Whether it’s with siblings, roommates or dormmates, just about everyone has had the experience of sharing a bathroom at one point or another. That means it’s common knowledge that sharing a bathroom can be an exercise in frustration. A communal powder room means waiting your turn, picking up after your housemates, and dealing with the aftermath when they use it ahead of you. Although sharing a bathroom with your family or roommates can be irritating, it doesn’t have to be. No matter how many people you share your bathroom with, here are some common ideas you can use to make sharing a bathroom a less-stressful experience.
Tip No. 1: Make A Schedule
Although we can’t always control when nature calls, establishing a schedule for the bathroom can cut down on arguments and help ensure that your bathroom doesn’t become a war zone. Try to establish a routine in the morning and before bed so everyone has a set time he or she will use the bathroom and make sure everyone sticks to it. This also applies to cleaning the bathroom: Establishing a schedule so that everyone does his or her fair share of the cleaning on a regular basis will help the bathroom stay clean so no one is stuck doing all of the work alone.
Tip No. 2: Don’t Be a Bathroom Hog
One of the biggest sources of friction in a household comes when one person spends way too much time in the bathroom. Although there’s nothing wrong with wanting to take a long, relaxing soak in the tub every once in a while, make sure that if you do, you won’t be monopolizing the bathroom at a time when others may need it. Make sure you don’t dawdle in the bathroom, keep it open for anyone who might need it, and encourage your housemates to do the same.
Tip No. 3: Get Organized
Bathroom counters and cabinets can become cluttered easily, especially when there are multiple people using the same one. Everyone has their own towels, toothbrushes, favorite shampoos (maybe even rubber duckies), etc. That’s why keeping everything organized is a big part of maintaining the peace when sharing a bathroom with multiple people. No one wants to spend any of his or her precious bathroom time digging through cabinets or drawers looking for his or her nail clippers, after all. Rather than keep all of your essential toiletries in the bathroom, consider using a shower caddy to carry your items into the bathroom each time you use it. That way, you’ll always know exactly where everything you need is, and you’ll keep it from cluttering counters, shelves and drawers. Adding storage options such as hooks, towel bars or in-shower storage can help keep everything organized, as well. For items such as toothbrushes and towels that should only be used by one person, consider color-coding everything so no one gets confused and uses someone else’s items.
Tip No. 4: Clean Up After Yourself
It’s important to make sure everybody understands keeping the bathroom clean is everyone’s responsibility — that means you, too. Taking a moment to wipe the sink, the mirror, the toilet seat or anything else you use while you’re in the bathroom will not only help keep the bathroom cleaner for longer, but it’s just common courtesy.
Tip No. 5: Clear the Air
If you share a bathroom with other people, a simple air freshener might be the best investment you can make. Unpleasant scents in the bathroom are a fact of life, but it’s to everyone’s benefit to have a way to keep the bathroom smelling fresh all the time. Whether you have a can of spray freshener handy, light fancy candles or use a plug-in air freshener, keeping the air in the bathroom pleasant means everyone will benefit.
Tip No. 6: Communicate
Life doesn’t always conform to the schedules we try to impose on it, and that means we can’t always stick to a strict schedule when it comes to bathroom use. That’s why perhaps the most important tip for sharing a bathroom with others is communication. Maybe you’ll need to be out the door earlier than usual, or maybe you’re not feeling well and may need to make an emergency escape to the bathroom. No matter what, giving your housemates the heads-up can go a long way toward defusing a potentially tense situation.
Living with others isn’t always easy, especially when sharing a bathroom. However, following these simple tips can help you and your housemates get along much smoother and prevent the bathroom from becoming disputed territory.