AMJ’s Advice from the Expert: Behind-the-scenes of an International Move

Moving to a new country is a big undertaking. It means getting to know a new language, a new currency, possibly a new job—and a lot of new neighbours.

A huge source of comfort is knowing the contents of your household—all those possessions you hold near and dear—are safe, secure and on their way to meet you in your new locale.

Along with the rest of the International team, Danielle Oaks’ job is to make it so.

Danielle is the director for AMJ International, an arm of the business that’s lesser-known in the domestic market, but well regarded in the close-knit world of global moving services.

AMJ International is responsible for supporting customers during cross-continental moves—quite a tall order—but one for which the company has earned a strong reputation.

The key to success in her unique niche, Danielle says, is the same one that applies to all movers. And that’s to remember that, above all, moving is a personal experience.

One less source of stress

Moving your possessions is just a “teeny tiny part” of a comfortable overseas transition, Danielle explains. But if it goes wrong, it can feel like one of the most painful.

“It’s stressful. To go through your belongings and say ‘I don’t need that.’ To get everything in a box, wrapped up and ready to go … even more so when you’re moving to the other side of the world,” she says.

“Your appliances won’t work, you have to sell your car and your house. There’s immigration to deal with. The move is just a teeny, tiny little part. But if we don’t do that little component well, that’s when emotions come out. They’re trusting us with everything they own. It’s a lot.”

It can be easy to become blasé about it because she and her teammates do it day in, day out, she adds. But they have to remember it’s a momentous occasion for each customer.

“That’s why we need to get it right.”

Using a process they have perfected over time, the International team leverages carefully crafted partnerships, solve problems and plans for contingencies to ensure the family or individual being moved is part of a seamless process that prioritizes the safety of their possessions.

What makes an international move unique?

Here are a few of the unique considerations that make a cross-continent move different from a cross-country one.

The importance of partnerships

On the international side, almost every move involves a partner in another country. That requires AMJ international to maintain strong networks of international service providers.

For her part, Danielle keeps an active Rolodex of people she’s met through global training events and conferences, and is constantly working on maintaining these relationships.

“If I’m moving someone to Bangladesh, I have to ask myself, who am I going to use? It should be someone I know, a partner. Moving is a personal business – I work hard to make sure I’ve got connections around the world.”

She works closely with an international alliance of movers called FIDI, which screens and accredits its members to ensure quality and reliability. When she’s looking for a new partner, Danielle will look for the FIDI seal of approval to know she’s be getting a likeminded, legitimate partner.

Materials for the long haul

The materials used to protect international shipments are different than for domestic movers.

The blankets and other wrapping materials are designed to withstand weeks of travel at sea, Danielle explains.

“They are engineered in such a way to withstand friction when the article is in movement. As much as we try and load things as tightly as possible, things still move. They vibrate for three, four, five weeks all the way to their destination.”

She says she still marvels at the way AMJ crews manage to pack a whole house into a sea container, with everything labelled, packaged and arranged in a way to still leave space for the movers to manoeuvre.

“What they do is absolutely amazing, the way we protect furnishings … it’s just an impressive sight to see.”

The importance of volume

Whereas the most important calculation for a domestic move is the total weight of the items being shipped, when it comes to a cross-continent move, volume is key.

“We’re constrained by equipment available,” Danielle says. “Our world is ‘container-ized.’ We need to determine whether it’s a 20-foot versus a 40-foot shipment. If we don’t get that right, it’s heartache and tears. If we haven’t assessed properly, there are boxes left on the driveway that won’t make it onto the shipment.”

Occasionally, when it’s a really remote destination or time is of the essence, a move will be made by air rather than sea. In these cases, furnishing and household items are packed on special, built-in skids that slide right into the body of the aircraft.

Even after 20 years, there are still surprises

Although Danielle likes to think, after 20 years in the business, she’s seen pretty much every situation, the sheer number of variables involved in every international move continue to keep her and her teammates on their toes.

“You would think every move is the same when you do it for a living.  But, still to this day, I find myself chatting with colleagues saying ‘Huh. How do we do that? Isn’t it amazing we’ve never had this situation before?’”

