How to improve shared living with Roommate Harmony

5th March 2015

Roommate Harmony Products

If you’ve been reading my blog for a long time you may remember the absolutely terrible time I had in my first year of university when I lived in halls (see posts between Sept 2012 and March 2013). It was the typical issues such as noisy neighbours, flat mates stealing your food, flat mates leaving the flat in a mess, everything breaking, constantly being cold, etc.

So when Roommate Harmony contacted me about their product line I was intrigued. Basically, they make products that aim to improve shared living, and they kindly sent me some over to take a look at.

Let’s take a look at each item and see how they can help in your shared living situation.

Problem: Your flat mates keep stealing all of your food.

Solution: Personalised Food Stickers.

Personalised Food Stickers

Personalised Food Stickers

When I lived in halls it was cheese and milk. My flat mates shared my love of dairy products and on many occasions I would return to the fridge to find my food consumed. So annoying!

These stickers can be personalised with your name, ready to stick on your food and drink that might be stolen. I really like the fun design of these, with different graphics on each for different types of food and drink. They’re super cute. I also like the fact there are “Please Share” stickers too for the times when you are feeling generous. For instance, I would stick these on a box of cakes that I had made so that everyone would know that they’re not all for me!

Problem: Flat mates not doing their fair share of the housework.

Solution: Chore Chart.

Chore Chart

Chore Chart

The chore chart is a dry wipe board (with a pen and eraser) that allows you to keep track of who is doing which jobs and whether or not they’ve done them. It’s split into categories (kitchen, living room, bathroom, misc.) with a few chores already listed and space to write in your own. There is also a space at the top of each column to add in the name of the person responsible.

We tried to make our own chore chart in first year but ‘someone’ didn’t realise it was there. This one is nice and large (A3 size approx.) so they would have no excuse for not seeing it!

It also has magnetic strips of the back so you can attach it to your fridge. I think this chore chart would be so useful for families too and so isn’t limited to just students.

Problem: Not being able to use pins to put stuff on the walls.

Solution: Sticky Bulletin Board.

Sticky Bulletin Board

This bulletin board is sticky on both sides meaning that you can stick it to a wall and then stick stuff on the other side. This is great if you aren’t allowed to pin stuff to your walls. You could use this to create a mood board, if you are an arty type of person, or perhaps cover it in photographs. Me? Well, I’m a lover of lists, so you’d probably find mine covered in bits of paper with lists on!

But please, please check with your halls of residence or landlord that you are allowed to use adhesives on the walls because I would hate for you to get in trouble. Don’t peel the paint off like I did once upon a time!!

Problem: Trying to plan out meals for the flat for the week.

Solution: Weekly Planner.

Weekly Planner

Weekly Planner

In our flat we plan our meals out for the week so that when we do our weekly shop we know exactly what we are buying. It’s a great way to save money too because you don’t just buy any food or ingredients, you buy just what you need.

The weekly planner could be used for planning anything, like revision, but personally I would use it for meal planning. Again, like the chore chart, the planner has a magnetic strip on the back.

(Yes, that is my handwriting. I’m practically Comic Sans MS.)

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Overall, I’m really impressed with these products. I love the fun, colourful designs, and I really think students like me will love these.

My favourite? Well, it has to be the stickers. I’m going to have a lot of fun with them. Who says it has to stop at food? I might stick one on the TV remote. ;)

What do you think of these products? If you live in shared accommodation, do you think these would be helpful?

Roommate Harmony sent me these products for free to feature on my blog. As always, opinions and views are always my own.

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  1. The stickers are such a great idea. I wish I had them a few years ago, at Uni :)

  2. As much as they’re cute and stuff and may be a good idea, I can’t help but think “Why not just sit down and talk about it?” Granted though, the two weeks I spent living with other people I only managed to say anything about it once, and that ended up in a screaming/wailing mess on my part. Whoops.

    • Holly

      I had one flat mate in first year who refused to talk to the rest of us because she thought we were a “bad influence”. We’d only spoke once and literally just said hello. Communication was just a no go. We even had to get the accommodation staff involved because she was just a vile human being.

      Also, I told people about my milk and cheese so many times but they kept using the excuse of “I thought it was to share”.

