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10 Ways to Make Your Roommate More Organized for a Clutter-Free Environment

Whether you’re living in a dorm, sharing an apartment or renting a house, life with a roommate is a reality for many. And if your roommate is less than organized, day-to-day life can be a challenge! While you can’t change your roommate, perhaps there are a few things you can do to inspire a sense of basic order. Honest communication and leading by example beat passive aggression any day! Check out our tips and tricks for creating a clutter-free shared space…

Start with Yourself

While it’s tempting to go into blame mode when things get dicey with a roommate, intense confrontation will likely provoke the opposite reaction you’re seeking. If you’re not quite ready to have a sit-down chat about organizational basics, try creating an atmosphere of order by setting a good example. [image from CB2]

Tidy modern living room 10 Ways to Make Your Roommate More Organized for a Clutter Free Environment
Tidy modern living room

If you make a strong effort to keep your own possessions tidy, you’ll feel refreshed, and maybe, just maybe, your roommate will be inspired by your initiative. Are you already setting a good example (but your roommate’s not getting the message)? Read on for more ideas on how to get the job done… [from CB2]

Organized office from CB2 10 Ways to Make Your Roommate More Organized for a Clutter Free Environment
Organized office from CB2

Use Clever Storage Solutions

Take the mystery out of de-cluttering by making organization easy and fun for you and your roommate. Create smart storage solutions for common areas. One inexpensive solution is over-the-door storage, such as the Real Simple Multi-Pocket Organizer in Off White, available at Bed Bath & Beyond:

Over-the-door organizer from Bed, Bath & Beyond
Over-the-door organizer from Bed, Bath & Beyond

Opt for storage pieces that maximize space. Compact cabinets that pull out to reveal more storage are ideal, such as this SAIC Cache Storage Cabinet from CB2, which easily fits into small spaces but has three storage drawers within.

Storage cabinet from CB2
Storage cabinet from CB2

Organize Your Entryway

If you’re thinking, “Wait a minute? Why is it my job to purchase items for various rooms of the house?,” give yourself permission to back up. Start with the first room you enter when you get home. Implement a system of organization in this space using baskets, hooks and other containers. [image from Garnet Hill]

Organized entryway with storage baskets
Organized entryway with storage baskets

Your entryway organization strategy doesn’t have to be formal or expensive. A little bit of attention to this area of the home goes a long way. Plus, a clean entryway can set the stage for the other rooms of your home, acting as a motivating factor to keep things tidy in the remaining spaces. [from Lonny]

Organized small foyer
Organized small foyer

File It

Filing away clutter does wonders for the soul. Even a small filing bin can help sort items such as bills, your lease and other items that you and your roommate both need. If you have a filing cabinet in a shared space, consider offering your roommate a portion of the cabinet to cut down on clutter. Below we see the TPS Mint 3-Drawer Filing Cabinet from CB2:

Filing cabinets from CB2
Filing cabinets from CB2

Storage baskets also help “file away” items such as magazines and school papers. If you’re not sure how to approach a roommate about organizational issues, this is a great (and affordable) place to start! Purchase a storage basket or two and calmly suggest that you use the baskets to contain stray items in a specific area of the home. In the next image, we see Modern Weave Storage Bins from West Elm:

Storage bins from West Elm
Storage bins from West Elm

Establish Your Own Areas

We’re not talking about dividing the apartment in half with a piece of string! It’s all about respecting each other’s space and keeping your clutter in your own area. If you share an area such as a closet, consider dividing it into sections so you have a defined space for your items. [image from Designing Solutions]

Tidy closet spaces
Tidy closet spaces

Sometimes we all need a little more time to clean that living room, organize that entryway table, or unload the dishwasher. Even in the best of roommate situations, there may be times when you have to be a little bit patient. Here’s where having your own area of the home comes in handy! For example, you can use your room as a haven on those really tough days. [image from Lonny]

Small, tidy bedroom
Small, tidy bedroom

Utilize Furniture That Doubles as Storage

If you’re in the market for a new piece of furniture, you can do wonders to minimize clutter (and give you roommate a big hint) by choosing pieces that double as storage items. A storage bench is a great place to start, and this Nailhead Upholstered Storage Bench from West Elm is both functional and stylish!

Storage bench from West Elm
Storage bench from West Elm

You might also consider using furnishings for tasks other than they were designed for. For example, a media console doesn’t have to solely hold media products. In fact, having a storage piece in the living room that can contain stray shoes, papers and other items may be a great solution for a roommate who lets piles of clutter accumulate. [Mid-Century Media Console below from West Elm]

Media console from West Elm
Media console from West Elm

Rely on Small Kitchen Solutions

When it comes to shared spaces, one source of tension can be the kitchen. Between dirty dishes and minimal storage, there’s plenty of opportunity for annoyance. Small kitchen? No problem! Use containers and other organizational compartments to your advantage. [image from CB2]

Kitchen accessories from CB2
Kitchen accessories from CB2

You can also utilize wall space to ensure that your items are neatly displayed and stashed. Plus, open shelving forces you to truly take stock of what you have. By implementing just a few changes in the kitchen, you can prompt your messy roommate to help create a clean, tidy culinary space. [image from Jacob Hand Photography for Studio Sven]

Utillizing wall space in a small kitchen
Utillizing wall space in a small kitchen

Keep the Bathroom Tidy

If your home has one bathroom, chances are it’s a challenge to keep it clean. One solution: designate bathroom drawers so you and your roommate each have a place to stash necessities! [image from Schrock Vanity Cosmetic Drawer via Houzz]

Organized bathroom drawer
Organized bathroom drawer

Speaking of leaving items on the counter, unless products are stylish or unusually colorful, try making a pact with your roommate that you will both stash grooming product bottles behind closed doors and drawers. If items must be left on the counter, place them in bins to avoid a cluttered look. [wall mirror and shelf from Sabi via Houzz]

Bathroom mirror from Sabi
Bathroom mirror from Sabi

Consider a Chore Chart

Organization is one thing, but keeping your place clean can be a challenge in itself. If you feel like you’re pulling more than your share of the weight, you might consider implementing a chore chart to ensure that tasks are evenly divided. [image from Upward Onward]

Cleaning products get the job done
Cleaning products get the job done

You can even agree to specialize in certain cleaning tasks if there’s an area of the home you enjoy maintaining. But chances are, you’ll have to evenly split duties in spaces like the powder room! The bottom line: agree on an arrangement, put it down on paper, then let the chart do the negotiating. It’s hard to argue when it’s written in ink. After all, a deal is a deal! [Davis Custom Single Console from Pottery Barn]

Bathroom console from Pottery Barn
Bathroom console from Pottery Barn

Know When It’s Time to Talk

When you’ve tried dropping hints and setting positive habits in motion but you’re not met with participation from your roommate, it may be time to talk. Yes, an honest conversation with your roommate can do wonders. Avoid sarcasm, and make sure you address problems before resentment builds. [Universal Expert Modular Organization Tray from West Elm]

Modular organization tray from West Elm
Modular organization tray from West Elm

Keep the conversation positive and focused on working as a team. After all, a true partnership inspires roommates to take pride in their home! [from Handz via Houzz ]

Colorful retro-modern living room
Colorful retro-modern living room

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