She recalls a situation where a man missed his late Sunday night flight, meaning there would be no one to meet his movers on the other side of the world the next morning. To cancel the crew would’ve meant a long, inconvenient delay.

So, Danielle worked with the customer all night and managed to track down an acquaintance at his destination who could receive the shipment.
“We found a solution. We put our heads together and stick-handled it between 10 at night at 7 a.m. the next day.”

What to look for in an international moving service

When choosing an international moving services provider, there are a few important things to keep in mind, Danielle explains.

Quality of accreditation – First, look for a moving company that is part of a formal organization, such as FIDI. This will ensure the company is vetted, financial stable, adheres to global principles of quality, and that there are methods in place to protect you, during the moving process.

Testimonials/Word of mouth – Naturally, when you’re searching for a moving company, your first thought will be to ask your friends and family members who they recommend.

Finding this kind of endorsement is more difficult if no one in your personal network has ever moved across the world. If that’s the case, Danielle recommends you ask any companies you’re considering to put you in touch with a past client who can tell you about their experience with that company.

Transparency – The most valuable advice Danielle has for overseas-moving newbies is to never trust what you read online.

In the world of global moving services, there are A players and B and C players—and there’s a big difference between them. But the internet has made it more difficult to differentiate that.”

She says to avoid choosing the first name you see, and not to be taken in by rock-bottom prices.

She recommends that before you hire anyone, ask questions such as: how they plan a move, what their process is like and how open they are with those details.

She says, during a move, if the company doesn’t give you the right information, or you don’t read the fine print in a contract, you could wind up spending three extra weeks in a hotel, in a whole new place, with your belongings trapped in transit.

“You have to remember,” she says, “the bitterness of poor quality remains long after the sweet taste of low prices is forgotten.”

Service-first attitude – When telling prospective customers about what sets AMJ International apart from competitors, Danielle always emphasizes AMJ’s focus on customer care. When planning a move, they just work as hard as if it was their own family making the transition, she says.

This level of service will help ensure the move really is just a small part of your relocation experience, and that it’s as relaxed and stress-free as possible.

“I want that Zen. That look of a relaxed and unworried customer. To me, that’s success.”

August 26

This day is also Women’s Equality Day. A day to celebrate the achievements of women in the workplace—and in the world. It’s an opportunity to reinforce the continuing efforts to ensure women have the equal chance to succeed. For Danielle, it’s also time to reflect on how the face of the moving industry has changed over the past 20 years.

“Twenty years ago, 90% of men made up the sales conferences, today it’s more like 60%,” says Danielle Oaks.

“We are so lucky in Canada and at AMJ, women can do what they do, and they can be great at it. We’ve got very successful ladies, and men, who are good at what they do and that’s because they love what they do.”

To be a successful leader, you can’t be afraid to get your hands dirty

Danielle’s personal approach to leadership is to get things done. “People might look to me as a leader, but I’m in the trenches as much as they are, and to me, that’s exciting.”

Because the Toronto International office is small, she says, everyone has the same DIY work ethic.

“There’s no one else to give the work to – so I do it myself. The buck stops here.  That’s why you hire the right people to be around you.”

She also isn’t afraid to roll-up-the-sleeves and demonstrate this work ethic.

“Every now and then, if we can’t get a crew to deliver a shipment on time, I just put the boxes in the trunk of my car and drive it where it needs to be.”

 

To learn more about our experts and leaders, check out our Advice from the Expert series.

 

Packing products to help you save time and gain peace of mind

Moving day is almost here! And although relocating to a new home can be exciting, it can also be a bit intimidating.

 

If you’re preparing to pack up your home, choose the right supplies to help you secure your belongings for transport. This will make the packing process a little easier, a little faster, and it will provide you with a little extra peace of mind for protecting your precious cargo.

 

Here are our suggestions for choosing the right moving products to help you prepare for a smooth move.

 

Buy new boxes

We see this debate among families and roommates all the time. Should you use recycled boxes—say, ones you have stored in your basement from a previous move—or purchase brand new ones?