  3. These are very cute! I’m intrigued by the sticky board. Unfortunately, I think the people who blatantly steal other peoples food and leave things in a mess for others…are not the sort to bother with signs or stickers. There were plenty “no stealing food” “respect your kitchen” etc signs in the halls I lived in and no one paid any attention to it. (like seriously, the whole fridge was covered with increasingly passive agressive signs asking not to steal. no one cared. ) These might work with roommates who know each other and can talk about it and maybe respect each other a little , but in a hall full of strangers, where your crime is bound to stay anonymous? No chance. :(

    • Holly

      It’s a shame really because shared living can be horrible when you are placed in a flat with strangers. However, I know people who have moved in with “friends” and are still sick and tired of their bad habits. Some people are just ignorant and make it hell for the rest of us.

  4. Elena

    This is genious. I just suggested to my roommates that we should get a Chore Chart because of this post. I know that one of us is always doing more that the others, and it would be only fair that she can write it down so that we know that we have to do more.

    I also started with making meal plans this semester and I have found that I save a lot of money. Because when I don’t have I plan I might go to the store more than once a month and I end up buying a lot of stuf that I don’t need, and also a lot of unhealthy food.

    • Jamie

      My boyfriend and I need to start meal planning as well. We started community college last semester and already I gained the Freshman 15. I’m mad at myself, so this would be a perfect time to plan meals out for the two of us, and then go get it at the store. Otherwise, our money goes out the door.

    • Holly

      Glad you like the products! I also thought they were pretty clever when I first found out about them.

      Meal planning is just one of the ways I save money as a student. It’s also, like you say, a good way to stop buying junk food!

  5. Jamie

    Oh man, I know the problem about food being eaten that isn’t yours. I rented a room from this one family, and every time I would buy something for me…it would be eaten! It was rude and not very mannerly like either.

    This same thing happens time and again over at this house that I’m living at as well. There are some good days and there are bad days. However, when you live with five different people and one is causing so much drama, well, I think you get the gist of it. Anyways, Tristan and I buy food separately, as we know that it won’t be eaten because it has vegetables. Yet, from time to time, my food items goes missing. Why? The grandfather’s grandchildren (three of them) just helps themselves to whatever is in the house. I guess the Grandfather thinks of this house to be a community house. However, I shouldn’t have to feed his grandchildren and myself as well. That’s his job, not mine. From time to time, I don’t care whether or not they eat the apples I buy. Better them to eat it then going to waste. However, when I’m trying to diet and stuff like that — I just want something to avoid getting junk food.

    For instance, I purchased a box of green tea (yummy too). It’s been there for months without being touched by anyone except me. From time to time, I will have some. However, just recently someone has been getting into my green tea. So annoying! This person has never drank green tea before, and now all of the sudden, they help themselves to my green tea. Lesson learned, when it comes in a box keep it in the bedroom. This also happened with junk food. Per say, I have a bag of Chocolate Almond Hershey Kisses. Tristan doesn’t eat chocolate right? Well, one day the bag was half gone. I know I got into a little here and there, and Tristan as well. But one day it was half way gone and there were some evidence in the bag that wasn’t there the day before. I asked Tristan if he had any, and he says no (plus he wouldn’t lie or put an empty wrapper back in the bag like the perpetrator did). I don’t care if Tristan has any, as he knows this. But, I just found it bizarre. Then another incident, I found two sodas that were mine out on the sink. The only person that does that is his Uncle who is 40 some years old and is in love with sweets and junk food. I thought well, maybe I did that without realizing, but I kept noticing that more and more soda and food went missing. We finally had a discussion about people entering our rooms (we have two — bedroom, and study) when we’re not home. I’m hoping they’ve been keeping out. It just got so annoying. I mean, one time I purchased a scale to help me lose weight etc. Well, the grandmother wanted to use it and I said sure, thinking she’d ask me to go get it ya know? Well, one day we were at school and she happened to barge in our bedroom to use it without any prior knowledge. I thought that was rude and what was even more rude was the fact she asked me if she can use it. It’s annoying living with others. She even proclaimed “That’s what happens when you live with other people.” Normal people just don’t take things out of other people’s rooms.

    Haha, Sorry, I got on a long winded rant there.

    • Holly

      Haha, roommate related rants are welcomed here. I can totally relate! It seems like all of us here have been affected by someone stealing our food at some point!!

  6. Cat

    I like the stickers! They’re really cute and look like a great way to label what’s yours. That’s also nice that the chore chart is a dry erase board, with blank spots to write in your own chores.

    I think these could be really helpful for living with roommates, though I’d probably only use the stickers. When I lived with roommates (and even now with my husband), we preferred to use something online to track things, like a shared calendar, doc, or to-do list.

    • Holly

      I’ve been trying to get into using online calendars but I think I’m a little bit old fashioned. I have paper lists all over my flat!