Living with family can be difficult enough sometimes. It’s not always easy sharing your personal space with others, especially if you like to have things a certain way.
Often in life, however, situations arise that can be even more challenging. For example, if you come upon hard times and need to move in with your parents, a sibling, or other family members. Alternatively, you may be extending an olive branch to family members who need a place to stay, offering your home as a residence.
In these situations, things can get tense incredibly quickly. Learning how to live with new people who have their own habits, quirks, and lifestyles can be an uphill battle. We’re here to help you survive, maintain your sanity, and keep the peace.
Keep reading for everything you need to know about living with family.
Make Sure Everyone Knows Their Place
It sounds authoritative but everyone in the household needs to understand their place. Think of it as running a castle. Castles can’t function with two kings or multiple queens.
The owner of the home should have the ultimate say in regards to the house rules. This includes things like adopting new pets, noise levels throughout the day and night, and more.
This is incredibly important for keeping the peace. If everyone is allowed to set rules, chaos will ensue.
Everyone Needs a Private Space
Whether you’re living with parents, inlaws, or other family members, you need to make sure everyone has a private place to retreat. Each house member needs to have a place that is theirs and theirs alone. The only exemption would be young siblings who share a room.
If you have limited space in your house, consider building an accessory dwelling unit, also referred to as mother-in-law suites and accessory apartments. Check out https://actonadu.com/blog/the-ultimate-guide-to-pre-approved-adu-plans-in-san-jose for more guidance. These extra units provide great privacy and the necessary distance for adults living together.
Set Boundaries for Yourself
Regardless of if you’re the guest or the host, when living in multi-family homes, you need to set boundaries for yourself. While you may feel obligated to spend time with the other people in the house, recognize that you need your alone time. Otherwise, you will start feeling overwhelmed and on-edge.
This includes speaking up for yourself. For example, if someone else in the house listens to their TV or music too loudly while you’re trying to sleep, it’s okay to ask them to turn their electronics down. Just remember to be polite, it’s their home too.
If you have kids and you’re living with your parents, this may mean reminding Grandma and Grandpa that you are your child’s parent, not them. That being said, your child is your responsibility, including their messes and any other problems they cause.
Spend Time Connecting as a Family
Though it’s important to have alone time, it’s also a good idea to have at least one night a week where the entire household can come together. We recommend eating dinner together and following up with board games, movies, or a TV series.
This time helps people remember the love and respect they share with one another. When bouncing around each other in a multi-family home, it’s easy to focus on things that annoy you about other people.
If necessary, this time can also be used to talk about issues around the house. You can talk things out and set new rules, etc.
Equally Divide Daily Chores
One of the most important factors for keeping the peace in multi-generational homes is making sure everyone does their part to keep things clean. Chores add up quickly when you have a large group of people living in a single home. Things like taking out the garbage, washing dishes, cleaning floors, and cleaning the kitchen will need to be done daily.
Create a chore list for everyone in the house, giving them specific duties for a week or month at a time. To keep things fair, the chore obligations can rotate to different members of the house each cycle.
Create a Set of Rules for the House
There needs to be a set of hard-and-fast rules in the house. This is vital for keeping the peace and making sure everyone stays in line. Though some of these rules may feel constrictive to certain members of the house, they’re in effect to make sure everyone feels respected and at-home.
Common house rules include:
- Cleaning up after yourself in the kitchen
- Removing your clothes from the laundry room as soon as they’re finished drying
- Not leaving towels or dirty laundry in the bathroom after showering
- Keeping the house free of your clutter
- Keeping noise levels down after a certain time
- And more
The goal is to make sure that everyone is as comfortable as possible and not stepping on anyone else’s toes.
Be Open and Honest
One of the most important things about living with family is knowing how to communicate. One of the house rules should be that anyone with a problem needs to address it immediately, with respect, of course. Otherwise, people start to feel resentful.
Don’t vent your frustrations by talking about other house members behind their backs. This will only lead to bigger issues while neglecting the original problem.
Be Patient and Respectful
Finally, try to maintain perspective. Living in a multi-family house can be an amazing experience, but it also requires sacrifice. You’re sharing personal space with others and giving up some privacy.
It’s important to understand that each person has their own life, their own lifestyle, and their own way of doing things. You’re not there to change them. As long as they’re respecting the house rules and other people, they aren’t doing anything wrong.
Therefore, remain patient and learn how to pick your battles.
Are You Having Trouble Living With Family?
If you’re living in a multi-family home, we know how easy it is to get frustrated or even start resenting the other members of the household. Whether you own the home or are a guest, try to implement the tips listed above to help keep your sanity and maintain the peace.
And if you’re looking for more home improvement ideas or advice, feel free to check out some of our other articles before you go. Our blog is full of expert designs, tips, and information for DIY projects.