 

Many people can be concerned with the waste and cost associated with buying new boxes. But here at AMJ, we often encourage the purchase of new boxes for a few important reasons.

 

First, you know that the boxes will be sturdy, clean, and reliable. You won’t need to worry about your boxes falling apart as you carry them up the stairs to your new apartment, or sneezing from dust that’s accumulated on them throughout the years. Also, purchasing new boxes is less expensive than you might expect. For instance, our corrugate moving boxes cost only a few dollars each.

 

For the eco-minded mover, we also offer a recycling program. When you purchase boxes from AMJ, we will gladly take our boxes back with us and recycle them for you at a local facility. We are proud to note that the materials in these boxes are 100% recyclable (even the ink) and, on average, nearly half of the fibers used to make them come from recycled material. (You can learn more about corrugated cardboard and the environment here.)

 

We also offer the option of using re-usable plastic totes that provide superior stability and reduced environmental impact.

 

Not to mention, we make it easy and convenient to order the boxes through our online store. We can provide as many boxes as you need in advance and have them shipped directly to your home, so you don’t have to worry about coming to pick them up. (One less thing off the to-do list!)

 

Because we know you have plenty of unique possessions, we have different box strengths and shapes, so you can pack everything from heavy kitchen foodstuffs and stereo equipment, to files, to large items like mirrors, and even keep your clothes neat with our wardrobe boxes.

 

 

Embrace the tape dispenser

Anyone who’s ever prepared for a major house move can tell you: packing tape is about to become your best friend. But the thing that makes packing tape such a handy box-sealing companion is also the thing makes it so hard to handle: it’s so sticky!

 

Be sure to purchase at least one packing tape dispenser (or two or three if you have lots of helping hands) to help you seal your boxes neatly and securely. A dispenser—sometimes called a tape gun—will save you time because you won’t be searching for the end of the tape roll each time you use it, or be trying to unstick gluey edges that have adhered to themselves. A tape gun will also help ensure you apply a smooth, even layer of tape along the box seam for a tighter seal.

 

Bubble wrap is best

Knowing that your easily damaged belongings are safely stowed will mean you have one less worry on your mind during the moving process.

 

Sure, in the past you’ve probably wrapped your breakables in pillow cases, towels, linens, or newspapers. These can work well for some items. But, using bubble wrap is the safest way to protect grandma’s china or your favourite flower vase, even if the boxes shift or slide during the move. Here are a few suggestions on how to wrap your goods securely.

 

Let’s get moving

And there you have it. With these helpful packing products on-hand you’ll be armed with the tools you need for a successful pack-up. You may be done even faster than you expected. Then, all that’s left to do is to sit back, admire your work, and maybe pop a few packing bubbles to celebrate.

 

Visit our online box store to begin purchasing all the packing supplies you’ll need for the big day.

 

Contact AMJ to book your next move or inquire about purchasing supplies for an upcoming move. Or check out our blog for other helpful information about moving into your new home.

 

 

How to repair window seals

Before the autumn chill arrives, keep the draft out by following our tips to repair window seals in your home. This will not only help keep your house cozy through the winter months; it could also help reduce your home heating bills.

 

Common window seal issues

If you feel a draft or see moisture around your window sill, the best place to start is to determine if it’s one of two common window seal issues: a problem with your caulking or a problem with your weather-stripping. Here’s how to recognize—and tackle—both issues.

 

Caulking

One of the most common culprits of drafty windows is the loosening or deterioration of the rubbery waterproof sealant used to insulate spaces around your window panes, called caulking.

 

Caulking is usually applied along the lines where the window sash, sill and frame meet the exterior and interior walls of the home.

 

Inspect

Check to see if you can feel a slight draft or see any holes where moisture or air is coming through the places where caulk lines your window. If the caulk has peeled or crumbled away, that may mean it’s time for a fresh layer. A cool way to test if there is outdoor air coming through your window is to light a stick of incense, place it on the sill, and see whether the smoke drifts noticeably into the room from that direction.

 

Repair

Remove existing caulk carefully using your hands, a putty knife, or a screwdriver. Sometimes, the caulk might be hardened, in which case you can apply a remover gel to soften it.

