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5 ways to have fun with your flatmates

5 ways to have fun with your flatmates

Living with flatmates has its pros and cons. One of the greatest advantages to living with other people is that you can say goodbye to lonely activities and embrace the beauty of sharing your spare time with people who can easily turn to your best friends!

Here are 5 ways to have fun with your flatmates:

  1. Have dinner together

Food is the international language of getting together. There’s nothing more relaxing than having dinner with people you like after a long day at work/school. You can share not only your meal, but also your thoughts, ideas, and experience with your flatmates. You can even make a ritual and have dinner together each Friday (for example) and take turns with cooking, doing the dishes, etc.

  1. Have a drink together

Whether it is wine, beer, whiskey, or whatever drink that lifts your spirit, share the fun with your flatmates. This is also a great opportunity to leave the home you are sharing and mingle together on a no man’s land. You may even meet new people and further expand your friends’ circle.

  1. Play games together

Remember how much fun it was when you were a child and played games with your siblings and parents in the living room? Cards, chess, or any other board game make the perfect excuse for an evening well spent with your roommates. Just remember to add in some finger food plus everybody’s favorite drink and you have a game night for adults to remember!

  1. Play/watch sports together

There must be a game you all like watching or playing. It can be football, baseball, basketball, volleyball, you name it. As long as you all like it, you should find a way to enjoy it together. Gather together to watch your favorite sports show at the weekend or go out and spend an hour playing your favorite game together in the nearby park. It will help you feel more like a team – as that’s exactly what you are as flatmates.

  1. Take a walk together

A few hours outside plus flatmates plus topics you haven’t already discussed is a great combination. You can go to the park or have a hike outside the city – it all depends on your willingness to combine movement and mingling. Just make sure you are well equipped if you choose the second option!


Stockholm’s current rental situation – 4 problems with 1 solution

Stockholm's current rental situation - 4 problems with 1 solution

 

In a recent article on Stockholm’s current rental situation, published on BBC’s website, The city with 20-year waiting lists for rental homes, Maddy Savage discusses some of the current problems expats and other Stockholm renters experience in their quest for a place to rent. Here are the basic problems the article highlights:

Problem #1 Stockholm is the expats’ Heaven on earth
This first problem is not a problem per se. The fact that Stockholm is on the top of the list of most desirable cities to live in as an expat would be a good thing if only their rental system was not a total disaster. Especially for expats.

Problem #2 You have to wait for ages (literally) to get a rent-controlled property
The ridiculous queuing system simply doesn’t work and the worst thing is that nobody admits it. In fact, it is so long that it’s being considered by the Guinness Book of World Records! Nine years, on average, will take you to get hold of a rent-controlled property and the number can be doubled or even tripled if you have preferences for a popular neighborhood.

Problem #3 It’s incredibly difficult to find a room in a shared flat
Many expats are looking to rent a single room in Stockholm and they all struggle to find such rental solutions to their needs as Sweden “boasts about” a higher proportion of single-person properties than almost any other European country.

Problem #4 Stockholm is Europe’s fastest-growing capital
This is another fact that wouldn’t be a problem on its own. Unfortunately, the government fails to provide enough homes both for its growing number of residents (thanks to high birth rates) and for its record-reaching number of immigrants.

Solution:
Fortunately, there is a simple solution to all of the renting problems above. Hibih is the place to look at if you are looking for a place to stay in while in Stockholm. With Hibih, it is easy to establish a fast, practical and confident contact between the owner, who is offering his accommodation, and the person, who is looking to rent it. Check it out – it’s that simple!


6 organizational hacks for roommates

6 organizational hacks for roommates

 

Living with roommates is easy if you know the life-saving hacks that will make everybody’s life better. Here are 6 organizational hacks for roommates and flatmates that you should definitely try:

  1. Bathroom hacks

There’s nothing scarier than an unorganized shared bathroom. Luckily for you, there are a few bathroom organization hacks that can save you a lot of headaches. Installing a second shower rod is a great way to add more functional space under the shower. It can be used for extra storage of bathroom essentials like everyone’s favorite shower gel, hair conditioner, shampoo, etc. Hang an over-the-door shoe organizer for tons of extra storage space for the bathroom items you use less often.

