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5 ways to keep your rented apartment clean

Cleaning with flatmates

Whether you have to clear out Christmas decoration or do a yearly deep clean of your apartment, living in a shared accommodation means sharing the dirty work as well. Different flatmates with different schedules and ideas of cleanliness can make this a hard flatmate-task to tackle. You could be lucky and live with very neat people. Or not.

Either way, in a shared apartment, it makes sense to set some ground rules about cleaning duties – preferably before the clutter and dust escalate into a (preventable) argument.

Below are 5 tips on how to maintain a clean apartment in your co-sharing living space.

 

Chore chart

If you are having a hard time agreeing on who does what and when then writing the tasks down on a board could be your savior. Write down the names of all the flatmates, come up with weekly chores to be done and agree on the dates. Once a chore has been completed, the designated flatmate can put a tick next to it under their name. Make sure you distribute the workload equally, though!

And if you do not want a chart to be hanging in your hallway, you can always use an online application, which will remind each and every one when it is their turn to do a certain chore. A pop-up on their smartphone should prevent you from having to deal with any excuses on skipped duties.

Create a clean-up event

Choose a day of the week for regular clean-ups and a day per month (more likely few months) for a big clean-up. Distribute the chores equally among the flatmates. Get together, put on some music and make a fun flatmate clean-up event out of it.

And the best part (apart from the clean apartment, obviously) – once you’re done with the work, how about a drink or a movie with your flatmates? You’ve certainly deserved it!

Care for a little gamble?

If you feel like trying your luck, play a game. Cards, board games, anything will work. Decide on which chore you are playing for and the loser-flatmate has to do it.

But beware – one unlucky flatmate might have to do it all! In which case, be a team-player and give them a hand.

Organize and de-clutter

Instead of focusing on who’s going to clean up the mess, how about working on keeping the apartment clean in the first place? Clean after yourself immediately and keep things organized. This includes getting rid of any clutter you have sitting around collecting dust. Find some smart space saving closets or shelves and keep things organized in them.

The more organized things are, the less messy your common area will look!

Whenever you have guests over or throw a party, make sure you swipe the floor and do the dishes as soon as possible. This way (even if you broke a glass or happened to be too loud at 2 AM) they can’t really be mad at you, can they?

Cleaners

This is a solution for when you simply cannot decide on equally distributing the workload or one of the flatmates feels like they’re doing more than the others. Or if you are all too busy doing other things. As long as it is within everyone’s budget, it is probably a wise idea to outsource the job. Hire a professional and split the cost.


Jumping into the New Year with flatmates

New Year's with flatmates

To round up the holiday month here is the New Year’s Eve finale. Another good reason to throw a party with your flatmates. As much as going out on the town can be fun, let’s admit it – it is cold, crowded and getting a cab? Really not worth the fuss. So spending this evening in the comfort of your cozy rented apartment and lovely flatmates actually is the best thing you can do! And there are so many fun things you can do with your flatmate friends on New Year’s Eve as well:

 

A walk down the memory lane

 

Look for this year’s photos you have taken with your flatmates – especially if they were taken in the apartment – and make a creative year’s throwback with them. You can make a collage, a pin board or a picture clothesline. It will be a great decorative item and it will put a smile on your face every time you pass by it in the hallway or living room.

 

Fun food

 

You have to eat and choosing party food for New Year’s will make the gourmet experience a fun experience. Try something all the co-habitants can enjoy from the same plate – like fondue, houmous or pizza – easy to make (read: order in) and not too messy.

 

Sparkling wine

 

No other drink screams »New Year’s!« as much as sparkling wine does. Make sure you stock up on it for the countdown – the pop of that cork makes everyone know you have entered the New Year.

And as for the pre-midnight drinks – how do sparkling wine cocktails sound? Who doesn’t like a Mimosa or a Kir Royal on New Year’s Eve? And if there is anything left – Mimosas are always a good idea for a nice Sunday flatmate breakfast!

