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Keeping It Comfy: Climate Control For Shared Spaces


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By Seline Deschamps

Now that we’re changing seasons again, it’s time to switch out your wardrobe, dust off the windowsills, and get all that nice fresh air inside! Spring is a great time to clean out your apartment, and get rid of all that stuffy clutter we seem to attract all winter long. Spring is a great time to make a new start in your apartment, whether it’s reorganizing, repainting, or re-vamping your décor.

The best part of spring is that nearly every day is a good day to open the windows. Mild, breezy air is agreeable to just about everybody.

On the other hand, once spring makes its way out the door, we’re into summer, and another extreme on the thermometer. With that in mind, let’s all take the lift in our spirits to heart, and think about how we’re all going to get through the summer. After all, we all have different heat tolerances, and summer heat can take its toll on the best roommate relationships. Here are a few things to think about:

-Make sure you have clear and open communication

A lot of people think that keeping things in is the best approach to roommate diplomacy! Nope. And there are plenty of ways to communicate when you’re feeling uncomfortable without being confrontational. Make sure everybody feels comfortable letting each other know when they’re feeling too hot or too cool.

-Costs

One big thing to think about with climate control is cost. If you’re one of those people who needs a bit more help from A/C or heating through the year, you shouldn’t feel bad per se. However, you should consider whether it’s a need or a want. If you’re just more comfortable with A/C, that’s a choice you’re making. If you’ve got a medical condition that’s aggravated by extreme heat, it’s a need.

When you simply want your place to be cooler, make sure you talk through the cost of A/C with your roommates before you crank that dial. You might find that your roommates aren’t comfortable paying extra on the electric bill .

If you’re splitting utilities with people who don’t use A/C, the most cost effective solution is having a window unit in your room. You’ll only cool the space you need, without wasting energy and money on the rest of the house. Are you the only one using A/C? Offer to pay a few bucks more each month. It’s only fair, and you’ll save yourself some tension when it comes to paying the bills. Make sure you’re getting a good deal on your A/C unit as well.

-Adaptation

This one’s a bit easier in the winter, but it’s worth thinking about for the summer as well. Look at it this way: there are three people in an apartment. It’s getting cold outside, and the apartment is regularly down to 55 degrees. You might not find that comfortable. However, others might be just fine. In fact, many people like the cooler climate inside. In this situation, it makes sense for the person feeling chilly to put on some sweaters. You can always layer, and that makes everybody happy. In the summer, things are a bit different. If you can’t tolerate the heat, your roommates should work with you. After all, there’s only so many clothes you can take off!

-Compromise

If some of you feel more comfortable in warm environs, and others like it cooler, there’s no reason to have to choose one extreme. Pick a nice middle zone. Most people are comfortable between 65 and 70. 50 and 80 can stress people out, so try to keep it to that comfy sweet spot.

To save costs, you can always err on the side of the weather for each season. Keep it a bit cooler in the winter, and a bit warmer in the summer. That’ll make you more comfortable outside the house, since you won’t be going through a big shift.

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Living As A Team:

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By Jason Rodriguez

The old adage goes, it’s not what you know, but who you know. Any great businessperson will tell you that the most important asset for any company is its people. Having a strong bond with your roommates doesn’t mean you have to be close friends. But you should be able to trust each other, rely on each other when you need to, and keep everything safe and comfortable for everyone. That’s why I want to encourage everybody to make some serious investments in getting a good connection down pat with your flatmates.

Here are some things that have worked really well for me and my apartment:

-Weekly meetings: You don’t have to schedule these, but we’ve found that we all get together one night when we’re all free. We just check in, talk about life things, and if anyone has issues they want to deal with, that’s the time. Weekly sitdowns are a good way to have shared bonding time, and toss ideas around for making things better.

-Shared tasks, cleaning together: We’ve also found that sharing cleaning duties is the best approach. I know lots of people rotate, but if you all work together at once, nobody feels like they’re doing a duty. You all cheer each other on, and can problem solve. If any messes are a particular roommate’s problem, you can address it right then without having it burning in your mind for a week.

-Brainstorming, make lists together: I know you’re not exactly changing the world with any apartment, but I think it’s super important to keep everybody excited. You all should feel like you’re on a mission together. What we like to do is check in at meetings, and come up with new ideas for improvements and projects to make our space nicer. This is also a big plus with landlords. Any good landlord should be grateful that renters are excited about improving things. In the past year, we started window boxes, re-did the kitchen shelving, got our sinks fixed, and cleared out the entry way to make storage space and have a place for packages to get dropped off.

-Chalkboards, messages, and group threads: this isn’t a big deal, just a way to keep everyone connected. If you’re like my house, you probably all work different shifts. That means you don’t really see each other. Having some way to leave messages between meetings is a good way to keep tabs on what everyone’s up to and how they’re feeling.

We also like to have a calendar on the wall, so we can all mark off when bills come in the mail, when they’re due, and when we each put in our share. That keeps everything on track.

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