roommate clean up

Are you an introvert with a messy roommate? Talking to roommates about cleaning up can be hard for anyone. But for introverts, it’s especially challenging. 

After all, we introverts hate conflict. We’d rather stay quiet, and hideout in our room than face confrontation.

Avoiding talking to your roommate may work for a little while. However, eventually, resentment builds to the point where your roommate knows something’s up.

At this point, you know you should say something, but you overthink it like crazy. If you’re like a lot of introverts, you have dozens of imaginary conversations with your roommate in your head, without saying peep in real life. I get it.

I’ve had my share of bad roommates over the years. I know how frustrating it is to see dirty dishes piling up, and clutter taking over your once peaceful home. 

I also know that speaking up is easier said than done. How do you find the right words when you’re an introvert who is easily tongue-tied? And how do you divide up the tasks in a way that is fair and sustainable?

Don’t worry, there is hope!

Max Kenyon, founder of Clean That Floor helped me put together 5 introvert friendly ways to motivate your roommate to clean up. 

Clarify expectations early on

When is the best time to talk to your roommate about cleaning up? The short answer is, the sooner the better.

The longer you wait to have the roommate talk, the more you’ll overthink it. And the more tension will grow between you and your roommate.

I recommend talking about expectations the first week you move in together. If that ship has already sailed, send your roommate a text TODAY saying you want to have a quick chat about roommate/house stuff. Then set a time to talk and stick to it.

Plan what you will say

We introverts take longer to think of what to say than extroverts. When we’re nervous, it can be even harder to find the right words. 

That’s why it’s always a good idea to have a rough outline of what you’ll say before going into difficult conversations. 

Keep it simple and non-accusatory. You could say something like, “Do you mind if we take a sec to divide up chores? Maybe we can make a schedule so it’s clear and we don’t have to worry about it.”

Split chores fairly

Introverts are easily overwhelmed. Your home is meant to be a peaceful space where you can recharge. It’s impossible to do this when you’re carrying the burden of cleaning up after someone else.

When you talk to your roommate, the first thing to establish is that everyone should clean up after themselves. 

This means no crusty dishes on the table or empty shampoo bottles in the bathroom. Things are already more manageable once everyone picks up after themselves.

Now you can cover the big things like laundry, vacuuming, doing the dishes, taking out the trash, and so on.

Tell your roommate about what has to be done and ask if there’s anything they might be good at. Let them choose, but make sure you split the chores and switch jobs now and then.

Also, consider taking some time to show your roommate how things are done if they’ve never done them before. For example, show them how to empty and clean the vacuum cleaner after use, and they’ll surely appreciate it.

Let money do the talking

Money talks. This is good news for quiet introverts who don’t want to have to keep repeating ourselves.

If you’ve tried talking to your roommate about cleaning up and the house is still messy, you could try monetizing the issue.

You can offer to do most of the chores in exchange for your roommate paying extra rent.

Your roommate might be totally cool with paying extra for the privilege of being lazy. The other possibility is that they will put more effort into cleaning to avoid giving extra bucks.

Consider hiring someone

Like I said, introverts hate conflict. Sometimes the only way to avoid conflict is to hire a cleaner.

If you’ve tried talking to your roommate and they just won’t listen, you shouldn’t do it all by yourself either.

In this case, you might hire someone else to come over and do the dirty work. Still, this is something both of you have to agree on, because you’ll be splitting the bill.

Talk to them about how often someone should come over and how much that would cost you.

Your roommate might agree to do some work in order to avoid paying for a cleaning agency.

If not, you may consider finding someone else to live with, because you shouldn’t be cleaning or paying for an agency on your own.

Teaching someone to take responsibility and clean when they’ve never done it before is tricky.

Whatever you do, make sure you’re patient and allow your roommate some time to see the issue and change. 

What you consider a mess, they might not see as a big deal. Use today’s tips to help them see the light, and finally clean up their act!