before moving in with their roommates.
  1. We pooled our resources. This is especially important to suite-style living where kitchen and bathroom (i.e., shared spaces) items are not supplied by the school. We used Todoist to produce a list of items we would possibly want/need in these spaces and then assigned items to ourselves such that the cost would even out among the three of us. Additionally, because we were all pitching in, we made sure to purchase only what we strictly needed. This meant that once we moved in, we avoided the conflicts of (1) not knowing what is shared and (2) being without essential items/having too many because of disorganization.
  1. We immediately scheduled suite maintenance. That is, we produced a clean-up and garbage schedule for all 12 weeks of the term. Every week, the three of us would do a rotation on (1) cleaning the kitchen, (2) cleaning the bathroom, and (3) taking out the garbage. Because we established this immediately, we had no roommate conflict and the rest of the term was easy living.

By considering these three steps before move-in day September 2017, rest assured you and your roommates will be the envy of your dorm hallway.

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