Managing Clutter in a Crowded House

When all six of us college students decided to move under one roof, it wasn’t as hard to manage as you may think. We were starting out for the first time living on our own, so between us, we had a lamp, three spoons, and a ratty couch cushion. Of course we had room when we first moved in. 

But after a while, things start to accrue. Some of us are collectors, and some are more appropriately named “hoarders.” So, what do you do when you have a bunch of college students trying to make space under one roof? You make a few rules. 

Keeping the Kitchen Uncluttered

While our kitchen is big enough to seat and feed plenty of people, it’s not exactly huge, by any standards. Because of that, we have to deal with the space we have, and that requires a little coordination. 

While dietary restrictions mean we don’t always eat together, we try to rotate cooking and cleaning schedules. That minimizes the number of pots and pans to be washed, as well as the amount of time we’re all cooking. 

Typically, those of us with special diets cook together. For example, Henry and I are both vegan, which means we don’t eat with the others all the time. However, we can cook together, and Candace, who’s a vegetarian, sometimes cooks and eats with us. The fridge may still be packed, but eating together keeps it bearable. 

Shared Living Spaces and Rules

Our other living spaces bear the most clutter, of course. We all have fun things we love to display, shelves of books for the whole house, and of course, plenty of movies. However, with six people, that gets cluttered fast. 

I thought about getting my dream job at or near Halperin Law Firm, which would be a long drive away. Did I want to take all this stuff with me? Of course not! So, we sat down as a group and talked out what would and wouldn’t go in the living room. 

In the end, we made a rule—if you bring something in, it or something else must go out. For example, if I bought a candle for the house, it needed to be stored, or something candle-sized would need to go. Fortunately, it keeps the house from bursting at the seams. The bedrooms may be a different story, but at least the living room is manageable, right? 

A Fine Balance between Cozy and Chaotic

I won’t lie to you all—things do get a little cluttered, gross, and hectic in our shared living spaces. When we’re in crunch time for finals, staying up late to study, or just unwinding with some weekend football, there’s a chance that at least one of us forgot to clean up our dishes or straighten the throw blanket. 

There’s also a chance that one of us brings home some cool new books, a piece of furniture, or a trinket for the living room. Sometimes, you have to sacrifice minimalism for something a little cozy. 

At the end of the day, what you and your roommates or family consider clutter is completely up to you. Maintaining a steady level of junk is tough when there’s six of you under one roof, but we manage to keep the chaos in check. Sometimes, it’s hard to tell the difference between feeling cozy and feeling claustrophobic, but sometimes, it just seems to work.

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