Roommate Agreements: Why Democracy is Awesome

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By: David Fejeran –

When I first started looking at colleges, a lot of my high school teachers told me that the roommates I have in college would likely become some of the most important friends I will ever make in my life. When I first stepped in my freshman dorm room, I remember being really excited about becoming close friends with the two young men with whom I would be sharing a living space. And indeed, I feel that we became really close really quickly, and I still consider them my brothers. But no roommate situation is perfect.

Even when two people like all the same movies, music, and flavors of dental floss, they will likely still argue over who has to take out the trash, who gets to clean the bathroom, and who has to do the dishes. Of course, we were pretty proud of ourselves for solving all of these problems through the art of procrastination. Instead of taking out the trash, we would simply pile it in the bin, higher and higher, balancing our garbage carefully so as to not let the Jenga tower of trash fall over. The only times that the bathroom got cleaned were by yours truly, and only because I occasionally had a girl over that I wanted (well, hoped) to impress. Dishes were simply thrown in the sink because “they need to soak for a while,” and were only cleaned, one at a time, when someone absolutely needed them.

This year I have a new set of roommates, and we have developed an entirely new system for doing chores and cleaning. Initially, the transition from Widenhouse to Rimview was a little daunting because there is so much more that needs to be cleaned regularly. But I–along with two of my three roommates–developed a system that we like to call “making Dylan do everything.”

After talking to other people about our methods, many question our morals. They don’t understand how Dylan doesn’t go insane cleaning up after us all the time. I’m here to tell you that such a system not only works, but is completely fair. When we sat down to do our roommate agreements at the start of the year, we talked about how most of us are pretentious slobs and need to find a way to curb our slobbiness and use our situation to our advantage. After much deliberation, we agreed by a 75% vote that Dylan should do all the cleaning.

So far, my life as a roommate has never been easier. I leave my shoes in the living room; Dylan puts them safely in my wardrobe. I go with friends and eat a ton of Taco Bell; Dylan is the best plumber I know. I use all of Dylan’s dishes when making dinner and leave them dirty in the sink; Dylan leaves passive aggressive sticky notes on my door and then cleans the dishes anyway. The best part? He’s gotten so mad at us that he never talks to any of us any more, so we can study in peace and quiet.

I strongly encourage that all people with roommate issues adopt our system. It’s very effective and entirely hassle-free, at least as far as I can tell. It may not work for all people (e.g. empathetic people, people who want friends, etc.), but it works for us. For everyone else, I believe that we shall be as a city on a hill: a hill of dishes that Dylan should have cleaned by now.

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