Roommates are a tricky subject; obtaining a decent roommate takes strategy, luck, or both. Some students are blessed with the “barely ever around roommate.” Some students are plagued with the roommate that, literally, lives in the dorm room—even worse, the kind that invites all of their friends over…all of the damn time. And then there are the unfortunate souls with the roommate that doesn’t understand boundaries or, to be blunt, the “socially inept roommate.” If only there were a way to ease the burden of living with someone new, or someone that doesn’t quite mesh well with your perceptions of harmonious roommate-hood, during your x-number of years in college.
Oh, but there is!
Roommate Harmony is both a Staples-esque online store and a blog whose “goal is to improve the shared living experience, strengthen human relationships, and promote inner peace.” RH is unique in its approach at:
- Selling products that create a space conducive to better living and
- Creating a virtual space to laugh and cringe at written experiences relevant or reminiscent of your own roommate experiences
The mixture of a blogging medium with an online store creates an interactive atmosphere that feels both business-like and homey. While trying out products such as Roommate Duty Boards or Weekly Planners, you can read about “How to Avoid Roommate Drama” and “Perspectives on Worst Roommates Ever.”
Even more interestingly, RH is a “responsible business” in that it makes efforts to:
- Limit its carbon footprint and
- Donate a portion of its profits to Project H.O.M.E.—a community whose mission is “to empower adults, children, and families to break the cycle of homelessness and poverty, to alleviate the underlying causes of poverty, and to enable all of us to attain our fullest potential as individuals and as members of the broader society.”
In a nutshell, RH is the best of all worlds!
Now that we’re discussing just how wonderful of a website RH truly is, let’s move on to the products. I was fortunate enough to receive a free sample package from the website’s wonderful owner, Chad Jarrah (Thanks Chad!):
- Chore Chart: The magnetic, 11” by 16” dry-erase board comes equipped with a black dry-erase marker, a marker holder attached to the side of the board, a notes section for any random thoughts, objections, or demands that may come to mind, and four panels with lines and check boxes for various types of roommate chores. According to RH’s website, the board’s purpose is to ensure that everyone “is pulling their weight” and to “assign chores and rotate jobs by the time period agreed upon.”
- Sticky Bulletin Board: A medium-sized bulletin board that comes in both brown and white. It’s a funky amalgam of brown bulletin board and wall sticker. It’s an 11” by 17” peel off board that’s adhesive (for all of the times that your post it notes or thumbtacks have mysteriously gone missing).
- Weekly Planner: A 4” by 9” green and patterned planner that comes with a magnet attached to its back and seven boxes for daily notes. It’s simple, yet aesthetically pleasing. The rounded edges and slightly-transparent boxes make for delightful spots to jot down notes, and the post-it-esque weekly papers make it easy to rip off one week’s worth of random to-do lists and move onto another full week of work. Perfect and convenient for any college student.
- Personalized Food Stickers: The “that’s my box of Fruity Pebbles Cereal” conversation is always an awkward conversation to have with a roommate. It makes you sound selfish, possessive, and stingy. The personalized food stickers offer a cute and efficient method of avoid this conversation and organizing your edible belongings. A single sheet comes with 20 stickers, each with a different picture symbolizing a type of food or beverage, and each with your name (very important) written above the image. Sticking it onto something in the room is the human/civilized equivalent of a dog peeing on a fence to mark its territory. So buy some stickers and start–humanely–marking your territory!
As I stated before, the website is organized into both a shop and a blog. I highly recommend purchasing one of the items from the shop as a means of avoiding the awkward roommate conversations. I highly recommend reading the blog posts as a means of getting a good laugh out of awkward roommate situations written by students like you.
Link to Roommate Harmony’s website: http://www.roommateharmony.com/