 

Next, apply new sealant using a caulking gun. Be sure to follow the instructions on the tube for best results. You can do this on either the interior or exterior of the window seal—just be sure you select a product that is suitable for both indoor and outdoor use.

 

Weather-stripping

Weather-stripping works the same way as caulk but provides a seal against the elements in places that need to move (i.e. so you don’t glue the window shut). It can come in many formats, including vinyl seals or rubberized tape, and can be applied inside the track of a sliding window or at the top or bottom of the window sash.

 

Inspect

Weather stripping may have aged or cracked over time, so check it to see if any plastic or felt strips have come loose or started to fall away from your windows’ borders. If this is the case, it may be time to remove them and install a replacement product.

 

Repair

Each weather-stripping product will have its own installation method, but many have easy, self-stick features or simple step-by-step instructions. Conduct some research, or work with an expert at your local hardware store, to determine what style of weather-proofing will work for your windows, and how intensive the installation process is. If it seems like too big a project, consider hiring an expert to help you put it in.

 

Signs of a bigger problem

If you’ve given your windows a thorough inspection and there seems to be no issue with the sealant or the weather-stripping, there may be a greater problem to solve: perhaps with the window frame itself, the insulation, or the siding of the home. Give a renovation company a call and let them help you determine how the best way to keep the cold weather where it belongs—on the outside.

 

You’ve learned about the best ways to repair window seals, so why not keep the momentum going? Visit our blog for more tips on making easy repairs around the home.

 

How to Fix Squeaky Doors in Your House

You know it’s time to fix squeaky doors when you find yourself cringing, wincing or rolling your eyes every time someone uses a certain door at home.

 

If you’ve forgotten what silence sounds like, the good news is, it can be easy to fix. All you often need to do is lubricate the hinges.

 

Read on for tips to help you make the squeak disappear using common household products. You’ll be the hero of the household—and you likely won’t even need to make a trip to the hardware store.

 

Choose your tool

When fixing squeaky door hinges, silicon spray is the obvious choice—nearly everyone has a can of WD-40 laying around somewhere.

 

Some experts say this type of common lubricant can do more harm than good though—it can attract dust, dirt and even cause discolouration over time. So, if you can’t find spray lubricant—or don’t want to use it—take a tour around your house and see whether you have any of these handy alternatives lying around.

 

  • Olive oil – Believe it or not, you can use this kitchen product to fix a squeaky door. In fact, any type of vegetable oil will do the trick.
  • Bar soap – Any type of soap will do, as long as it’s not glycerine (which is usually clear, like Pears). It should be slightly damp before you rub on the hinges.
  • Petroleum jelly – It’s not just for moisturizing your chapped lips anymore. This age-old beauty product can smooth the creaking that is causing you squeaky door headaches.

Lubricate the hinge

Apply any of the above products the top of the hinge and swing the door a few times to work it into the hardware. If you’re still getting a squeak, remove the pin from the hinge and apply more product to it. You can push the pin out by gently hammering a nail underneath it until it comes out the top.

 

Remember, when removing the pin, the hinge will become loose. So only do one hinge at a time and have a spotter handy to brace the door.

 

Because all of these products are gentle, they shouldn’t cause any damage to the wood or paint of the door or frame. But, be sure to have a rag or paper towel handy to wipe up any excess product or to catch drips and avoid making a mess.

 

When to call a professional

If you’ve tried lubricating the hinges and the door continues to squeak, it may be time to call in professional reinforcement. The hinge may need replacing or it could be a problem with the frame itself. Otherwise, persistent squeaking, combined with a few other red flags like a sticking door, could potentially indicate an issue with the foundation. Contact a contractor or home repair person to investigate the underlying cause. They will likely be able to help you make the repairs you need to achieve the peace and quiet you’ve been looking for.

 

Now that you know how to fix squeaky doors, what other easy fixable problems can you solve around the home? Read more handy tips in our blog.

 

 

 

How to Fix Low Water Pressure in Your House

Wondering how to fix low water pressure at home? Try these three common quick fixes to see if they put a little more flow into your faucets – before you have to call in the experts to help.

