6 useful items for living with a roommate and keeping the peace

Buys for making shared living spaces comfortable 🙌

Pastel rainbow background with a picture of a modern living room
(Image credit: Future / Beth Mahoney)

Let’s get real: Sharing your space with a roommate isn't everyone's idea of a perfect situation. But by investing in a few useful items for living with a roommate (and making life easier for you both), you can ensure that living in a shared space doesn’t become a total nightmare. 

Whether you’re in a teeny tiny apartment with an old school friend, you’re stuck in a super compact dorm with a college roommate, or you’re sharing a rental with a total stranger, adapting can be a journey. 

The good news is that you can figure out how to be a good roommate without losing your cool or breaking your boundaries. There are a number of well-thought-out buys you can invest in to make the adjustment period a little easier to navigate. 

Handy items for living with a roommate

Living with a roommate isn't always plain sailing. There will inevitably be some issues that you come up against along the way. But by investing in a few key items you can make mitigating these problems a little easier. 

1. A label maker  

The last thing you want when sharing your space is having constant roommate conflict over what belongs to whom. That’s where a label maker can be a complete and utter godsend. If everything is labeled up, then no one is going to forget (or pretend to misremember) who owns what.

2. Noise-cancelling headphones 

One of the most common reasons that roommates argue is because of noise. Yep, seriously. When I was at college, two of my roommates fell out because one of them insisted on playing loud music late at night. Luckily, all it took to fix the mess was a pair of noise-cancelling headphones. These are perfect for blocking out any kind of disruption throughout your day and also allow you to play your own music or podcasts without bugging anyone.

3. Fridge storage caddies 

Look, we get it: No one likes it when someone else eats their food. I remember when I shared a fridge with a roommate and they kept using my salad mixes and stealing my cheese. Honestly, it made me so angry, which is why I always recommend getting separate fridge caddies so that you can store your food separately. 

4. Mail organizer 

Sick and tired of your and your roommate’s mail getting mixed up? Then you might want to consider investing in a mail organizer that has separate sections for you and everyone you share your living space with. It also prevents confidential letters from getting opened up by someone else. 

5. White noise machine  

Whether you’re a troubled sleeper and need a little helping hand drifting off or you’re someone who gets jostled awake by the slightest noise, a white noise machine is sure to come in handy — for both you and your roommate. It can help block external noises and give you some privacy, too.

6. Sunrise alarm clock 

This might sound like an odd one but hear me out on this. Walls are thin, so your blaring morning alarm clock is most likely going to wake up your roommate (leaving them a li’l angry). Why not swap out your go-to phone alarm for a sunrise alarm clock that slowly wakes you up using light, not sound? 

For sharing an apartment or dorm, these handy buys should help living together go a little smoother. 

Beth Mahoney
Freelance journalist

Hi! I’m Beth Mahoney and I’m a former staff writer at Real Homes. I’ve been a journalist for the national press for the past six years, specializing in commerce and trends-related lifestyle articles, from product reviews and listicles to guides and features. With an eye for pretty things (think: quirky wall prints, scalloped edge furniture, and decadent-looking tableware) but a limited budget, I love nothing more than a bargain buy.