A little incentive can get college roommates to clean up

Dear Readers: We recently printed a column about messy college roommates and asked readers to send in their comments. So, here are just a few of the hundreds we received:
ULiving with three other guys, different class schedules, work schedules, etc., sometimes made it difficult to keep the apartment clean. Our solution: We found a cheap cleaning service to come once every three weeks. Divided by four, the cost was not that bad. The cleaning service would clean but not be "mothers" (e.g., laundry on the floor, the floor doesn't get vacuumed; dirty dishes in the kitchen, it doesn't get cleaned). However, we would still be charged for it because of our contract. That was an incentive. We financed this by selling pop to ourselves. Each of us would take a turn buying a couple of cases, and as we took one, we put a quarter in a cup. If any friends wanted pop, they learned to do the same. You'd be surprised at how those quarters added up. We later learned that girls liked it when they came to a guy's apartment and it was clean -- we had no cleaning problems after that. Gary in Oklahoma
ULive with people who live the same lifestyle as you. If you are clean, don't live with a slob. If you go to bed early, don't live with someone who stays up late. It seems like common sense, but it's amazing how much you learn about someone you live with. Shawn Zellman, via e-mail
UMy roommate and I had a great solution to the "who cleans up" problem: We set a time each week for cleaning and agreed to treat it like a mandatory meeting. We couldn't plan dates, events or anything else during that time. And then we cleaned. Alice in Nebraska
UAfter four years of college and six years of the Navy, I had my share of roommates, some good and some BAD. A person can only take so much, and here's how to deal with the neat person's ordeal. She should pick up all their stray stuff, open their bedroom doors and just toss the stuff in. Keep doing this until they complain. When they do, remind them that they must not mind their stuff all over the floor, since that's where it was when she found it. If they don't like it? The door's that way. Life's too short to have to deal with selfish pigs who think only of themselves. Sharon in Texas
UMy sophomore year of college, I shared a two-bedroom apartment with three other girls. Dishes were my biggest peeve, because the girls would leave pots of food in the sink or on the stove until they molded or I cleaned them. I went on a 10-day field trip and came back cold, wet and tired to find that they had bought new silverware and were eating off paper plates because every dish in the house was dirty. I washed all the dishes, put them away, duct-taped the dishwasher shut and wrote "out of order" on it. I told them it had broken, and they believed me for the next six months, till we moved out. They actually washed their own dishes for the next two weeks or so, and even after that, they couldn't pile up as much. Stephanie in Indiana
Thanks to all the readers who took the time to drop us a line on this college-roommate issue. Heloise
XSend a money-saving or timesaving hint to Heloise, P.O. Box 795000, San Antonio, TX 78279-5000, or you can fax it to (210) HELOISE or e-mail it to Heloise@Heloise.com.
King Features Syndicate

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