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How to Share a Bathroom with Others

two roommates sharing a small bathroom
Diego Cervo/Shutterstock

Small bathroom or large, when you have to share the facilities with one or more people, things can sometimes get stressful. Whether you bunk with family or roommates, avoid arguments and stress with these tips.

Create a Workable Schedule (for Special Use and Cleaning)

Most of the time, bathroom usage cannot be scheduled—you’ve got to go when you’ve got to go. When you’re getting ready for work or a night out, you’ll want to make sure the bathroom is available. That’s where creating a usage schedule will come in handy.

Do what you need to do to ensure that everyone gets some time in the bathroom to get ready for work, school, and other things that require time in the shower or in front of the mirror.

You also want to schedule cleaning time. You should clean up every single time you use the facilities, but major cleaning once a week, at a minimum, is a must. How often you need to clean will depend on how many people share the room.

Set a schedule to share the responsibility for the communal bathroom. Or, work out a delegation of chores in the home, so the bathroom cleaner doesn’t have to do another task in exchange.

Cleaning includes more than scrubbing the sink, tub, and toilet—don’t forget to wash towels and bathmats, too. You probably wash your bath towel when you do laundry, but you’ll also want to wash jointly used items, like the hand towel. Even things like your shower curtain need attention.

Don’t Monopolize the Bathroom

woman getting ready in the morning, putting on her makeup in the bathroom
Dean Drobot/Shutterstock

If your bathroom is similar to Grand Central Station, come up with ways you can spend less time in there. You have to do certain things—like brushing your teeth and showering—in the bathroom, but what activities could you do elsewhere in the house or apartment?

Instead of monopolizing the bathroom when other people need to get in there, here are a few things you can do somewhere other than the washroom:

  • Put on makeup
  • Blow-dry your hair
  • Style your hair
  • Get dressed

A table in the living room or a desk in your bedroom are both great places for doing makeup or styling hair with straighteners and curling irons. All you need, aside from your makeup or hair care supplies, are an outlet and a free-standing mirror.

Looking for further ways to cut down on bathroom time? Don’t take your phone or reading material with you to the bathroom. It’s way too easy to get lost in playing a game on your phone or wasting time on social media.

Keep Things Organized

It’s frustrating to have to dig through someone else’s stuff to get to your own. Find a way to organize your bathroom so that everyone’s stuff has a home. Maybe give each person a shelf and a drawer. Keep your things in your own space. Don’t leave it out or cram it on another person’s shelf because yours is full.

Other useful items that can help keep the bathroom organized and multi-user friendly include:

  • A shower caddy: Instead of the typical metal or plastic shower caddy that hangs over the shower nozzle, consider investing in a portable caddy. It will hold all of your bath and shower needs and can be stored out of the way in your room or bathroom cupboard space. This not only ensures your stuff isn’t in the way of someone else, but it also keeps your roommates from using your shaving cream or shampoo.
  • An appliance caddy: If you use straighteners, curling irons, and other hot tools for your hair, a heat-proof appliance caddy is a great investment. You won’t have to leave your tools out to completely cool (in the way of roommates), and they’ll be stored for easy use.
  • Towel hooks: Invest in towel hooks to put on the bathroom wall. This will give all bathroom users in the house a place to hang their bath towel. When you share a washroom, everyone hanging the wet towels on the curtain rod won’t work, and you don’t want to leave wet towels on the floor to get stinky and musty either.

Use Bathroom Etiquette

There’s more to sharing a bathroom with others than making sure everyone gets a chance to use the toilet when they need to. Aside from cleaning schedules and organizational skills, you should be practicing bathroom etiquette that will help keep everyone happy when they need to “go.”

  • Clean up after yourself: Don’t wait until the scheduled cleaning day to leave the bathroom looking somewhat clean. Before you leave the room, you can do a few simple cleaning tasks, like wiping toothpaste off the sink and mirror, cleaning your hair out of the shower drain, and drying up any wet footprints you left on the floor after your bath.
  • Put things where they belong: Shut the shower curtain, so it can air dry properly. Make sure the curtain hooks are all in the right place and not bunched up. When you finish a roll of toilet paper, put a new one on. If the hand towel is gross, change it.
  • Leave it smelling pleasant: Plenty of stinky things go on in a bathroom. Matches are great at covering up certain smells, but you might want an air freshener that does the job well, like Poo-Pourri.

Emergencies will happen when you share one bathroom among two or more people, but most of the time, you’ll find it’s easy to be courteous and schedule time so that no one ends up getting to school or work late. Remember—A clean and organized bathroom will leave all of you happy.

Yvonne Glasgow Yvonne Glasgow
Yvonne Glasgow has been a professional writer for almost two decades. Yvonne has worked for nutritionists, start-ups, dating companies, SEO firms, newspapers, board game companies, and much more as a writer and editor. She's also a published poet and a short story writer. Read Full Bio »

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