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How to Live with Messy Housemates

By Becca Winkler.
Last Updated 26 Mar 2024
- minute read

Let’s face it, living in a messy home can make working and studying from it, difficult. And if it’s not you who is slacking in the cleaning department, you might feel anxious to address your concerns to your messy housemates. Living in a clean and tidy home can also help improve people’s mental health, and what’s more important than that? That’s why we’ve put this guide together on how to deal with living with messy housemates.

Navigate our article on how to live with messy housemates 🏡

Why are some people messier than others? 🪠

Understanding why some people are messier than others involves considering a range of factors that make each person unique. Personality traits, like how organised or laid-back someone is, as well as their upbringing, all play a big part. Busy schedules, mental health, and even cultural differences can affect how tidy someone keeps their home. It’s also important to remember that one person’s version of ‘clean’ may not be the same as yours and that you may have to compromise and learn how to deal with a messier house than you are used to

How to live with messy housemates 🏡

We’ve compiled 6 tips to help you live with your messy flatmates, which in turn may help them to see that they are lacking in the cleaning department

Tip 1: Lead by example 🧽

Make a conscious effort to clean up your mess. Wash dirty dishes straight away, fold up and put away your laundry as soon as it’s dry. By making the effort to show that you are cleaning the house, then the messy housemate may contribute because they don’t want to appear like they aren’t helping

Tip 2: Comment positively when they are cleaning ✅

Positive reinforcement can help affirm the messy person’s cleaning process by providing them with a feeling of achievement and validation. Letting them know you appreciate the work they are putting in will also encourage them to do more, resulting in a more harmonious home

Tip 3: Gather their mess in one place 🧹

If being positive isn’t working, and your housemate’s belongings or rubbish is spread out across several shared spaces, try consolidating their possessions into one pile. This will help draw attention to their items that are causing the issues. Hopefully, this will make them realise that someone is trying to tell them that they aren’t cleaning up after themselves

Tip 4: Clean the mess yourself 🗑️

If the housemates’ mess is getting out of hand, maybe consider just cleaning it up yourself. Now whilst this isn’t a long-term solution, as you may end up resenting the housemate, if the messy person sees their stuff has been cleared up for them, it will draw their attention to the mess that they had created. This may result in them feeling embarrassed and will help them to kick start cleaning their own items away in the future

Tip 5: Invest in some communal cleaning products 🧴

Encourage your housemates to contribute to the purchase of communal cleaning products. This will help them to know that everyone is contributing to the cleaning of your shared accommodation. Read our blog post about the best 10 cleaning products for your house share 👉 here 👈

Tip 6: Clean together 👫

Encourage everyone in the house to clean together. Suggest setting aside an hour or two on the weekend, or on a day you are all available, to clean the entire house together. You can play your favourite tunes whilst you work, or even turn it into a game. Assign chores to each other and create a cleaning rota. We have a downloadable weekly and monthly cleaning rota template that you can use 👉 here 👈

How to address your concerns to your messy housemates 🏠

Now that you know why some people are messier than others and how you can try dealing with them, here comes the hard part. If they aren’t cooperating, you will need to address your concerns to the messy person in your house share.

If it is just one person in your shared accommodation who is not contributing as much to the cleaning of the home, bring along another of your housemates to back you up in the conversation, but try not to come across as confrontational, you don’t want the messy housemate to feel like they are being ganged up on Have the conversation in a room in the house that they feel comfortable in. That may be in the living room on the sofa, or in the person’s bedroom. Let them choose

Be honest and straightforward, open communication is key. Have a calm and respectful conversation with your housemate about your concerns regarding the mess, but avoid accusatory language and focus on finding solutions together

Avoid passive aggression as this may cause tension to rise within the household which will affect everyone’s mental health.

To turn the conversation towards a more positive and encouraging note, suggest making a cleaning rota. This will hold everyone in the house accountable for their specific chores each week. Check out our weekly and monthly cleaning rota that you can download and print off.

Cleaning hack video 📹

Send this to your house group chat to help everyone with the cleaning 👇

For more renting, cleaning, and house share tips, follow the Resooma socials 📱


Already sorted your house but need to set up bills? We can help with this too – we set up and split utilities for you. Get a free quote for your utilities here.

All your utility bills in one monthly payment, split between housemates

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