 

1.  Clean your aerators

If you have an individual faucet or fixture that’s giving you trouble, the problem could be with the exit point itself. If the tap has an aerator (usually a small mesh or plastic screen inside the mouth of the faucet), remove it by unscrewing the faucet cap, disassembling the inserts and flushing the screen with water. You may need to use a sewing needle or toothbrush to remove any stuck debris. If it’s a shower head or spray gun for a hose, try removing the entire fixture and soaking it in vinegar or a de-scaling product (like CLR) to unclog buildup. If the aerator is old and deteriorated, you can easily and inexpensively replace it with a quick trip to the hardware store.

 

2.  Adjust your PRV

A common source of low water pressure is a home’s pressure reducing valve, or PRV. As the name suggests, this is a mechanism that decreases the flow of water to pipes in your home. (Municipal water flow is often too strong for households, so this is the point where the pressure is lessened before it enters your home.)

 

The PRV is bell shaped, often made of brass, and usually located where your water line enters your home or building (your water main). It could be in your basement or around you water meter box, but the location will be different for each home. Before you adjust the PRV, use a water pressure meter on an outdoor tap to determine your baseline pressure. Then, locate the PRV,  and loosen the top nut using a wrench. Next, use a socket wrench to twist it one full turn clockwise to tighten. Check your water pressure meter after each full turn to ensure your pressure doesn’t go too high. (Many suggest a maximum of 60 PSI—and anything over 80 PSI will likely damage your home’s plumbing system.) And don’t forget to re-tighten the lock nut once you’re done.

 

3.  Tighten your shutoff valve

A water shutoff valve that’s only partially open can be another common culprit for sluggish water flow. Locate the valve (which is located separately, but usually near, the PRV) and ensure it’s in a fully open position. If it’s a level-style handle, it should be completely vertical. If it’s a rounded, wheel-shaped handle, it should be twisted counter clockwise to ensure it’s fully open. Check your faucets once you’re done to see whether your pressure has increased.

 

 

There you have it! These are some of the most common ways to fix problems that are causing low water pressure in your home. If all else fails, call a plumber or your city’s water department for a consultation. They may be able to give you deeper insight into what’s causing your water pressure woes.

 

Looking for more tips to help you make more fixes around your home? Visit this blog to learn more.

 

Le guide ultime de la colocation

Moving in with Roommates - image

À l’approche du mois de septembre, de nombreux étudiants et jeunes adultes envisagent la colocation. Pour ceux n’ayant jamais eu de colocataire, de nombreuses questions peuvent se poser: avez-vous besoin d’un colocataire? Comment bien choisir votre colocataire? Comment vous entendre avec quelqu’un partageant votre espace de vie? Nous abordons toutes ces questions essentielles de manière pratique afin que votre colocation se passe pour le mieux.

Devriez-vous avoir un colocataire?

Lorsqu’on envisage d’avoir un colocataire, la décision est principalement axée autour de deux paramètres majeurs: personnel et financier. Vos conditions de vie ont un impact important sur votre bien-être, et ces deux paramètres doivent être soigneusement étudiés afin de faire le choix le mieux adapté. Au final, la décision dépend en premier lieu de vos besoins, puis de vos envies.

Paramètre personnel

Que vous emménagiez en colocation pour vos études, ou simplement pour partager un logement, vous devez avoir une idée précise de vos attentes. Si vous avez besoin d’un silence absolu pour dormir, votre colocataire devra être quelqu’un de silencieux ayant les mêmes horaires que vous ou alors, le logement devra avoir une parfaite isolation phonique. Si vous aimez avoir votre espace personnel, vous voudrez sûrement une chambre assez grande pour y passer beaucoup de temps. À l’inverse, si vous êtes une personne très sociable et que vous prévoyez d’inviter régulièrement des amis, vous devez vous assurer que votre colocataire est d’accord pour recevoir dans votre logement commun.