 

Time capsule

 

Write down New Year’s resolutions – your personal and the common flatmate ones – and put them in a box. Make little presents for each other or (preferably) using your instacam take some photos at your flatmate party and add those to the box. Hide the box in a closet and voila! A fun box to open at your next year’s New Year’s party is ready! Next year you can check how many of the resolutions you have accomplished throughout the year! And hopefully, laugh about the procrastinated ones.

 

Countdown

 

Put on funny hats, get the cameras and champagne glasses ready and switch on your local TV channel. Even if you do not feel like being squished in the downtown crowd, counting down while listening to New Year bells broadcasted from Skansen and watching the midnight fireworks will give anyone goosebumps – the good kind that you only get when spending New Year’s Eve with your friends. It is a sign of entering a new era of creating wonderful new memories with your flat-sharing family.


Christmas traditions to do with your flatmates

 

Christmas traditions to do with your flatmates

Spending Christmas with your flatmates is the perfect opportunity to bond with your away-from-home-family. Make it a quirky Christmas by creating new traditions with your flat sharing friends! Here are some customs, which could help you enjoy this holiday in your rented home even more:

 

Christmas clean-up

 

This is a good excuse for everyone to put on their working clothes, roll up their sleeves and do a big clean-up of your co-sharing space. You want to spend an enjoyable holiday in a clean apartment and have a clean leap into the New Year as well, right? Plan it ahead, so everyone shares the load equally. Once you are done, you will feel like you have really deserved that Christmas dinner and presents. It is also a great cue for the following tradition:

 

Christmas giveaway

 

You will make your home feel cleaner, less cluttered AND make someone happy by simply putting together everything you and your flatmates have not been using in the past year. This includes all those clothes you have not worn, toasters you accidentally all bought (even though you only needed one) or the abundant Tupperware. Put it all in a pile, make sure you all agree on not needing it anymore and take it to your favorite charity or shelter, where you know it will end up in hands that need it.

 

You could put home-made food or baked goods in the Tupperware or fill up handbags you do not need any more with warm socks and some basic essentials like toothbrush and toothpaste, then go for a walk with your flatmates and give them to the homeless in your neighborhood.

 

Baking

 

Baking and Christmas go hand in hand and making gingerbread houses, raw peanut and oatmeal cookies or simple sugar cookies and decorating them with frosting together with your flatmates will make for a fun traditional activity. If you feel like doing Christmas the Japanese way, make a sponge cake with cream and decorate it with strawberries. Fun and simple.

 

Christmas spirited beverages

 

There is quite a selection of delicious drinks associated with Christmas and they are even more fun to have if you have made them yourself. Have some flatmate-fun in the kitchen by creating your special mulled wine, eggnog or punch. It will surely make for a lovely Christmas tradition to be repeated. And, well, if you do not feel like making a mess in the kitchen, you can always buy ready-made eggnog, a bottle of wine or have some palm wine like they do in Nigeria.

 

Sing-along

 

After you have had some food and drinks, you will feel overwhelmed by the Christmas spirit and singing Christmas carols could seem like the best next step. Instead of going door to door, though, why not spicing up the holiday with some karaoke fun? Search for karaoke Christmas carol songs online or (if you are lucky enough to own a Play Station), you can even make a Christmas carol singing competition with your flatmates!

 

Movie marathon     

 

You might have seen them all, but there is just something about Christmas that makes you want to sit through all the Home Alone movies after you have had a delicious dinner and are out of your voice thanks to karaoke.

There are some irresistible Christmas classics out there – if you have a hard time deciding on one, do a round of rock-paper-scissors with your flatmates or write down some movie titles and draw them one after another until you have watched so many that you fall asleep on the couch in front of the TV.


Celebrating Christmas with flatmates

Shot of happy friends enjoying holidays. Selective focus, toned image,ambiental light.

Are you going to spend Christmas this year in the company of the people you co-share your living space with? Whatever the reason for being with your flatmates over Christmas is, you want to make it a cozy memorable one. At the end of the day these are the people you are spending the rest of the year in your rented accommodation with, so it should be a fun, relaxing and bonding experience. We have gathered a few ideas for activities to help you have an exciting Christmas with your flatmates and create memories that last a lifetime.

