Five ways to survive sharing a bedroom with strangers

Women in shared room Image copyright Thinkstock

London tenants are increasingly sharing bedrooms, reports suggest. Clare Spencer, who rented a room along with two other people she didn't know for three months, offers her coping strategies.

1. Stay out until bedtime

I was studying all day then went straight to my bar job in the evening. So I didn't get back to the room in south London until midnight, at which point I went straight to bed. When I woke up, I went straight to the bathroom and then I was out. You're all there because you can't afford anything else so the room is for sleeping purposes only. This was 2005, and we didn't have smartphones, so the glare of the screen in the darkness was not the problem it might be now. I was also lucky that neither of my room-mates - a French guy and a Japanese girl - snored. I'm starting to wonder whether I was the snorer.

2. Get changed in the bathroom

I never saw the other two getting changed and they never saw me getting changed. Having since stayed in backpacker hostels, where you share a room with up to 12 people, I've learned that some people just learn to shed their inhibitions. But the bathroom worked better for me.

3. Stay at your partner's house

No-one ever brought their partner back to stay. I never met the French guy's girlfriend, who was apparently not too happy that he was sharing a room with two women. It was a bit of a downer when my boyfriend dumped me. My room-mates were very sympathetic though.

4. De-clutter

If you don't have stuff then you can't be messy. Not that I could afford to buy anything once my £200-a-month rent was paid. That was why I was sharing a room with strangers in the first place.

5. Don't do it for long

This was a short-term solution and I don't know if I could have kept my spirits up for much longer. I was also incredibly lucky with my two considerate room-mates. My last night showed how things could have gone wrong. Another guy moved in. He smoked in the room and played hardcore techno. The Japanese girl quite liked it. I scowled and left the next day.

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