  1. Kitchen hacks

A cluttered kitchen space is every flatmate’s nightmare. To make use of some extra counter space, you can open a drawer right under the kitchen counter and put a cutting board on top of it. Voila – now you can easily keep your cooking ingredients within an arms reach without taking up the almost non-existing free counter space.

  1. Entryway hacks

When more people share the same apartment, so many keys, phones, iPods, and wallets can be lost that just the thought of this sends shivers down my spine. A great way to put things in order in the entryway is to use a tray with different sections for everyone’s personal belongings. Another life-saving hack is to use different nail polish to nail the different flatmates’ keys so everybody knows which key belongs to whom. No taking the wrong key allowed anymore! A multi-level shoe rack is another must for any shared apartment entryway. No more clutter when you enter the front door!

  1. Fridge hacks

Obviously, when many people buy their food separately, a fridge, no matter how big it is, turns out to never provide enough space. The clever way to arrange the scarce fridge space is to divide and conquer. This means that everyone gets their fair share of the fridge, preferably delineating shelves for each person sharing the rented space. By the way, the same applies to kitchen cabinets (this way each flatmate has a separate cabinet of food supplies).

  1. Chore hacks

Yes, I know it doesn’t sound like a lot of fun, but let’s face it – every living space needs cleaning. Creating a chore chart will make it crystal clear who is responsible for what so there is no wondering whose turn it is to do the dishes and why the dishwasher is still unloaded.

  1. Bill hacks

Paying bills and, more importantly, splitting bills can get quite annoying and complicated among flatmates. That’s why it is a wise idea to come up with a plan on how to organize paying the bills and rent, of course. There are a lot of apps that can immensely help you and it is just a matter of choice to turn paying the bills into an easy-to-cope-with task.


4 celebrity pairs who used to be roommates

You may find it almost impossible to believe, but even some of the most famous public figures today had a humble start in life and had to live with a roommate. Or, as we know them today, celebrity roommates.

Here are 4 celebrity pairs who used to be roommates:

  1. Robin Williams and Christopher Reeve

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Both attending New York’s famed Juilliard School, Robin Williams and Christopher Reeve shared not only a classroom but a room as well! During their life as roommates, they became true friends and remain such to the present day. They were so fond of each other that they even made a promise – if one of them managed “to make it” in Hollywood, he would help the other succeed in show business as well. Luckily for them, they both made it!

  1. Gene Hackman and Dustin Hoffman

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Gene Hackman and Dustin Hoffman have been friends since always. They met at the Pasadena Playhouse and after their student years were over, Gene Hackman moved to New York. Dustin Hoffman was quick to follow his friend’s steps (literally) ending up sleeping in his apartment (on his kitchen’s floor)! From a temporary decision, this evolved into a continuous flatmate situation both actors still remember as a happy time they used to bond and play funny games.

  1. Tommy Lee Jones and Al Gore

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One of the most famous roommates couples is, undoubtedly, the one of Tommy Lee Jones and Al Gore who were roommates at Harvard during all their college time. A fun fact is that they were initially randomly selected to share a room together but they later on insisted on being accommodated together year after year. Their friendship has withstood the test of time and they are as close as ever!

  1. Mel Gibson and Geoffrey Rush

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These two world-class stars spent 4 months living together in Sydney while they studied at the National Institute of Dramatic Art. They shared an apartment, a situation that is funnily described by Mel Gibson as “pretty desperate”. Knowing both men’s temper, we tend to believe him!

