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How to Prepare for a Roommate: 5 Things People Forget to Do

The first tasks you need to do to welcome a new roommate seem pretty obvious: declutter and clean the guest (or spare) room and bathroom. But what about the rest of the home? Your roommate will also be sharing the living room, kitchen and other common areas, though right?


A pre-move-in house cleaning is a pretty obvious goal, but people tend to forget about certain tasks that really make a difference. Read on to discover five overlooked ways to prepare for a roommate ahead of time.


1. Create space in the entryway or "drop zone."

We all need a place to keep our keys, bag and coat for easy retrieval. Go through the most-used entryway(s) and remove the following:


  • Excess shopping bags 
  • Piles of spare shoes 
  • Out-of-season clothing and accessories 
  • Donations you’ve been meaning to drop off
  • Junk mail that needs recycling
  • Clothes that need to be washed and/or put away


While you’re at it, give the entry area a good clean-up too.


2. Open up decor and display opportunities.

If you’ve lived in your space for a while, you’ve personalized it to your liking. However, your roommate will naturally want some of their own taste, style and memories around—and not just inside their room. Pare down some of your personal items on the mantle, on the walls, etc. so your roommate will feel welcome to add their things in. You don’t have to get rid of anything (unless you want to declutter!). Many items can be used in new ways in your private space or rotated in and out over time.


(De-personalizing is actually a very important part of preparing for a new roommate, according to coach, speaker and author Sue Ronnenkamp. Check out her 10 things you can do to be an amazing housemate, based on Sue’s longtime homesharing experience.)


3. Prep the kitchen so your roommate can cook and eat comfortably.

If you’re like many people, the stuff in your pantry, fridge and cabinets seems to expand to fill all available space. Now’s the time to discover and deal with things like:


  • Expired items
  • Mystery leftovers 
  • Spices and other ingredients you never use 
  • Aspirational appliances (or broken ones)
  • Plastic containers with missing lids (or lids with missing plastic containers)
  • Excess plastic utensils, straws and bags 
  • Ugly or impractical mugs and dishes you never liked anyway 
  • Clutter that’s stuck to the refrigerator (old takeout menus, last year’s trash pickup schedule, etc.)

Donate unwanted but still usable items to your local food pantry or Buy Nothing Group. Then, give the entire kitchen a thorough cleaning.


4. Free up room in the garage, attic or other storage areas.

Most roommates will bring along at least a few storage boxes for mementos, holiday decor, etc. Make sure there’s a cobweb-free, easy-to-access storage spot for their things. Bonus: decluttering these areas will create new energy for you!


5. Clean and corral your (very adorable) pet’s stuff.

We know Mittens and Caesar are perfect in every way, but their toys and other pet supplies do get grungy—not to mention strewn all over the place. Where possible, run your pet’s bedding and stuffed toys through the laundry. Other items may be scrubbed up in the sink or, potentially, the dishwasher. Drop the clean toys into a fresh basket or bin and create a tidy feeding area. Voila! Your little angel is ready to be a great roommate pal.


How do you truly welcome a new roommate?

Ultimately, it’s about being open to new experiences and new beginnings. Sometimes people need a little attitude adjustment and self care to get there. If that’s you, take a look at our new blog on the matter—Bringing in a New Roommate: Preparation Dos and Don’ts.


Silvernest has helped all kinds of people create their own Home Sweet Shared Home®. Looking for your own homesharing match? Visit to explore and get started!


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