 

Decorations

 

Let’s face it, there is no Christmas without glitter and star shapes in your apartment. And decorating that living room that you all share is a great way of spending an afternoon with your flatmates. It gives you a chance to see what they like and have a bonding experience by talking about your childhood Christmas memories. You can either go ornament shopping to IKEA together or make origami decorations and spike up that Christmas vibe in your living room.

 

Gift exchange

 

Christmas is about sharing memories, tasty food and last but surely not least – presents! So do not forget to get something for your flatmates – whether you make it yourself or go (last minute) Christmas shopping, try to think of a personal gift that will remind your flatmates of you and put a smile on their faces when they see it.

Depending on the number of flatmates consider doing a Secret Santa event. You can either write everyone’s names and draw them from a box or use one of the many Secret Santa online tools to choose the names for you and send the dedicated name to your inbox. This way, you only have to focus on one present, which gives you the chance to really choose something great and it gives the whole experience a spark of surprise.

You could also decide on giving each other presents that you can all make use of. The neat freak gets a vacuum machine, the food lover a mixer and the health enthusiast a smoothie maker. This way you all pitch in on what is essentially common interest – since you will all be using the gifts in the end anyways.

 

Dinner

 

You could be lucky and have a flatmate who loves to cook, in which case let them do the magic in the kitchen, but make sure to clean up the mess in order to avoid any flatmate fall outs!

And if there are no cooks in your adopted flat-sharing family, there is always delivery. Choose what you like, order and let others do the dirty work. If you are in lack of ideas about what to order, here are some flatmate-friendly meal ideas.

 

Mulled wine

 

Christmas just smells better over some mulled wine. And so does that delivery dinner. And apart from making you feel warm and cozy, it also makes the evening more fun. So do not forget to stock up on a few bottles of wine, cinnamon, cloves and sugar and creating the drink, which embodies Christmas spirit.

 

Board games

 

Board games are always fun, but even more so after you have had an amazing dinner and are sipping on some homemade mulled wine. There are quite a few Christmas edition board games out there as well. So, if you are a board game freak, you probably would not mind spending some money on a special edition Monopoly. You might even get it as a Christmas present from one of your flatmates.

But if you do not want to spend money, any Scrabble, Uno or video game you have lying around will take care of a fun night with your flatmates.

 

New Year’s resolution

 

Since you are spending Christmas with your cohabitants, this is the perfect opportunity to write down your common plans for the New Year – regarding your apartment, that is. You can create a chore chart, so everyone is in the clear about when it is their turn to do the dishes or scrub the toilet.

If you were bothered by something in the past year, you could set future rules about that. Just make sure to address it in a nice way – you do not want to get into an argument on Christmas!

You could make this into a fun game as well. Everyone writes down propositions about what could be improved in your apartment, put them in a bag and then drag them out of the box and read them out loud. This way nobody gets blamed for proposing something. For an extra touch, have a sip of the mulled wine for agreement and two for disagreement. Impromptu Christmas drinking game.


6 Christmas gift ideas your flatmate(s) will love

6 Christmas gift ideas your flatmate(s) will love

Christmas with flatmates means more presents to add to your shopping list. To save you some time, efforts (and money), we’ve put together a short list of 6 affordable Christmas gift ideas that are perfect to give to your flatmate(s). They will surely love them!

  1. A bottle of (insert their favorite drink here)

Is your flatmate a whiskey fan or a wine lover? Whatever their favorite drink is, they will surely appreciate an extra bottle of it in the form of a Christmas gift. This way, you will be 100% sure they will both like their gift AND put it to use.

  1. A quote poster

Whether your flatmate is a man or a woman, you surely already know them well enough to be sure which quote best fits their personality and lifestyle. You can easily find the perfect quote poster online but, even you don’t have time to do the research and order it online, most Christmas bazaars have these handmade posters with inspirational quotes. All you have to do is pick one and you’re done!

  1. A customized printed t-shirt

An alternative to the quote poster, a personalized custom printed t-shirt is another both affordable and appropriate present for your flatmate. You can choose from traditional to funny prints (and the options are literally countless) so you have no excuse for not getting your flatmate a decent Christmas present this year.