 

Paramètre financier

L’aspect financier est la principale raison pour laquelle les gens envisagent la colocation. Avoir un coût d’hébergement et de vie plus bas, et pouvoir ainsi profiter de l’argent économisé, est la raison pour laquelle beaucoup choisissent la colocation. Vouloir vivre dans un certain quartier, par exemple, peut être compliqué sans quelqu’un pour partager le coût du loyer. Peut-être désirez-vous avoir plus d’argent disponible pour vos besoins personnels, ou souhaitez-vous ouvrir un compte d’épargne. Avoir un colocataire pourrait vous permettre de concrétiser ces objectifs. Cela est parfois plus important qu’un sommeil parfait 7 jours par semaine.

 

Comment choisir un colocataire?

Peut-être que vous recherchez un colocataire qui deviendra un très bon ami, ou que vous envisagez de vivre avec quelqu’un que vous connaissez déjà. Ou peut-être recherchez-vous juste une connaissance ou une personne que vous ne connaissez pas, et qui mènera une vie complètement séparée de la vôtre durant votre colocation. Toutes ces options sont parfaitement valables mais vous devez savoir laquelle vous correspond avant de débuter votre recherche. Assurez-vous de passer en revue ces éléments essentiels lorsque vous décidez de partager un logement.

Attentes relationnelles

Certains colocataires font tout ensemble: cuisiner, sortir, faire du covoiturage. Cela peut signifier intégrer de nouveaux groupes d’amis et partager des loisirs à la maison. Si vous ne voulez pas partager “une vie” mais simplement un logement, cela doit être pris en compte et explicitement formulé à la personne avec qui vous choisissez de vivre.

Les horaires

Vous pouvez être les meilleurs amis du monde, mais si votre colocataire travaille de 9h à 17h alors que vous, vous prenez des cours l’après-midi et travaillez dans un bar 4 nuits par semaine, vos horaires risquent de poser problème. De même, s’il veille tard le soir et vous empêche de dormir, ou s’il vous réveille tôt tous les matins en utilisant le mélangeur pour son smoothie. Au fil du temps, ces situations peuvent contribuer à la détérioration de votre amitié.

Les habitudes

Regarder des films d’action bruyants, grignoter du pop-corn tous les soirs et avoir un logement impeccable de propreté font peut-être partie de vos habitudes, mais quel sera l’impact sur votre colocataire? Il peut détester l’odeur de certains aliments, ou ne pas faire du ménage une priorité. Ces choses vont rapidement causer des tensions souvent difficiles à résoudre. Bien que vous deviez respecter votre colocataire, votre logement est le lieu où vous pouvez vraiment vous détendre. Qu’il s’agisse de faire moins de bruit ou d’éviter le désordre dans les pièces communes, il est important de connaître les habitudes de chacun.

 

Comment s’entendre avec son colocataire?

Votre colocataire est peut-être la personne qui vous soutiendra dans les bons et les mauvais moments tout au long de l’année. Vous pourrez lui soumettre vos idées, ou partager vos problèmes. C’est pourquoi il est important de savoir si vos tempéraments vont bien s’accorder. Comme pour les relations de couple, il peut être extrêmement utile d’avoir des qualités complémentaires. Au-delà de ça, il y a certaines choses qui devraient être abordées avant de prendre tout engagement.

Discutez de vos attentes

Avant d’emménager ensemble, il est essentiel que chacun fasse part de ses attentes. Voulez-vous cuisiner à tour de rôle, ou simplement cuisiner pour vous-même? Partagerez-vous certains articles tels que le savon pour les mains ou le lait? Est-il possible d’organiser une fête dans votre logement commun? Toutes ces choses doivent être discutées en amont afin que chacun soit à l’aise avec l’arrangement mis en place. Si vous trouvez quelqu’un qui a des attentes similaires aux vôtres, vos conditions de vie pourraient être beaucoup plus agréables que si vous vivez seul.