 


The 5 worst flatmate personas

The 5 worst flatmate personas

When you set out on the amazing journey living with flatmates is, you seldom think about the worst. It is, however, possible, that you end up with one of the worst types of flatmates. Until (or, should I rather say IF) this happens, you can be prepared by our comprehensive list of the 5 worst flatmate personas there ever were:

  1. The Party Animal

I am sure if you went to a party and met the Party Animal, you quietly sighed with relief that you don’t have to deal with him as your flatmate. Why? Well, apart from turning your shared apartment into a non-stop party hub, he is usually late when it comes to paying the bills, buying groceries, etc. In other words, he is absent from your life when his presence is needed and present in your life when his absence is longed for.

  1. The Cook

The Cook can at first seem like a nice person and even be considered a flatmate blessing. But, sooner or later, his cooking fiascos turn the kitchen into an unimaginable mess that somebody needs to clean. And the cook is usually too exhausted from all the cooking so you end up having to wash a heap of dishes that piles and piles in the sink until you start wondering if it would be less difficult to just starve to death instead of having to deal with all these dishes after dinner.

  1. The Intruder

The Intruder may mask himself as a curious and harmless person who wants to be friends with you now that you are flatmates. But he soon shows his real face, showing up in your room unannounced, invading your privacy in all kinds of ways. The worst thing about intruders is that they are usually not aware of the fact that they make you feel uncomfortable in your own home.

  1. The Late Payer

The Late Payer is perhaps the most annoying flatmate type. He seems to never remember that it is time to pay the rent (again) as if it is something beyond his control. He asks innocent questions like, “Oh, is it time already?”, or, “How could I forget?” but a few seconds after he asked them, he forgets about the matter altogether!

  1. The Slob

The Slob is… well, everything a slob is: lazy, untidy, dirty, and generally not willing to clean their own messes. When it comes to his room, his flatmates may not even mind it as he is the only one having to live in it, but when he leaves the bathroom (for example) in a state that’s difficult to depict (let alone clean), things can get really ugly. Unfortunately, such people are almost impossible to teach good hygiene so you will have to either put up with the situation or get out of it as soon as you can.


4 ways to become the best flatmate ever

4 ways to become the best flatmate ever

Do you want to be a dream of a flatmate that everybody wants to have? It’s really not that difficult! All you have to do is learn a few little tricks and you will find yourself on the pedestal of picture-perfect flatmates in no time. Do you want to learn how to do it? Read on for the 4 ways to become the best flatmate ever:

1. Ask, ask, ask
Whether you move in with an inexperienced flatmate or you end up the 3rd (or even 4th) person occupying the last spare room in a flat full of seasoned flatmates, you have to behave respectfully. To make a good first impression, don’t forget your manners and simply ask if you are not sure about anything. For example, instead of trying to figure out how the coffee machine works, ask for help. This will both make it easier for you to break the ice with your new flatmate/s and will make them feel comfortable around you.

2. Cook, cook, cook
Everybody loves a chocolate lava cake! Cannot make one? No worries, there are thousands of easy recipes online and some of them take neither time nor a bankruptcy to make. The thing is that nobody can resist a delicious meal (be it a cheese sandwich or a befstroganov). If preparing something delicious for the people you share the apartment with once in a while becomes a habit, you will soon be considered the in-house chef and you’ll get both the love and the respect you deserve!

3. All these little things
Are you familiar with the feeling you get when it’s your turn to order at the coffee shop and the guy/girl serving you says in a questioning voice: “The usual?” Be it simply a double espresso or a tall slim ice soya latte with honey instead of sugar to go (because that’s how I like it, thanks for asking), the fact that somebody else took the effort to remember your preferences means a lot. Now, let’s take it to your shared apartment. It really takes a minor effort to remember how everybody has their coffee and the result is grateful sleepy flatmates that don’t (ever!) want you to leave.