  1. Slippers

You are sharing a home together so at least your flatmate won’t have an excuse for not wearing their Christmas present from you. This is a great gift for flatmates as it makes them feel like a part of a family (which, in most cases, you are very close to). Just choose slippers that would fit your flatmate’s home clothes and are in a color you are sure they like.

  1. A Christmas tree bauble

It’s Christmas, after all so a Christmas bauble may turn out to be best Christmas gift you could give your flatmate. It’s small in size, so they can easily bring it back home if they plan on spending the holidays with their families. Besides, Christmas baubles come in all sizes, colors, and shapes, so you can easily pick one you are sure your flatmate will like.

  1. A wrap/scarf

Since it can get quite cold in winter, a good Christmas gift for your flatmate is a wrap or a scarf they can throw on when going out in the chilly weather or while watching TV on the couch. Wraps and scarves are an appropriate present both for men and for women and make a very nice flatmate’s Christmas gift, don’t you think? Just stay within the color palette your flatmate feels comfortable wearing and you are on your way to be proclaimed the best flatmate ever!


7 best ways to spend the holidays with a flatmate

7 best ways to spend the holidays with a flatmate

Spending the winter holidays with your flatmates can be great, especially if you plan things accordingly so that everyone gets to do the things they love and the festive atmosphere is always present in the air! But how to think of ways to spend the holidays with a flatmate (or more)? With our 7 creative ideas, all you have to do is take notes and spend the best holidays with the people you are sharing an apartment (or house) with:

  1. Enjoy a Christmas movie marathon together

Christmas time will not be the same without the classic Christmas films that flood the TV programs from Thanksgiving till St. Valentine’s Day… Take the lead and ask your flatmates to join you for a typical Christmas movie marathon with hot chocolate, ginger cookies, and everything. What a great way to spend some quality time with your flatmates and set everyone’s mood right for the upcoming holiday season!

  1. Decorate your rented space together

Decorating your rented space together with your flatmates is a perfect start of your holiday activities! You can go Christmas decorations shopping together or just mix and match what each one of you has already bought. Except for everyone’s personal space, be sure to decorate the common areas as well!

  1. Exchange gifts

What is Christmas without presents? A week or two before Christmas, gather together (around a plate of chocolate cookies, of course) and decide on the rules to follow regarding gift-exchanging. You can decide on a set budget per present or a theme around which all presents should be chosen. Or each person can make a list of 3 things they want to get this Christmas and each flatmate will be given another flatmate’s list to choose from.

  1. Go ice skating together

Every winter, most towns, and cities set up outdoor and indoor ice skating rinks for everybody to enjoy. Pick a day that’s convenient for everybody and go ice skating together. It will be a lot of fun, especially if you never forget that spending time together is cool regardless of whether you are an ice-skating prima or you spend most of the time with your but on the ice…

  1. Save a bottle of New Year champagne

Even if you don’t celebrate New Year together, this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t toast each other when you all come back to your rented space after the New Year celebrations are over. Make a day of it and celebrate the beginning of the New Year in any way you feel like doing (either at home or in a shopping mall/cafe/restaurant you all enjoy going to).

  1. Make your flatmate New Year resolutions

Use the holiday season to come up with a list of New Year resolutions for flatmates! It may include your specific duties and responsibilities, plans on spending your free time together (for example, having a regular wine Wednesday evening, having coffee together every Saturday morning in your favorite coffee shop, etc.).

  1. Make plans for the future

Winter is generally more void of exciting outdoor activities (compared to spring and summer when the temperatures are higher and the days are longer) so use the cold winter days to make plans for the upcoming summer season. Plan a summer trip together or decide on new hiking routes to explore once the snow melts away. This will both bond you better and help you live through the cold winter days ahead!


5 Moving hacks for flatmates that will save your life (and sanity)

5 Moving hacks for flatmates that will save your life (and sanity)

 

Don’t you just hate packing and unpacking? It’s the most time-consuming and nerve-breaking part of moving that many flatmates all over the world endure any time they find a shared flat they will call home for the next few months/years.

Thanks to our 5 awesome moving hacks, moving is a breeze! They are easy to remember and easy to follow so you no longer have an excuse for spending a week packing, moving, and unpacking when you can use this precious time for socializing with your new flatmates!

