Having roommates can be one of the most fun things you ever do. It also could be (at the same time even) one of the most exasperating things you ever do. With them you can rent nicer apartments for a lot less money and maybe even have enough left over for a very deluxe cable package. Without them, you can have whatever schedule you want without bothering anyone. Think through these five things before you start looking for your new flat mate.

The Pros for Roommates:

  1. You can split the bill for pretty much everything. From rent, to cable, to the electricity bill, having a roommate (or better yet, several) is easily the most cost-efficient option. If everyone gets along, you can even start splitting the costs of expensive items that both of you will use, like a game console. Having a roommate also makes things like carpooling or taking out-of-town trips easier.
  2. Instant friends. Especially if you're new to a city or a neighborhood, this can be crucial. This is someone you can go out or hang out at home with. You probably don't want to be in each other's space every waking minute, but it's nice to know that they're there.
  3. They bring their own furniture. Even if you come in with nothing but an air mattress, chances are at least one of your roommates will have saved up quite a few belongings or will pitch in over time to help decorate the place. At the very least, you have an extra person to help drag the sofa upstairs.

The Cons for Roommates:
  1. There's a lot of pressure to getting along with roommates. If two of you simply don't get a long, it can make the rest of time you have on your lease very, very uncomfortable for everyone. It's important to set up boundaries quickly. Even if it's an uncomfortable talk to have in the first week of living together, it might go best if you break down your arrangement into these topics:  Who pays for what and how much (portion of the rent, bills etc.) , Who is willing to pay for what in the future (pets, electronics, decorations etc.) , What chores everyone one is responsible for and what chores only certain people are responsible for (Example: Dishes are for everybody but changing the cat litter box belongs to the cat's owner). If a roommate doesn't stick to these general boundaries, it can make a huge hassle for everyone else.
  2. Sometimes you really do just want to be alone. Say you come home after a rough day of work, and all you can think about is flopping down in front of the TV and having a few hours of mindless quiet time. You come home and there's six guests in your house, all shouting, eating your food and playing music. Your roommate thought they'd have the party here tonight! Or you could be a night owl, making noise all night while your roommate tries to sleep. Even with the best of intentions, you have still got to roll with these sort of punches, and if you can't, perhaps it's time to look for your own place.

Keep It Cozy, Keep it Chic

Watching the seasons change outside your window can serve as a sensible reminder that we too must adapt to the weather. Even extravagant apartments can lose their luster if they are not well prepared for the icy winter weather. Cold drafts, chilly bedrooms, and heat hemorrhages can kill more than your patience; they can also kill your wallet. So now, amongst the dazzling spectrum of foliage and leaves falling outside your apartment window, it’s time to buckle down and bundle up.

Keeping your apartment warm does not, however, necessitate lowering your fashion standards by erecting drab or frumpy heat coverings. Some of these more frugal methods tend to be quite practical, but utilitarian means generally lead to unfortunate appearances, i.e. duct-tape prom dresses or spray-painted cars. Let’s take a look at some ways to stay warm while also keeping your cool.

Heat tends to escape your apartment in two ways: gaps and windows. The former can often be alleviated with a quick and assertive call to the super. The latter is generally fixed by the creation of a heavy cellophane façade buttressed by clear tape around the window frames. Remember, we are trying to avoid eye-sores! Thermal resistant curtains may be a better idea, and when coupled with conservative weather stripping, offers both a practical and fashionable solution when battling the weather.

Keeping unused areas of the apartment closed, closets included, can maximize the effectiveness of your heater. Unblocking radiators is also a good idea, as is strategically placing larger furniture in front of the draftier windows (only with permission from your Feng Shui guru).

You should also utilize programmable thermostats. This way you can find your preferred temperature and have it waiting for you when you return from work or school. It is recommendable to lower the temperature while you are out, especially if your apartment tends to leak. Using space heaters can be a good idea, as can running your ceiling fans in reverse to promote a better distribution of heat.

So man the fireplace, light some candles (cinnamon apple scented for best results), and cozy up with that special person or pet; you’re ready to enjoy watching the light blanket of snow gathering outside your windows from the comfort of your warm and attractive apartment.

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