real life

Share house living: "I found something growing in my fridge once"

This post is sponsored by VIVA®






I found things growing in my fridge once.

Looking back at the trail of destruction, I think the growth originated with the cucumber in the bottom drawer. But there was an unrecognisable zucchini and a few soft tomatoes that had kind of fused together in there also so there was no way to know for sure where it all started.

Ladies and gentleman, welcome to the world of share houses. Where four people share a fridge and there’s no way to know who’s responsible for that cucumber/pumpkin/seven-week old Indian takeaway.

At 26 years old, I’m now up to my fifth share house. And over the years it’s been an interesting (sometimes filthy) experience, which – like every household – has been filled with shoes left in lounge rooms and a collective reluctance to do any task requiring a brush and pan.

There was the house with the outdoor bathroom. I lasted six months there. Then there was the 100-year-old apartment where the vacuum cleaner was used more to suck up spiders than it was to pick up dust.

But my favourite has to be the modern share house where a certain freakishly neat housemate would send tut-tut text messages to house members with pictures of the dirty knives that were left in the sink.

Over coffee a few days ago, a friend recounted a tale of cleaning her house’s fruit bowl. “It was quite a deep fruit bowl and for a while it was quite full,” she said. “One day we decided to clean it and when we dug to the bottom we found a pear that was so mouldy, it literally fell apart when we touched it.”

Another friend talked of trying to deny responsibility when she “borrowed” a spoonful of her housemate’s leftover tandoori chicken and dropped it on the white carpet.

On the opposite end of the spectrum there’s the household of seven who implemented a star chart system to monitor duties. And then there’s my work colleague who every day comes into work complaining that her Pol Pot esque housemate would leave her notes on the whiteboard every day asking her to mop the floors.


So how do you implement a cleaning system in a house where there’s no parent in charge? And how do you get anyone to take responsibility for their mess?

I’ve found it’s an ongoing battle. Every once in a while the washing’s done, the dishes are dried and stacked and there are no weird smells coming from the pantry floor. But most of the time? It’s like any other house – a shoe here, a zooper dooper wrapper there and something sticky spilled across the kitchen bench.

The good news is it gets better as you get older. And after five months into my most recent share house, I’m yet to discover a piece of mouldy fruit behind the couch….

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Have you ever lived in a share house?  Is there ever a fair way to delegate the cleaning?