How to manage living with lots of flatmates

Sophia Lamberton 8 September 2021
How to manage living with lots of flatmates

Moving in with a big group can be the best or worst thing you do at uni. If you're considering it, here are some simple rules to help you keep the peace.

Speaking from experience, living with lots of people can be really fun at times, because there’s always something going on. It can also be a great way of meeting new people. However, it can also be hard at times, so here are some tips for keeping the peace:

Communication is key

My best piece of advice would be to make sure you communicate with your flatmates from day one. Most  problems usually arise when there’s a lack of communication. 

If one of your flatmates has done something to annoy you, have a chat about it and move on instead of leaving the issue unresolved. No matter how big or small the problem is, talking to your flatmates about the problem as soon as it happens will prevent any tension from building up.

If you’re struggling with your studies or personal life, speak to your flatmates if you feel comfortable doing so. Having someone to listen to you always helps, and they may be able to offer some useful advice. Remember that support is also available from your university’s student wellbeing team.

Socialise with your flatmates

If you’re a quiet person or if you suffer from social anxiety, it can be hard living with lots of people. If you find yourself in a communal area with one or two flatmates, see it as an opportunity to get to know them better without being overwhelmed. You could strike up a conversation by talking about what you’re studying, or your respective hometowns. Taking the bins out or cleaning communal areas together can also be a good way to strike up conversations with your flatmates.  

You could organise a social night with your flatmates once a week. Why not cook a meal together, go to the pub, or watch a film?


If you know who you’ll be sharing a home with, a great way to optimise your living setup is by working out who’s bringing what with them from home in advance. That way you won’t end up with duplicate appliances. 

Only taking the things you’ll need gives you more space to store other things in your home. It will also make it much easier to clean the flat.

Be kind

Keep the peace by being mindful of the people that you live with. If you play musical instruments or like to have your music on loud, talk to your flatmates and find out if they’re ok with it. 

One thing I’ve learned from living with lots of people is the importance of respecting each other’s boundaries. If someone is studying for an exam, be mindful that they might want some quiet time to themselves to relax.

If one of your flatmates isn’t very talkative, don’t take it personally; they might just be having a bad day. Ask if they’re ok and give them some space if needed. Remember that living with lots of flatmates can be overwhelming, even for social butterflies.

Clean up

Unless you keep on top of your flat, living with lots of people means things can get very messy very quickly. As soon as you move in, call a meeting with your flatmates to decide who will be responsible for keeping each area of the flat tidy.

A rule that worked well in our flat last year was that if the bin were full, the last person to use it would take it out. We also had a big clean up once a week to make sure the flat didn’t get too messy.

Follow these steps to ensure a harmonious living environment at your next student pad.

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Sophia Lamberton 8 September 2021