Sharing & Caring With Friends

Coffee with Clare

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Hi Friends – Welcome back to Coffee with Clare!  I am delighted that you are here today!  


Dear Clare:

I am a 31-year old single gal who cannot afford to pay for my own apartment.  My last roommate moved out of the area.  I have recently “gained” a new roommate in a small 2-bedroom apartment.  I met this new roommate, Cheryl, through a friend of a friend.  Now, 2 & ½ months in, I have to tell you – I am not sure I will make it through to our lease renewal (which isn’t for another 9 – 10 months from now). The problem – Cheryl is an absolute mess – garbage strewn everywhere, the bathroom (we only have one) is disgusting.  She leaves leftover food on plates and dirty dishes all over the kitchen and in the living room.  Her clothes are spread out all throughout the apartment – even in the bathroom and on the living room floor.  I have hinted that we need to keep the place tidier, and I like a bit more “organization” as we are living in such a small space, so we need to pick up after ourselves. It is not doing any good!  What else can I do?  I can’t stand it anymore, and this is making my life miserable.

Signed –

Messy Mary’s Roommate 



Dear Roommate:

 I truly feel your pain.  One time, years ago when I was a realtor, I shared an office with “Janice”, and she was a complete MESS!  Truly – she was a ‘hoarder”.  I did know this going in, however, and I actually put a taped line in the middle of floor where she couldn’t cross over with her piles of disgusting messes and debris; when the office started to smell too bad – we would burn candles.  Well, one night, we were working late and lit a candle on her desk.  Low and behold, because of her mess, we accidently caught her paperwork and goodness knows what else on fire  – we put out the fire quickly – but true story.  We howled for days after that.



Anyway, on a more serious note.  Talk to her and let her know in a non-blaming way that you really wished the apartment was cleaner. Let her know you are concerned about bad odors and bugs appearing in your apartment.  You might say, “If we tidy up several times a week, picking up after ourselves and doing dishes daily, everything won’t pile up.”  Be sure to also have Clorox wipes and other simple clean up products in the kitchen and bathroom. 



I mean, you could pile all her trash and strewn clothes in front of her bedroom with a little note saying “Is this yours?” But, I think that would make matters worse.

See if she will pitch in and start making improvements … otherwise, don’t let this wreck your life.  If it doesn’t work out, see if she will break the lease and allow you to find a roommate more in tune to your lifestyle. If not, tell her close to the time of the end of your lease “you will be looking for a roommate more suitable to your lifestyle.”

Thank you for stopping in today!  I invite you to email your questions, problems and “life challenges” directly to me at:   I would love to hear from you!




Until next time~



Clare is a 57-year-old fun loving Italian-American self-proclaimed “Jersey Girl” who believes, “Life ain’t easy street. Life is one of those crazy little city streets, complete with potholes that could swallow your car.” With one foot planted in fun and the other planted firmly in her Christian faith, Clare enjoys making people laugh while helping them navigate life’s “crazy little city streets”. Clare has raised two girls (now grown young adults) with her husband, Michial, Clare is ready to take on the challenges of making new friends through her blog, Life Ain’t Easy Street. With an aim to entertain while addressing topics important to women, Clare’s focus on the positive power of good stories, good friends, inspiring women, and strong faith will have you looking forward to reading the next post. Clare is a freelance writer who lives a real life in Jacksonville Beach, Florida.

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  • andi says:

    what a hassle – but the right advice 😀

    • Clare says:

      Yes – it can be a real hassle when we end up rooming or living with someone TOTAL OPPOSITE of us!!!!! Haven’t we all been there, right!? Thanks! 🙂

  • Renu says:

    Great advice! I hope the roommate’s problem is solved soon. My Mum used to tell us, “It’s all very well to have untidy rooms when you were children or teenagers, but unless you learn to live like adults and clean up after yourselves, no one will treat you as an adult or take you seriously.”

    • Clare says:

      I love your mom’s advice – and truly thanks for sharing that! I love that – “… learning to live like adults!” So so true – love it! 🙂

  • Jenn says:

    This is great advice! It’s definitely work living with a roommate who is different than you. In my experience, sometimes it makes for the best relationships! Hopefully it all gets worked out.

    • Clare says:

      I hope it gets all worked out too, Jenn! It is difficult when two people are opposites and I think everyone has to give a little… .or a lot to make it work! Thanks for your thoughts! 🙂

  • Brilliant advice here! Although opposites tend to work together, it can also be the breaking of a friendship rather than the making of one! I hope Roommate’s issue get’s sorted soon!

