3 Ways to Motivate Your Roommate to Clean

Living with a roommate means coming up with ways to compromise on things like paying for utilities and taking turns cooking dinner, but dividing up the chores can be tricky when you’ve got vastly different standards of cleanliness. Living with messy people can be a huge challenge if you’re a neat freak. It can even be a deal breaker — but it doesn’t have to be.

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Cleaning Tips and Tricks

Take the sting out of living with people who have different cleaning priorities by following these tips and tricks:

  • Stop worrying: The more you worry about the mess, the more anxious you get, and the worse the problem becomes. If you want to stick with your roommate, try to focus on all of his or her good qualities every time you find yourself worrying about cleaning.
  • Ask about her prior cleaning habits: If she has always been a neat freak and suddenly is leaving the sink stacked with dirty dishes and laundry piled all over your shared space, there might be some other issues in play.
  • Consider your roommate’s point of view: Heavy workloads and a busy schedule can leave even the cleanest people struggling to prioritize. It’s also possible your roommate thrives in a messy environment. Not all messes are a sign of just not caring.
  • Evaluate your roommate’s surroundings: Is she hoarding? Is there food sitting out from days ago? If there are serious issues in play, try politely and calmly talking to your roommate about why you’re bothered and figure out how you can work together to solve the issue.
  • Consider compromising: Meet each other halfway, and you’re both going to be happy. If everyone respects each other’s space and contributes to the housework, you can probably find a solution to make everyone feel better.

Once you’ve tackled those basic steps, start figuring out how you can divide up the housework as part of that compromise. Creating a roommate cleaning schedule and motivating your roommate to do his or her fair share of the cleanup while keeping the peace might require some creative thinking. Consider using these three tips to tidy up and make your living situation better for everyone.

Create a College Roommate Chore Chart

Do you find yourself wondering how to assign chores to roommates? Look no further than a trusty college roommate chore chart. Sure, chore charts are for kids, but they also come in handy when you’re working out how to keep your apartment clean. Start by sitting down together and figuring out everything that needs to be done. You might want to divide the list into daily, weekly, and monthly tasks. For example, wiping the counters and doing dishes might need to be done every day, but vacuuming and taking the garbage out might be weekly tasks.

Once you figure out what the chores are, come up with a plan for assigning important tasks like cleaning the bathroom and sweeping the kitchen floor. If you’re a stickler for cleanliness, then volunteer for the tasks that you want to ensure are done to your standards.

Alternate the daily duties, such as doing the dishes, and periodically revisit the chore chart and change things up, so it’s not always the same person getting stuck with the same tasks over and over. If you don’t normally eat together, you could agree that everyone cleans up after themselves after every meal.

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Make It Fun

A roommate cleaning schedule doesn’t exactly sound like a party, but if you work together, it doesn’t have to be a bore. Cleaning all by yourself can be a drag. Instead, schedule a time when you will both be home, and commit to cleaning together in a fun way. When the time comes, blast the music and go to town. You may be amazed at how much you can accomplish when you work together. Plan something to celebrate your hard work afterwards, like a movie night in or a dinner out together.

Person searching in the top dryer at a laundromat with legs dangling


You’ve already left dorm living behind, but if your apartment is drab or lacks a cohesive look, then it might be adding to your roommate’s indifference when it comes to keeping things clean. If this is the case, perhaps a refresh is in order. Work together to choose some décor you both love. This might mean decluttering, finding some new items to freshen up your apartment, or putting artwork on the wall. When you create a stylish and inviting space, you may find that your roommate is more willing to keep it looking great.

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Learning how to deal with messy people is always an adjustment, so be willing to compromise. Once you get your roommate cleaning schedule down, why not upgrade your surroundings? CORT Furniture Rental provides student packages that can help you quickly and conveniently turn a mismatched apartment into a stylish place you can both be proud to call home.

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