For as long as there have been students, there has been the expectation that they will live not only in near poverty, but also in complete filth. Why is this expected? Is it because young people who don’t have their mum to tell them to tidy their room just won’t? Or is it because we are too busy being young and full of fun to put the vacuum around once in a while?
Those living in halls are generally kept from living in complete squalor by the University of East Anglia’s cleaning staff, as well as the threat of potential fines for slacking on the washing up. Once we lose this luxury in second year however, things can go swiftly downhill. When sharing a house, it is very easy to play the blame game. One lazy housemate can lead to others feeling like they are parenting a house of messy teenagers.
It can be difficult to ask politely for someone to clean up their rancid jug of beans or week-old pizza box, particularly if it is not the first time. The best thing to do when faced with an offending housemate is to take a minute, find a clean mug, and have a cup of tea. Try to think objectively about how unacceptable the mess is, rather than falling for the temptations of passive aggressive post-it notes and Facebook messages.
As a general rule, mould is never okay. Be it green, white, blue or fully fledged fur, not only is it a sign of a consciously abandoned mess, but it is pretty dangerous too. Breathing in too many spores from ageing foodstuffs can worsen asthma and hit your immune system pretty hard, making you more susceptible to colds and coughs. Risking your health is a pretty high price for putting off the washing up, so do not avoid the dishes. If things are not quite this bad, and a housemate just needs some encouragement to clean up, have a quiet word. If things do not change, moving the offending plates and pans to their room tends to get the message across more clearly.
When it comes to communal areas like the living room, bathroom and kitchen, mess can build up pretty quickly. For these areas, it might be an idea to come up with some kind of rota. Whether it is a super strict laminated affair, or more of an “it’s your turn to do that” structure, shared responsibility of the housework is important to keeping housemate relations running smoothly. Take a house trip to the 99p store in Castle Mall or Wilkinsons to buy some cleaning products, split the costs and install these new purchases somewhere communal and visible inside your abode. If the products are unavoidable, so is the opportunity to occasionally clean up.