    Lottie xx

    • Clare says:

      I hope the roonmate’s issues get sorted out and worked out too, Lottie, only time will tell! It can be tough – living with anyone… but especially those that are quite different that our own lifestyles! Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

  • Emilie Talks says:

    I agree with you. The last thing you want is to get in an argument with your roomate! I have lived with a roomate that had different cleaning “standards” than I did. I told him nicely about it and he was not upset at all! He adjusted and it was fine after that!

    • Clare says:

      So true, Emilie, communication is key, I think, but it still can be difficult – but sure glad it worked out for you! I hope it works out for this gal, too! Thanks for sharing your experiences! That always helps!

  • Everyone has a different standard of cleanliness, so it’s not unlikely that you and your roommate may disagree when it comes to the state of the apartment. It’s safe to say that the both of you will have to make compromises and work a little harder to keep your space clean now that you’re sharing it.

    • Clare says:

      Yes, yes, so true – making compromises is definitely key… with anything! I agree – very important! Everyone does have a different standard of how they live or have lived…. people have to want to work at it, make it work! Thanks so much!

  • Megan Elford says:

    I feel this reader’s pain! It’s so hard when you have conflicting standards of cleanliness. I lived with several roommates while I was single, and I always found that the best thing was to let everyone keep their personal space however they wanted, but to keep the common areas clean (as in, cleaning up after yourself immediately). That worked for us!

    • Clare says:

      Yes, so true, Megan – I have experienced that too. The common areas are important because that’s where friends and guest will be when others come over…. such a great point! Thanks for the help for sure! 🙂

  • Marilyn says:

    Love the advise. I have always found that being direct is the best solutions but remember to be kind. Since you are recent roommate, maybe, sitting down talking about what not working will improve your living conditions. I wish the reader the best of luck.

    • Clare says:

      Thanks, Marilyn! Being direct is so true…. but sometimes I remember (especially when I was younger) I was TOO direct…. I agree – it needs to be tempered with kindness for sure! Thanks for your comments!

  • Mandi says:

    great advice! And I love the “Coffee with Clare” section 😀

  • Not cool. That stinks (literally!)

  • Kim says:

    That is a tough one…people can be so ignorant of others feelings and well-being. When you share space, the common space should be kept tidy and then the bedroom can be anyway they want, close the door if it is a mess. It is common courtesy to keep the common areas neat. Good luck.

    • Clare says:

      Really – closing the doors to bedrooms is a big one! When we were remodeling after a home bathroom flood – on one spare bedroom I had a sign up with the door shut for awhile that said “Stay out – the staff”!!!!!! It was a mess and everything was piled up – but yes, if the common areas are “tidy” and neat appearing – I think that’s the biggest thing! Thanks for your thoughts! 🙂

  • Dealing with roommate issues can be challenging! I love the coffee with clare posts!

  • Kristi says:

    Yes, communicating instead of hinting is definitely a must. If communication doesn’t happen, unmet expectations will continue to fuel the anger.
    Great advice. May you keep blessings others with the knowledge God has provided you!

  • Ugh! Feel the pain! Isn’t it amazing how a nice, neat and tidy area can make you feel more calm, personally? Maybe share that info, too! Good luck!

    • Clare says:

      Yes, I always feel so much “better” after I clean the house and can relax and it smells “fresh”…. but I know not everyone feels this way. And thank you for your thoughts and comments – they are appreciated! 🙂

  • Shann Eva says:

    Great advice Clare! I love these posts, by the way!

    • Clare says:

      Thanks, Shann – I appreciate it! Stop back on Thursdays for more… and I sure love all the other tidbits of thoughts, comments and advice I am receiving! It all helps! 🙂

  • Pamela says:

    This reminds me of my daughter. She is always complaining about her messy roommate. She grew up with me and my fear of germs raised two very neat freak kids. She finally has made it a year and a half in China with this new roommate who she also works with. They teach English to kindergartners. She decided to give up. Even though she hates cleaning up after another person, it helps keep her sane to live in a clean place. So that’s what she decided to do. It’s more work, but it’s work not having a headache or an argument. I feel for you.

    • Clare says:

      Good for you – raising two daughters that are clean and neat. Wow – what a wonderful adventure your daughter is having – that’s great! It is hard to clean up after someone else… I think most of us have been there, done that…. and sometimes it just comes down to the choices and what we want – good for her… because she probably feels better after she has a clean apartment!

  • I know I’ve said this before, but I love your coffee with Clare posts! I have lived with so many roommates over the years, and I’m sure we got on each others nerves. Communal areas were always clean, though. Do what you want in your own space, but keep the living room, shared bathroom and kitchens picked up. I love your advice here.

    • Clare says:

      I agree with that – the main areas (where other guests, friends and visitors) will be coming into also is so, so important! I appreciate your commenting and delighted that you love Coffee with Clare! 🙂

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