Sunday 11th April 2021

Tips For Living In A Shared Household. #LifeThisWeek 4/52. 2017.13.

Tips For Living In A Shared Household. #LifeThisWeek 4/52. 2017.13.

This week, 47 years ago, my parents drove the 6 hours from Sydney to Barraba with 20 year old me, my luggage, teaching needs and more to check out where I would be teaching and where I might live!

I was more excited than nervous. This was me, getting ready for what I couldn’t wait to do! Teach. The school was located about 30 minutes drive from where my boyfriend of 3 years had just started his new job after graduating with his Ag Science degree, and we would likely meet up most weekends! Even though I didn’t have a car.

Sweet! But, where would I live? In those days single teachers often found accommodation in a person’s house as a boarder but I was not 100% taken with that notion. The school was open and that I got to meet the DP who was getting ready for school starting that week and asked him about accommodation. He mentioned the teacher share house just down the road from school where there was a vacancy. We drove to the house (see photo from screen shot!) met the already arrived 2 teachers (one was yet to come) and I was offered the place. All in the space of an afternoon.

Looking back, and speaking to Dad only recently about this whole experience, apparently Mum found it all pretty traumatic leaving her daughter behind. I recall her helping me get the bedroom sorted (my part of it as it was a shared one – the front room seen in the pic) and just being ‘Mum’ about it all. She cried on the way home Dad tells me. Oh. I found the truth of how that feels when my daughter left home aged 21.

This post one year ago is about my first school as a teacher.

Back to the topic! I had NO idea what it would be like to live in a shared household with 3 somewhat older women. We were all on the same staff of the K-12 school. However, I was the spoiled only daughter who had a social life as her priority rather than anything else to do with chores so I think, over time, I did not do well as a contributor to the house.

I learned to cook spaghetti bolognaise as we did have a cooking roster and I got some help there.
I did keep my room tidy. I used to save up my washing and take it home to Mum’s when I drove down to Sydney for a weekend every fortnight or so with the DP who would make me drive part of the way (and back) as he was visiting his fiancee.

My relationship with the boyfriend fizzled in Term One, so I became much more interested in socialising and holding Saturday night parties! The other housemates were generally away on the weekends. Once I met my now-husband in the final term, I did nothing. Except be lovelorn when he wasnt there and we married by the following year. I learned that I was a NOT a good household sharer. Marriage though was a BIG lesson!!

Thanks for my Facebook friends for their tips!

Tips for Living In A Shared Household.

  1. Don’t live with Denyse when she is young and in love (my tip)
  2. Work out from the outset whether you’re going to do shared meals or fend for yourself.
  3. Allocate cupboard and fridge space accordingly. If doing shared meals, allocate a budget and draft meal plan.
  4. Use your words. Literally.Don’t get in a huff with your house mates when they don’t do things your way.
  5. Spoons in the sink when there’s a dishwasher two feet away can drive you mental.
  6. Hold regular house meetings.
  7. Work out who is an introvert and who is an extrovert. Make plans accordingly. In one share house I lived in, where people were incredibly busy and social, we instituted a weekly no guests night.
  8. Live alone.
  9. Some people suck at grocery shopping. Train them.
  10. If you own anything precious, don’t keep it in shared areas. It will likely get broken.
  11. Oh God, just don’t. The stories I could tell about my nightmare 4 months.
  12. Set ground rules – who does what, and what items are shared and which are your own.I think talking about things as they come up is great, so they don’t become bigger problems.
  13. And do fun things together – like house dinners and nights out, because they’re your new family. I loved my share house experiences for the most part!
  14. If you find yourself house sharing in middle age, as I have, share with a man. Living with another woman was too stressful and it’s never fair when both are set in their ways. The dramas were awful. Never again. My last two housemates have been men and it’s worked really well for all of us.
  15. Make them clean. Don’t just clean because no one else is doing it and it’s driving you slightly mental. You’ll just get resentful that you’re the only one who cleans anything.

So, have you ever lived in a shared household?

How was it for you?

What tips would you add?

Thanks for sharing!


Here are the rules for the link-up “Life This Week” is a link up that runs every Monday and remains live for until Thursday at 5 p.m.during that week.
* You can link up something old or new, just come on in.
* Please add just ONE post each week!
* Feel free to go with the prompt for the week to add your ‘take’ on the prompt. Or not.
* Please do stay to comment on my post as I always reply and it’s a bloggy thing to do!
* Check out what others are up to by leaving a comment because we all love our comments, right!
* Add a link back to this blog in your post somewhere. I don’t have a ‘button’ so a link in text is fine!
* THANK you for linking up today! Do come back next week.   Next week’s prompt is “Back To Routine”.


I also link up here with Alicia and here with Kell on Mondays.




  1. LOL – tip (1).
    I love hearing about people’s group house experiences. My post today has a link to a post I wrote 4 years ago about my “Snow White and the 7 Dwarfs” experience.
    I guess these shared accommodations helped shape us.

    Thanks for hosting !

    • Thanks Leanne. I guess they do! We actually did another shared household thing when our then married daughter and her husband moved in with us for a while and I soon found out the old adage is true ‘two cooks cannot share a kitchen.’

  2. I was pretty lucky with flatmates. I actually met hubby through my 2nd flatmate. The rest you could say is history.

    I’m linking and running due to the fact I’ve worked overnight which has me heading to bed at 4am. I will be back to catch up on everyone’s posts after I’ve had some sleep.

