Whether you are moving in with your significant other or just sharing an apartment with a friend, one of the first arguments roommates often run into is about space. Determining how you are going to share a shared living space is a decision you might want to discuss BEFORE you sign the lease, but if you didn’t plan ahead, no worries, we can help.

Before you decide to tear up the lease, look for a different place to live, or contemplate a more violent solution to your disagreement, start by breaking the problems down into manageable chunks.

But my roommate is a slob…

Okay, so are we talking the kind of slob who leaves nasty pizza crusts and half-drank soda all over the living room or the kind that leaves piles of stuff on every flat surface? If it’s the first, well, that’s a hard conversation you need to have with the roomie before nasty food starts drawing ants or other bugs into your house. But if they just leave piles of stuff everywhere, it might be that they simply don’t have enough room to store things or don’t know how to store it.

Start by taking a look at what types of things are left in piles. Is it papers that need to be saved? Talk to the roomie about investing in a filing cabinet or banker’s boxes that can be filled with important papers. Then the filing cabinet or boxes can be stored somewhere other than the living room or even in a storage unit.

As you pick through the clutter, figure out what is just trash that needs to be gotten rid of and what is good, but maybe not something your roommate loves like they once did. For things that they aren’t quite ready to get rid of, consider putting them in a box. Label the box with its contents and stick it under the bed, in a closet, or in a storage unit. Put a note in your phone or calendar to check on it in three months. If you haven’t touched it in three months, chances are you can safely get rid of it.

We have two of everything.

If you are moving in with a significant other, this can be a real problem. You may have two of everything from sofas to frying pans and not have room for that much stuff in your house. Solution: Keep the nicer one and donate or sell the second one. Not quite sure you want to give up all your stuff, just in case this isn’t a forever romance? Park half of everything up and store it. Just make sure things are well-labelled so that when you do decide your relationship was meant to be, it’s easier to donate the excess.

My roommate collects and I don’t

If you share living space with a collector and aren’t one, or you’re a collector and your roommate isn’t, finding a happy medium can be as simple as deciding which space is okay for your collectibles. It may also require putting some of those collectibles away for awhile.

For example, I collect Nightmare Before Christmas stuff. Now, I’m lucky enough to have it decorate my office, but when we lived in a smaller house, I didn’t have room for all of it. My husband and I picked out a few of my favorite pieces and made space for them in the living room. The others went in storage. Then, every few months I could rotate in a different piece as a means of enjoying my collection. It was almost like getting new collectibles!

If the two of you have just too much stuff, consider selling or donating the excess. If that’s not an option, you can always store it at Spacemall!