Tips on Sharing a Bathroom

Bathroom use is perhaps the most personal expression of an individual’s routines and preferences. You can practically put together a distinct personality by observing the appearance of and things kept in the invidual’s bathroom. It is because of this intensely personal nature of bathroom use, that sharing it with another can pose significant challenges. So whether you are moving in with a partner or looking for a room-mate to split the apartment rent, here are a few tips on sharing a bathroom.

Establish a routine

When sharing a bathroom, it is best to establish a routine early on. Different people have different times for taking a bath - some prefer to get ready early in the day while others like to take a relaxed shower after coming home in the evening. Some people prefer to perform other personal activities in the bathroom as well, while others don't have much else to do. So let the other know when you're going to shower or on certain days – for instance when you are applying a hair pack - if you will take longer than usual. Again morning is a busy time so decide early on who goes in first and roughly how long before the other can get the bathroom. Also after a meal try not to take too long because the other will most likely need to get in there as well. But no matter what routine you have established if you are in the bathroom, and someone else needs to go, you need to finish up as quickly as you can and get out so they can get in. That's just common sense. The important thing is to consider the differing needs of the other and then arrive at a mutually satisfactory routine. Women in general need more time, especially in the morning; it might be best to let the male part of your situation do his thing first. The bottom line, is, try to put yourself in the other's shoes. Talk to the other person. Let them know what you need and ask them for what they need.

Space issues

For men, one of the most difficult aspects about sharing a bathroom with a woman is the sudden lack of space in their formerly barren bathrooms. Women generally put in a whole lot of stuff starting from makeup and body washes to blow-dryers and tampons on their bathroom shelves while men usually can make do with shaving and bathing essentials. Consequently men may feel crowded out in a shard bathroom while women may think it is selfish to deny them room for their stuff. The secret to avoiding space wars is to create and use storage cleverly. Try storing countertop items—blow dryer, makeup bag—beneath the sink. It may be a pain to pull them out and put them back every day, but you're sharing a home now, so at least give your man a place to put his toothbrush. Use covered storage to put away tampons, Monistat, and anything else that's unpleasant to look at.

Cleaning Up

But the issue that perhaps is the biggest bone of contention while sharing a bathroom is cleanliness. Everyone has different levels of what they consider to be acceptable cleanliness. And like it or not you will have to come to an understanding on that with your roomie or partner. Each of you can clean the bathroom after daily use or take turns on weekends for a thorough cleanup. Try not to leave clothing or other personal effects behind. To maintain good relations, pick up after yourself. This applies to clothes, toilet paper, tampons and any other "thing" you know might bother the other person in the bathroom. Women should especially take care to see that there are no hairs clogging the drain or strewn on the sink just as they should ensure that tampons are properly flushed away. On the other hand if you are a guy, if and you have a little problem with aim, you should consider either sitting yourself or learning to clean up each and every time. Also, regardless if you are male or female, if you inadvertently or otherwise, cause something disgusting to appear in the bathroom during your visit, it is imperative that you clean it up before you vacate – such points are non-negotiable. In the long run though if one of you doesn't care if the bathroom is clean, there is nothing the other can do about it but clean it to their own specifications or hire help and split the bill.

Respect each other’s privacy

One of the most important issues when sharing a bathroom is privacy. When the other person is using the bathroom, try not to hurry him or her. Unless you are hopping around outside the door needing to go, let the other person be. What he or she is doing in there none of your business and that person alone is the one to make the decision as to how long he/she will take. Trying to hurry the other due to control issues, will never get you anywhere. Again most people prefer to do their business behind closed doors while others are more relaxed on this point. The main thing here is to respect each other’s preferences. If you're female and it bothers you when the male person you are sharing your bathroom with doesn't close the door, walk away. If you want to be left alone with your privacy, then respect his right to do his things his way.

Who will restock

For things of shared use, restocking can become an issue while sharing a bathroom. In this matter like most things in life, common sense rules. If you use the last of the toilet paper on the roll, it's your job to put on a new one – it’s as simple as that. Making this a control issue or using an empty toilet paper rack to get back at your partner after last night’s fight not only reeks of immaturity but is the fastest way to sour a relationship. It's doubly rude when you and the other person both know you know you should restock, and you still don't. If you share other supplies, such as shampoo or soap, the same rule applies. Yet another problem is that of diminishing stocks. If there's something you don't want your partner or flat-mate to use, either let him/her know ahead of time or retaliate – if he/she has been using your $75 cleansing milk, you might find that some of his/her stuff is worth using, too.

Finally there is the matter of the toilet seat. Many a relationship has started to unravel on that point or has proved to the proverbial last straw on the camel’s back. Men always leave it up and women hate that. It would be nice if guys could remember to put the lid back down after and if women did not make such a fuss about it. In the normal run of things, this would matter so much unless leaving the toilet seat up or down is made into a statement of control and power. Sometimes men designate themselves as "owner of the toilet seat," and make its "normal" position open—and up. Although a relatively small issue, control struggles like these damage self-esteem and wreck a relationship beyond repair. So unless keeping the toilet seat up or down is a symptom of deeper relationship issues, try and arrive at a mutual understanding on the matter. If you're male, do your best. If you're female, you might try putting the lid down after he is through. If you are sharing a home and the bathroom, the least you can do is to show a little consideration for each other.