Everyone has a different take on sharing when living with roommates. You may want to go halfsies on everything, while your roomie would rather keep all possessions separate. Whether you’re living with strangers or your best friend from grade school, it’s important to set ground rules to avoid running into roommate issues down the line.

Hash it Out

After your boxes are unpacked, you’re going to want to head to the grocery store and stock your fridge. You’ll run into the inevitable question: To share or not to share? Some roommates find that buying food together works perfectly, while others prefer to pick up their own things. Determine what situation will make financial sense and ease the tension.

Same goes for clothes, hair products, athletic equipment and electronics. If you’re super particular about your record player, tell your roommate you’d prefer that it is left alone. Having an open conversation about this stuff is a great way to get to know your new roommate and will ensure you don’t run into any issues down the line.

Keep up the Convo

So, you made the decision to split food with your roommate, but you’re finding that every time you pour yourself cereal in the morning you’re left with half a bowl of crumbs? It might be time to rethink your agreement. Some people aren’t used to sharing things, so they may not even realize they are doing it. You may find that both of you love cereal and eat it quickly, so it may be best to purchase your own boxes, but you can still split milk, eggs and meat.

Having a Clean Pad

As you’re discussing sharing items, make sure you’re talking about chores too. Living with roommates that don’t put effort into cleaning, doing dishes and putting their own stuff away can be super difficult. One of the best ways to make sure you’re splitting duties is to get everything done at once. Clean the bathroom, kitchen and living room together and you won’t have to worry about always being the one to scrub the toilet. Switch off days to do the dishes, or you can make a rule that you clean your own plates after using them. This makes it fair if you tend to use one pan while your roommate uses five to make dinner.

For more tips on living with roommates in harmony, check out our Roommate Survival Guide.