Before I list the rules, I would like to say one thing first and foremost: Rules or no rules, finding the right people is the most important thing. It is about people, people, people!
1. All of the following rules shall be discussed, understood and agreed upon in advance.
2. We shall discuss, understand and agree upon in advance practical matters like the lease terms, living arrangements (which room belongs to whom, etc.), lease breakage, etc.
3. I shall have my own room and bathroom. I need my private space.
4. As far as possible, we shall try to maintain the apartment/house as a "home". That includes sharing good company, cordial conversation and meals.
5. There will be no meat or eggs (in direct form) cooked or consumed in the house. Eggs in indirect form - as in cookies, pastries, etc. - are acceptable.
6. All shared areas (living room, kitchen, dining area) shall be immaculately clean at all times. Immaculate also means, "a place for everything and everything in its place!" This is applicable for everything including footwear, CDs, shopping bags, magazines, letters, miscellaneous papers, etc.
7. We shall work out a schedule for equal division of labor for cooking, cleaning, shopping. We shall stick to this schedule without requiring explicit reminders from me. I don't want to remind someone and feel like I am nagging them. We can help each other out during those inevitable times when we cannot stick to the schedule. During such times, we shall give as much advance notice as possible.
8. All monetary accounts for shared expenses shall be meticulously maintained. We shall be accurate and fair, and allow no errors of approximation or "adjustment" in this process.
9. Any shared items (tools, furniture, etc.) shall be returned back to their proper place, immediately after use. We shall not leave them lying around haphazardly.
10. Any left-over food items, shared or otherwise, shall be put in the refrigerator immediately after we finish eating.
11. No food shall be left uncovered on kitchen counters or dining table. There shall be no food pieces or crumbs left lying around on floors, kitchen counters or stove tops.
12. We shall have a clear distinction between cooking items and eating items. Items such as vessels, plates, cups, spoons which are used for cooking, shall never be used to eat with or eat out of. Items with which we eat such as plates, cups, spoons, forks, knives, etc. shall never be used for cooking.
13. There shall be certain spoons, glasses, plates which shall be designated as mine. Nobody shall use them under any circumstances. Roommates are welcome to designate their own personal items.
14. We shall use serving spoons to transfer food to our plates or cups. We shall not do so with our bare hands as much as possible. If touching with bare hands is not avoidable (eg: to pick up a piece of fruit), we shall do so in such a manner that our hands don't touch that remaining pieces. We shall definitely not use our bare hands to break a piece of pakora or any other snack on a common plate, pop half in our mouth and leave the other half on the plate for somebody else!
15. We shall never spit in or wash our mouths in the kitchen sink. We use that sink to wash food items such as vegetables, fruits, etc. We also wash cooking vessels there. It is not proper to spit into that sink. We shall use the sinks in the bathrooms to wash our mouth.
16. There shall be no "borrowing" of each other's items (such as money, blankets, pillows, gadgets) without prior request and permission. Very personal items such as articles of clothing shall never be borrowed or lent. Please let's not even think of asking to borrow them.
17. We shall not mix our laundry. If I have left my clothes in the washer or dryer and the roommate wants to use it, I would appreciate it if he called me to remove them, rather than he removing and dumping them on the dining table.
18. We shall not open each other's mail. We shall avoid listening to each other's voicemail as far as possible.
19. We shall throw trash in the trash can. We shall not let pieces of paper, including used napkins and paper towels, lying all around the house. We shall dispose trash regularly. We shall not leave the filled trash bag right outside our door. We shall take it out of the house, straight to the trash bins.
20. Last, but not least, we shall settle monthly accounts soon after the end of the month, preferably before the fifth of the next month. We shall not wait until the 20th of the next month to pay up what we owe from the previous month!
Update on April 2nd, 2006: Did not like what I have written above? Before you decide to comment, kindly consider the following:
- I did not just wake up one morning and make up these rules out of thin air. They were born out of necessity. Most of them have been made after something bad happened. Meaning, the rules came out of bad experiences.
- I don't like or enjoy making up rules, or asking other grown-up adults to follow them. Everytime a rule is broken, it takes more effort and energy for me to correct another grown-up adult, than the effort it would have taken for that adult to simply follow the rule in the first place. So no, I don't enjoy these rules myself.
- Some of the rules I have listed above may seem extreme. Before you just react to it emotionally, try and imagine the worst possible thing that might happen if that rule was not followed. Then you will realize why it is necessary to have that rule.
- When two or more guys live together in a house, it can turn into a pig-sty very, very quickly. Now, some guys may not mind living in a pig-sty. I am not one of them. You need proper rules and good practices to ensure that a house is clean and comfortable to live in like humans.
- Yes, I know that non-vegetarian food can be delicious. Yes, I know that some people don't mind sharing a bathroom. Yes, I know there are all kinds of people in the world with their own preferences, and you have your own preferences too. Similarly, I have my own preferences. So, let's not get into the "you are wrong, I am right" kind of arguments.
- Remember that while these rules may seem too extreme or outlandish to you, there are people who follow these rules naturally, without anybody telling them. There are people who live like this without any issues. Respect them just as you would expect to be respected yourself.
Now, if you still have something to say, go ahead and comment.