  1. Leave hangers on

Have you ever cursed every extra second you spend hanging your clothes back on their hangers in your new place? Why waste this time when you can pack your clothes without taking the hangers off and save yourself a couple of hours?

  1. Having breakables? Use your clothes as a bubble wrap!

Every renter, including flatmates, have tons of breakables like dishes, cups, glasses, etc. that have to be packed. The ugly truth about these fragile items is that they are so difficult to pack. They need to be secured with bubble wrap, which makes even a small coffee cup take up the space of a saucepan. How to save time, space, and money? Wrap your breakables with your clothes and you’re all set!

  1. Use colors for carton coding

A lot of inexperienced movers use text to mark their cartons. What a huge mistake! When there is a heap of cartons in your new living room, the last thing you need is a small font trying (unsuccessfully) to throw light on the contents of each carton. Who needs this extra work? Try color-coding instead! This is an easy (and clear!) method of marking your cartons. I mean, how much easier can it get: green mark goes to the bathroom, blue mark goes to the bedroom, red mark goes to the kitchen, etc. Oh, and whatever method you use for marking your boxes, label them on the side (not the top)! You’ll thank me later.

  1. Use your suitcases wisely

Why carry around empty suitcases that take up so much space? Fill them with clothes and other appropriate items, especially heavier ones. Why? Because they are intended to carry stuff in them! What, with handles, wheels, and everything. This awesome trick saves both space and inconveniences.

  1. Make a day out of it!

Do you remember that song, “That’s What Friends Are For”? Invite all of your friends over and let them help you with packing or unpacking. Or both! Are you not sure they would want to come? Make them an offer they can’t resist. You don’t know what a few slices of pizza and some ice-cold beer can do even to your laziest friends! Besides, who said good-bye parties and housewarming parties shouldn’t involve a helping hand?


3 reasons living with a flatmate is a good thing

living with a flatmate

Are you looking for a rented space to share with other people? Are you still not sure about moving in? Or you have an extra room and are still not sure whether you should rent it?

 

In either case, you might find our 3 reasons to live with a flatmate both intriguing and useful!

 

  1. Reduced living costs

Despite for splitting the rent, if you live with a flatmate, you will also share all the living costs with them. And this means both reduced living costs and some extra cash in your pocket! If you rent a shared accommodation, you can easily start saving money for some projects you haven’t had the finances for till now. If you own a place and have an extra room, by renting it you can earn extra income right away!

 

  1. New friends

When you share your apartment or house with flatmates, sooner or later you become friends. It is not necessary to spend every minute with them, of course, but just the thought that you have someone at home you can rely on is enough for you to feel better. It’s good to know that there will be someone to feed the dog once in a while during your occasional business trips. Or simply a companion for a glass of wine on a Saturday evening when neither of you is in the mood of dressing up and going out.

 

  1. Less chores

House chores are a real nightmare whether you live alone or with flatmates. You know what they say, if you do the chores regularly, nobody notices; if you don’t – everybody notices. The good thing is that when you live with flatmates, they get a share not only of the rented space but of the chores as well! This means that the same (boring) chores will be distributed among the number of flatmates you live with!


6 flatmates you would kill for

6 flatmates you would kill for

Living with flatmates is not always easy but there are so many advantages that it is totally worth it! Even if we leave the lower rent and bills, the people you share your living space with can be a real fortune. Let’s take a look at 6 flatmates you would kill for:

  1. The Cook

The Cook is a flatmate you desperately need in your life. He/she knows how to cook everything from Thai salad to homemade sushi and gluten-free pizza. They know their way in the supermarket and are usually more than happy to be given a grocery list and a shopping cart so they can plan the weekly menu and get everything necessary while you leisurely watch TV. They are pretty much your missing better half!

  1. The Party Animal

The Party Animal is usually very easy to live with and cope with. He has no particular requirements or needs that cannot be met with the help of a glass of wine (or any other alcohol that is trending this season). A huge plus of the Party Animal is that he often takes you with him to all the new clubs and places you didn’t even know existed.

