Important Rules for Shared Living Spaces

Sharing a space with others is something many of us have to do or have had to do in the past. Whether we are in a family, dorm room, communal living space or live with friends, keeping these basic rules when living with others will make the experience more pleasant for all.

I found this article about sharing space from a wonderful blog that I follow called Daily Om, which they kindly agreed to allow me to print for my Care2 friends.

From DailyOM:

Each time we co-habitate with others it is important that we make the effort to share the space in a way that supports everyone.

Our homes are our havens. These places where we come to rest, recharge, and dream in safety and comfort allow us to better face the challenges of the world outside our doors. When sharing a living space with others, an awareness of the thoughts and feelings of everyone involved is essential in creating the peace we all desire. Regardless of where we lived before, each time we co-habitate with others it is important that we make the effort to share the space in a way that supports everyone.

We need to remember that in a shared space, everything we sense can also be sensed by another person. Peace will not likely be the result when the senses are filled with the sight of unwashed plates, intrusive sounds, unpleasant smells, the feel of a foreign substance beneath bare feet, or the taste of food tainted by an uncovered onion in the fridge. But if we communicate and listen with respect to those with whom we share a space, we may find that one enjoys washing dishes to end the day, while the other can take out the garbage during their evening walk. Working with another’s schedule, you can still meditate or exercise to your favorite music while the other is out, and save reading for the times when they are trying to sleep. Being thoughtful of the energy that is required for something to be cleaned up may make everyone aware of being neater, whether that means taking off your shoes at the entrance or wiping up juice spilled on the kitchen floor.

In the same way, pent up resentment toward your living partners is just as easily felt. Keeping the energy clear requires the effort of communication, the awareness of another’s feelings, and courtesy toward the space you share. While that sometimes requires changing your schedule or habits, there are many times when having a caring someone nearby is worth all the effort. Living with others can help us learn to mingle our energies at home as well as at work and in the world at large in a way that benefits us and everyone around us.

Reprinted from DailyOM- Inspirational thoughts for a happy, healthy and fulfilling day. Register for free at

Erica Sofrina is a Feng Shui Consultant, Professional Organizer and Interior Design Consultant and author of the book Small Changes, Dynamic Results, Feng Shui for the Western World


Latoya Brookins
Latoya Brookins6 years ago

I need my own place. I have lived with roommates for too long. The only people I want sharing my home 24/7 are animals. You don't argue over dishes or any other daily things like that with your animals.

Linda R.
Linda R6 years ago

Even when you are doing all the right things there are some people that just don't care. Family members seem to be the worst with this. They figure because your family that you will forgive them and that they have a green light to behave how ever irresponsible as they please!

Amanda M.
Amanda M6 years ago

This brings back memories of not just life in the college dorm, but also the two years when two of my friends and I discovered that it was cheaper to share a place off-campus (not to mention that in a rented townhouse we had AIR CONDITIONING and could keep cats, two things that the dorm didn't have or let us do!). It would've worked great except that my two roommates were the female version of Felix and Oscar from "The Odd Couple." And the "Felix" roommate had a habit of snitching my candy bars from my room, rearranging the living room furniture every half year or so (which drove me NUTS, because I prefer to keep things constant), and complaining about when I held religious observances for my Wiccan faith in my room (it got to where I had to stuff towels under the door even with the window open because she didn't like the incense, which is ironic because she had those stinky vanilla Plug-Ins all over the house).

While I wouldn't want to go through that again, I admit it was an interesting experience.

Ram Reddy
Ram Reddy6 years ago

Erica,thanks for sharing the info

Marie W.
Marie W6 years ago


Loretta R.
Loretta R6 years ago

Thanks, Erica! I'm guess I'm not so far off base, after all. I was beginning to think I was being too fussy and too demanding, after so many years of being lackadaisical and subjugating my will and desires and preferences to others. Now, I realize that I have every right to set boundaries, express my wishes, and be comfortable in my own home while at the same time respecting the wishes of others.

Winn Adams
Winn Adams6 years ago


Heidi Aubrey
Heidi Aubrey6 years ago

With a roomate, its important to set physical boundries and agree on a set of rules for both to follow BEFORE you become actual roomates.

One that saved our arrangement, was the refrigerator and kitchen rules: We each had assigned shelves within the refrigerator and it was hands off to the other, for those shelves. As well as the cupboard foods. The dishes we shared and were responsible each for washing our own.

After that, it was easy. We had our own bedrooms and bathrooms.

Jude Hand
Judith Hand6 years ago

Okey dokey. I've got a "roommate" after many years of living alone, something I'd decided was my preference. I'm finding, though, that I'm learning things I'd given up on and am getting a kick out of the arrangement. Go figure.

Carol M.
carol m6 years ago

Good information to remember.