4. Get out
No, not by yourself. The apartment you just moved in may not yet seem like home and the presence of other people who have lived there long before you entered the front door makes things even harder. The easiest way to bond with your flatmates is to get out of the flat together and go to a place like the local pub or pizza restaurant where you can really hit it off on neutral grounds. Who knows, perhaps you will leave the house as flatmates and get back in as real friends!


5 Energy saving tips for renters

5 Energy saving tips for renters

Did you know that hitting the shower can save you money? As a renter, you already have an extra cost (the rent) to deal with every month. That is why renters are the ones that will find it especially useful to follow these simple money-saving and energy-saving rules. Here’s how to reduce your energy costs as a renter (5 energy saving tips for renters):

  1. Electricity

Is your electricity bill hitting the roof? Get it back on the ground with a few energy-saving tricks and habits like plugging your electrical equipment off when not in use (bye bye, standby draw). You can also make more use of the sleep mode of your laptop or personal computer. Or get rid of the habit to preheat your oven when reheating food.

  1. Lighting

Did you know that there are new lighting technologies that can reduce your rented space’s lighting energy by over 50%? Simply switch to CFL bulbs and you’ll thank us later! Another trick is to make the most use of natural light. Oh, and don’t forget the bathroom lights on.

  1. Water

Who needs running water when shaving or brushing teeth? Help save the planet and turn it off. When you need a bath, keep in mind that hitting the shower is way more cost-effective (and water/energy-saving) than soaking in the bathtub. If there are any leaking taps, ask your landlord to fix them or agree on a rent deduction and have them fixed yourself. And last but not least, there’s the dual-flash toilet. If you have one, please use its functionalities. That means, use the half-flush when… appropriate.

  1. Doing the dishes/laundry

There’s a very easy way to save both water and electricity by simply doing these two (dreadful) chores the right way. When doing the dishes manually, you can stop the water from running while you’re soaping the dishes. If you use a dishwasher, you should wait it to be fully loaded before you hit the start button. When doing laundry, don’t wash only a handful of laundry at a time – more half-empty laundry loads means more energy (and water) waste!

  1. Getting temperature and light right

What does this mean? Basically, it means that there is another (simpler and more cost-effective) way to control the temperature and light in your rented home. You don’t need to use only the electricity-powered equipment like lights and air-conditioner to do that! Use window curtains, drapes or shades the right way: close them when it’s hot outside (to keep the cooler temperature inside) and open them on sunny winter days if you want some heat to come inside. The same applies to light – don’t reach for that switch unless you really need to!


4 ways to personalize your rented space without making your landlord angry

4 ways to personalize your rented space without making your landlord angry

When you live in somebody else’s flat (which is the case for all people who rent and/or share a flat with a home owner), there’s really not much you can do to personalize the space you live in, right? WRONG!

There are hundreds of ways you can personalize your rented space without making your landlord angry or violating your rental agreement! Read on to find out some easy to add personal touches that will leave a smile both on yours and on your landlord’s face:

1. Let there be light
As a renter, you obviously can’t make drastic light changes like replacing light fittings, adding dimmers and the like, but this shouldn’t disappoint you! A nice pair of night stand lamps or a designer floor lamp can literally transform the look and feel of any room. Use the power of light by accentuating on spots you want highlighted and make light your best ally when it comes to making your rented space feel like home.

2. Make use of free-standing furniture
Free-standing furniture is the least expensive way to add storage (and functionality) to your rented apartment without making the landlord mad at you. The options you have are innumerous and you will easily find a free-standing alternative to a built-in piece of furniture for any room in the house. Besides, this gives you another opportunity to add your personal style to the place and make it your own.

3. Treat your windows
There’s nothing more impersonal than a bare window, don’t you think? They call them window treatments for a reason! Personalize any room in your rented space using different window treatments and you’ll soon feel the new atmosphere each room gets thanks to you. Don’t be afraid to experiment with fabrics, colors, textures, and finishes and you’ll be amazed at the results!

