Lifestyle: Solving Roommate Blues

By Nakie Uzeiri

Photo courtesy of James Whiting.

Perhaps the fault of not finding an ideal roommate lies in the way we look for them. Craigslist and wanted ad stubs might not be the most efficient ways to find a suitable living partner.

Thankfully, there are apps and sites to assist those who live together. If you’re looking for a place or roommate in New York or Boston, RoomZoom is a great go-to site. Roomi (NYC) and Sumu (Boston) are some other efficient platforms to use while searching in those areas.

However, boarding with another person usually begins with the college-generated roommate selecting system. The process usually lands students in a stuffy dorm room with a stranger after answering questions such as, “Are you neat or messy?” or “Are you a smoker?”

While sometimes random roommates work out, sites like RoomSurf have launched in order to help the college crowd find lodgers and ease themselves into their new school life. The site allows users to create a profile and complete a survey, then check out their matches. This gives them time to speak to one another and eventually they can request to become roommates through their institution.

Though, later on many opt to living with their friends because doing so appears to be easier. This choice sometimes ends up being worse than living with strangers. Comrades boarding together begin to see completely different sides of these friends-turned-roommates.

Twenty-year-old Zipporah Dixon struggled when it came to living with friends.

“I lived with three [friends] this year,” Dixon says, then continues to speak about the difficulties the group experienced with organization and communication. “I still get along with two of them. But the other was my best friend going into it, and living together was so bad, we don’t even speak anymore.”

Though it can be difficult to maintain a system of organization, people tend to fall back on attempting to enforce “chore charts” or leaving passive aggressive notes next to stacks of dirty dishes in the sink. While these options may get the message through to roommates, they can result in conflict.

Photo courtesy of Brendan Wood.

For an alternative, HomeSlice is an app made to give roommates a more solid living structure. It features an interactive whiteboard as a form of communication that also refers to the other accessories of the application. Features of the app include a “supplies” section to keep track of what items are needed at home and whose turn it is to get what. The app also has a “chores” section, and of course a “bills” tab so users can make sure their amenities won’t be shut off anytime soon.

Other apps like Splitwise are fairly handy in helping out with the billing situation. On the app they offer the ability to add bills and payments as well as keep track of how much money roommates owe one another. There’s also an email reminder function that users can offset to annoy the hell out of anyone that owes them money.

Whether it’s communicating via apps or learning through experience, it’s important for roommates to reside amongst peers who feel content with where and how they’re living.