A clean and comfortable living situation is important in maintaining a less stressful and productive life. If you live with roommates, you'll need to establish rules in order to ensure that each person is doing his fair share and respects each other's rights. A list of roommate rules will help maintain cleanliness, privacy and a friendly environment.

Noise

Friends playing air guitar

Late night partying and loud music is all well and good, unless you are the roommate who has to be to work at 6:30 a.m. the next morning. Roommates need to establish rules regarding noise levels throughout the day and night. Unless you work the same job and do all the same things, you and your roommate(s) are going to have different schedules that call for quiet at different times of the day. Roommates need to respect others' rights to quiet for sleep, study and a general state of peace in the household. For example, you might decide with your roommate that loud noise is not allowed on weekdays past 10 p.m.

Food and Belongings

Men eating breakfast

Just because you share the same refrigerator with a roommate does not necessarily mean you can eat his leftovers, that is unless he approves it. Roommates need to establish boundaries in terms of food, space and belongings. Regarding food, roommates can decide to separate everything or allow shared usage of essentials like milk and bread. Writing down initials on food items will keep roommates' hands off.

Roommates must also make rules on the usage of movies, books, clothes and other personal items. For example, you might decide with your roommate that it is okay to borrow each other's DVDs, so long as you ask permission from each other.

Moving Out

Couple eating pizza in new home

Most roommate situations end sometime or another. Roommates get sick of each other, move to new cities or get married, for instance. Roommates need to establish appropriate protocol for moving out. A set amount of notice time is essential to ensuring that remaining roommates can find a suitable replacement and make ends meet for the following months. For example, a month notice might be required of the roommate moving out to provide the remaining roommates with enough time to cover the loss. Roommates also need to decide who is responsible for finding the new roommate: the one moving out or the remaining roommate(s). If the one moving out is in charge, the remaining roommate(s) will have to live with the person he chose.

Chores

Couple doing laundry and talking on phone

If you constantly find yourself stepping over your roommates stuff and doing the dishes everyday, there are clearly no rules regarding cleaning and chores in place. Roommates need to take responsibility and respect the cleanliness needs of others. Establishing rules regarding housework will lead to a cleaner living situation and a feeling that everyone is doing his fair share.

There are many possible arrangements regarding chores. You might give each roommate a unique task, such as making someone the official kitchen cleaner. Or, you might alternate chores each week, giving each roommate the chance to do all of the dirty work.