4. Display your works of art without destroying the walls
Long gone are the days when you had to drill a hole in the wall to display a work of art. For the smaller pieces like pictures, postcards, etc., use the available display space (a fireplace mantle, cabinet tops, empty shelves). For the bigger pieces, opt for leaning them directly against the wall to add a personal touch to a bare wall or to make the space look bigger (use a mirror in this case).


5 awesome apps every flatmate should get

5 awesome apps every flatmate should get

Living with flatmates is an exciting journey that will teach you a lot about sharing (ideas, costs, and personal space). Fortunately, today there are so many amazing apps that can literally make your life as a flatmate easier. Here are our top picks for awesome apps every flatmate should get:

1. IOU

IOU
IOU is your personal debt manager. This simple app will help you easily keep track of all your personal debts, bills, and loans. With its help, you can share debts with your flatmates, making it easier for all of you to manage them. Now all housemates will know how much they owe each other for rent, utilities, small favors, etc.!

Available for iOS, Android, and Windows.

2. Splitwise

Splitwise
Splitwise is among the best apps that help you share bills and IOUs, making sure all your flatmates get paid back. It is totally free and highly recommended for flatmates who appreciate having a complete expense report on the go for their house-related expenses.

Available for iOS and Android.

3. Venmo

Venmo
Venmo is basically a digital wallet (free!) that turns making and sharing payments with flatmates to a breeze. It lets you link your bank account or debit card so you can pay anyone with a Venmo account instantly. They also regularly update their awesome blog where you can get tons of useful information on how to better use the app’s features.

Available for iOS and Android.

4. HomeSlice

HomeSlice

HomeSlice is an app created with flatmates in mind. It offers (according to their official website), “Simple Solutions for Sh*tty Situations” and we cannot agree more! Chores that need to get accomplished, bills to be paid and payments to be made, supplies to be stocked and, last but not least, a place to interact with your flatmates – HomeSlice is the app that will make your (and your flatmates’) life a piece of cake.

Available for iOS and Android.

5. UpTo

UpTo
UpTo is a modern calendar app that will perfectly suit the life of any modern flatmate. It syncs with all your existing calendars and also lets you follow other people’s calendars so you and your flatmates can easily keep track of who will be home when, so you can schedule bill payments, household chores or just flatmates’ party time!

Available for iOS and Android.


4 rules for managing expenses for flatmates

4 rules for managing expenses for flatmates

Once you settle in your new home, you are ready to embark on the exciting journey of living with a flatmate (or more)! But first things first. If you want to achieve a financially mature (and happy) relationship with your flatmates, there are a few ground rules to follow:

Rule #1: Initiate a financial talk
There is no better time for the financial talk with your flatmates than the beginning of your flatmate life together. In other words, the sooner you talk about the household finances with your flatmates, the better. Here are the main topics to cover:

• Rent payment
• Bills
• Groceries, cleaning supplies, etc.

Rule # 2: Keep track of the expenditures
Keeping track of who is spending how much on what around the house (apartment) is crucial if you want to keep your good relationship with your flatmates. Luckily for you, there are a lot of free apps online that will help you track (and split) your household costs. Or you can use the good old Excel sheet (shared between all flatmates, of course). If you’re not keen on electronics for taking care of your finances, you can even have an expenditure journal where everybody puts their supply purchases!

Rule #3: Always pay your bills on time
There’s no better way to feed up good flatmate financial practices than serving as an example. Always pay your bills on time and make sure you don’t owe money to your flatmate(s). This will make all of you feel comfortable around each other as “short reckonings make long friends”.

Rule #4: Keep your own personal budget
Keeping a personal budget may sound strange at first, but just a few weeks will be enough to prove to you that this is the best way to keep track of your personal finances. Moreover, it will help you contribute in the best way you can to the shared flatmate finances as well. Knowing what is due when and keeping written record of your expenditures is easier than you think and it can save you a lot of headache in the long run.