  1. The Foreigner

The Foreigner is a dream flatmate that is so awesome that it’s difficult to describe it with words. Wherever he comes from, he has plenty of funny and amazing stories to tell you about his homeland. They celebrate different holidays, have amazing traditions and sometimes a fascinating way of doing things differently than you. The result? A never-bored you that learns a new culture bit by bit (and bite by bite as your awesome foreigner flatmate prepares his fabulous traditional dishes and shares them with you).

  1. The IT guy

The IT guy is a blessing in any household. If you are lucky enough to live with an IT guy as your flatmate, your PC/tablet/smartphone problems must be a thing of the past! No more worries that there’s no Internet, slow connection, or virus in your mailbox. A strange message pops up on the screen? The IT guy will tell you what to do (sometimes without even taking a look at the faulty gadget)!

  1. The Gone-in-60-seconds guy

Have you seen the Gone-in-60-seconds guy? Probably not. It’s not that he doesn’t exist but he is so rarely seen around that you sometimes think you live all by yourself (at half the cost). Even if he is there (and you are sure because you heard him turn the key), he is nowhere to be seen or heard. Pretty much like the phantom of the opera.

  1. Mr. Fix it

Mr. Fix it is so valuable that you sometimes think it would be a good idea to pay his portion of the rent just so you are sure he never leaves. He is so handy (and has such an enviable plethora of tools) that you sometimes think he is a superhero or something. Electricity, leaks, fixes, fire-making all seem like a game to Mr. Fix it. Whatever the problem is, he will take out his hammers, nails, screws, and fasteners and he’ll take care of it. For free!


The best flatmate-friendly meals you’ll ever find

The best flatmate-friendly meals you'll ever find

Sharing your food with your flatmates is a great way to socialize with them and spend some quality time together. We have already discussed the power food has on your flatmate relationships so we won’t get into that now. Today, I want to give you some ideas for flatmate-friendly meals that are easy to prepare (OK, who am I kidding, order as takeaways). Grab your recipe book (or your phone) and drool away:

Pizza

Hello, if that’s not the queen of flatmate-friendly foods, I don’t know what is… It is equally easy to make and to order. Besides, it comes in the perfect shape for equal distribution among everybody! What’s more, it’s a universal food, so there is really almost no chance somebody will not like it. It is also budget-friendly and, inarguably, the best companion a beer can have.

Burritos

These Mexican wraps of meaty goodness can make even a person on a full stomach grab one and shove it down their throat. In fact, burritos are so delicious, I think they will soon be declared illegal. Until that time comes, make it a weekly habit to order or prepare burritos, and enjoy them with your flatmates (to the last Mexican-flavored bite).

Sushi

As a fervent fan of sushi I genuinely despise everyone who doesn’t enjoy it (not that I show it in public). I mean, how can you possibly not like sushi? It’s like someone tells me they don’t like chocolate brownies… But I digress. A sushi set is the perfect way to gather your flatmates around the table and spend a nice evening together, enjoying the most divine of the most divine foods ever. Again, as with pizza and burritos, sushi can be ordered in such a quantity that everyone will enjoy the same amount of raw fish, rice, and nori rolled perfection.

Chinese food

Chinese food comes in all shapes and sizes to satisfy even the craziest taste. It’s incredibly delicious, it’s relatively cheap, it comes in big quantities, and everybody loves it! Besides, it is very nutritious, which means that nobody will go to bed on an empty stomach after dinner. Oh, and the small bite pieces are, you guessed it right, easily shareable!

Spaghetti

OK, for those of you who can boil water, a simple spaghetti recipe can turn what looks like a boring evening into a wine-powered flatmate culinary fiasco your tummies will remember for a long time. Preparing spaghetti at home is relatively easy and, what’s even better, the cooking rarely takes more than 30 minutes. The result: impressed flatmates (with your culinary skills) and a happier flat-shared household!

Omelet

Another super fast and super easy to prepare meal is the classical egg omelet. You can simply hunt the fridge for some cheese or salami leftovers to put in there and proclaim yourself the egg master of the flat! This is another inexpensive option for all of you to share a tasty meal together and have a good laugh at the next ridiculous Kim-related thing trending online.