How to Handle a Messy Roommate

Sharing a house, apartment or dorm room conserves costs, but a messy roommate can make life miserable. JunkInMyTrunk has cleaned many a dorm room and apartments in NYC. We know it can be tough to maintain a balance between roommates when one is a neat-freak and the other more easygoing. Here are some suggestions for dealing with an exceedingly messy house or roommate.

Schedule a Time To Talk

Before you explode in anger, it is best to schedule a non-confrontational meeting to discuss your concerns. Your roommate may not be aware of his messy habits and the way they affect you.

Talk About the Mess

During your meeting, resist the temptation to accuse your roommate of being a slob. Focus instead on how the mess makes you feel embarrassed when you invite guests over and how you’re afraid one of you will slip and fall.

Offer Solutions

Along with talking about your concerns, be specific about what areas you want your roommate to keep cleaned up and offer solutions.

  • A chore chart like the one provided by Ohio State University divides your home into sections and gives each of you specific areas to clean each week.
  • Set trash cans in every room.
  • Stick to the chore chart. Yes, it’s not appealing to live in a half-clean-half messy house, but your roommate won’t take you seriously if you clean his section of the house.
  • Schedule a time to clean the house together. The time set aside for both of you to do it together may encourage your roommate to get on board.
  • Agree on consequences. Maybe the person who doesn’t do weekly chores pays extra rent or cooks dinner for a week…

Address Hoarding

If your roommate obsessively collects things and can’t throw anything away, he may suffer from compulsive hoarding syndrome according to the Mayo Clinic. If you think this is the case, broach the subject gently and suggest he or she seek professional assistance.

Find a New Roommate

Despite your best attempts, your roommate may refuse to clean up. Consider finding a new roommate, especially if the house is unsanitary or a fire hazard. Do your research before and try to find out from past roommates if potential new roommates have a ‘messy’ history.

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