    • Interesting isnt it? I know that many a relationship has flourished out of shared accommodation and meeting people directly or indirectly that way. Thanks for commenting…and take care!!

  3. In my 1st share house I could identify with what you said- I was young, in love & had no idea. In the next one, my flat mate was young, in love & had no idea.

  4. I’ve lived in several share households and my advice is – Don’t!

    I had several horror stories about my time in shared households and I definitely like my own space!

  5. Sharing a house is a skill in itself. At times good and at times challenging.

  6. Tip 1! Love it.

    I lived alone my first move out of home. So I don’t really feel qualified to give advice this week. Oh well. At least I have more summer memories to share.

    SSG xxx

  7. I’ve never shared unless it was a partner, Denyse. I can imagine it was a culture shock at the time. My children have both shared with others and I suppose if you can set some ground rules then life should be okay Thanks for hosting the linkup and I enjoyed reading about your experience in your first shared house. Have a lovely day.

    • Thank you Sue. Sharing with a partner can have its challenges too but sharing with those who you may not know well moreso. Still, as another reader commented it is all part of life’s experiences!

  8. The closest I’ve come to shared households is living with a few friends families when I first moved back to Australia. Then I went out on my own, then my now-husband moved in with me. I would not be a good share house person 🙂 I need my own space and while I’m not a deliberately bad guest if I’m elsewhere, it stresses me.

    • It’s got to be something you are either made for or not for it to work I think. I also see that the people need to be compatible as some have said here. I too find it uncomfortable not to be in my own space these days (and probably all my life) and prefer ‘home’ with just me and hub. You have had an interesting and varied life!

  9. Ugh. Shared house. So many dramas (but so much fun too!). I love tip one! Interesting on sharing with a man. I would have thought the other way around…there you go. I’ll try to write something for next week as I’m officially back and blogging then.

    • Nice to see you here again Lydia. Yes, my friend’s point was a good one as I have read of her experiences and know this is the case for her. Maybe it’s a female thing kitchen-wise that sharing does not go well.

  10. inthegoodbooksblog says:

    I have never lived in a shared household. I went straight from my childhood home, where I lived until my mid-20’s when I shifted into the home my husband and I now share with our three daughters.

  11. I shared a house with a friend when I first moved out of home which was the closest I came to living in a sharehouse arrangement. We got on well and are still friends nearly 20 years later so I guess it was a success!

    • That IS a good news story Kirsty and obviously compatibility with the two of you worked and continues to flourish as a friendship.

  12. I have lived in many shared houses over the years and it has been great fun!

  13. I lived in a few share houses in my younger years with varying degrees of success. Some feral, some not. I think it’s good for character building and learning to live with other people but I would never do it again – even the thought of a shared wall makes me shudder.

    • I hear you but I also understand it can be out of necessity. I think that we all like our own space most of the time. I know I do!! Yes, I understand about the shared wall too.

  14. I shared a house in the country for my first couple of years of working (I was a dental therapist in the primary schools) and it was mostly a great experience. I must admit to preferring it when I had the place to myself and getting married was a great way to leave that lifestyle behind!

    • Oh wow, learning new things about you! I recall the travelling dental teams in the NSW bush and whilst they were often not popular they were very much needed. That is an interesting part of your life shared! Thanks Leanne.

  15. Lovely tips! I tried living with other friends too when we first arrived in Australia and my biggest tip is… save up enough money to be able to move out. XD

    I realized that it’s not easy living with other peeps aside from my immediate family in general, so move out when you can if you feel the need.


    • I think we all love our independence more than we realise as adults!! Thank you so much for telling us your story and for commenting here for the first time! Denyse

  16. I’ve linked up belatedly but I’ve basically lived alone since 1991, so the shared house thing is a distant memory (though 12 of us did live upstairs at the Australian Embassy in East Timor for 16mths or so in 1999-2000). I called that the group house from hell!

    • Thanks Deb for linking! Oh I think living with that many colleagues would be exhausting and OTT but then again, it was what it was then. I was boss of a school with a lot of Air Force personnel who were over there at the time you write about. I had to help one family in particular as both parents were serving with the hospital and mum or dad would be there, then come home. Kids found it hard.

  17. Sharing a house when you’re young is totally different to when you’re older! Less partying for sure. Even though I now share a house with my wonderful family(hubbs and kids), I quickly get sick of cleaning up after them!

    • I like that point! Yes as young ‘uns the freedom is part of the attraction! Sharing a house with the family..has its excellent points and then there is the ‘cleaning up’.

  18. Those are some great tips Denyse! My parents too struggled letting a 21 year old me leave the country…I’d made them promise not to cry at the airport and mum didn’t. But I found out later, after I left, they cried as did my dad who I have never seen shed a tear.

    As for the share-house, I don’t think I’ve ever lived with anyone where we’ve shared the cooking {barring partners and the last housemate I had}. And, I must also add, for the last year and a bit I lived alone and I actually quite liked it. It’s nice not having to worry about other people and to have your own space. Plus, as an introvert, it’s awesome. I enjoyed writing to this prompt! 🙂

    • You were a trailblazer in your family it seems. It’s interesting how our parents ‘want’ this independence for us, but it is always hard when it happens. I recall being that way – pragmatic and realistic – when our daughter left home at 21 to move in with her boyfriend. However, one day, driving along it HIT me. She had left home and life would not be the same again. That was when my tears fell! I think I would prefer to be alone (and I guess, if I outlive my hub that will the case) than sharing ever again. Glad you enjoyed the prompt! Denyse