Le partage

De la nourriture aux fauteuils, décider de ce qui sera partagé peut éviter de nombreux désaccords. Il y a plusieurs façons de partager les choses, que ce soit la nourriture, la vaisselle, les corvées ou les dépenses. Vous devez trouver un terrain d’entente qui satisfera tout le monde. Par exemple, vous pourriez envisager de créer un tableau de répartition des tâches pour que chacun participe équitablement aux responsabilités du logement. Vous déciderez peut-être de ne pas partager toute la nourriture, mais vous serez d’accord pour partager les condiments. Si vous êtes préoccupé par le respect des règles à long terme, un tableau des tâches ou la rédaction d’une convention entre colocataires peuvent aider au maintien des engagements.

Exprimez vos préoccupations immédiatement

L’une des choses les plus importantes à retenir lorsque vous partagez un logement est de ne pas laisser les situations s’envenimer. Plus vous attendez pour aborder un problème, plus il peut devenir difficile à résoudre. Une bonne communication permet à chacun d’exprimer son ressenti et d’éviter les tensions inutiles. Cela permet également d’éviter les problèmes pouvant être résolus très simplement tels que les serviettes de bain par terre ou la vaisselle dans l’évier. Si l’autre personne réalise à quel point ces choses vous dérangent, elle aura certainement à coeur de faire plus attention les fois suivantes.

Votre colocataire, votre allié

Même si votre colocation ne dure que quelques mois ou quelques années, il est toujours important de prendre votre temps pour décider ce qui est le mieux pour vous. Vous pourriez rencontrer un nouvel ami dont vous serez proche le reste de votre vie, ou vous pourriez constater que vivre avec votre meilleur ami nuit à votre relation. Prendre en compte ces considérations avant de signer un bail commun pourrait être la clé d’une colocation réussie.

 

Si vous prévoyez de vivre avec votre partenaire, lisez notre blogue, Se préparer à emménager ensemble.

Si vous quittez le cocon familial pour la première fois, découvrez le Guide pour votre premier déménagement.

Your Ultimate Guide to Roommates

Moving in with Roommates - image

As September approaches, many students and young adults may be considering a roommate. Especially for those who have never had a roommate, there may be many questions looming: Do you need a roommate? How do you pick your roomie? How do you get along with someone sharing your living space? We discuss these burning questions in a practical way, so you can have the best co-habitation possible.

Should You Have a Roommate?

When considering a roommate, there are two major components to this decision: personal and financial. Your living situation has a massive impact on your wellbeing, and both of these components should be weighed against each other to make the final decision. Ultimately, it comes down to your needs first, then your wants.

Personal

Whether you are moving in together for school or simply to share a space, you should understand yourself. If you need perfect silence to sleep, your roommate would need to be exceptionally quiet, have the same schedule, or the place you choose must have very good sound insulation. If you are a private person you may want a room large enough to spend a lot of your personal time in. On the other hand, if you are a social person and plan to have friends over, you need to ensure your roommate is okay with a variety of folks in their residence or wants to be social themselves.

 

Financial

Finances are a main reason people consider having a roommate. Bringing your living accommodation cost down, in favour of using finances for other needs or wants, is why many choose a roommate. A certain neighbourhood, for example, may be desired but not achievable without someone assisting with the cost of rent. Perhaps you are looking to bank extra cash per month or create a savings account. A roommate and the right place could give you that monthly influx you are looking to hit. This may be more important than having the perfect sleep 7 days a week.

 

How Do You Pick a Roommate?

Maybe you’re looking for that roommate who will be a forever friend or plan to live with someone you already know. Or perhaps you are looking for an acquaintance or even someone you don’t know that will lead a completely separate life from you during your shared living experience. All are reasonable options, but you should decide this before going in to your roommate search. Ensure you go over these key things when making the choice to move in together.

Relationship Expectations

Some roommates do everything together – cooking, socializing, maybe even carpooling. This may mean integrating friend groups and sharing personal time at home. If your expectations are that you won’t share a life, merely a house, this must be factored in and articulated to who you choose to live with.

Schedules

They may be your best friend, but if they are working a 9 to 5 while you take afternoon university classes and bartend 4 nights a week, your schedules could quickly cause a conflict. They could be keeping you up at night with late night study sessions, or they might be waking you up each morning with their smoothie blender. Over time, this can potentially, worst-case, erode the friendship you’ve developed over the years.

Habits

Watching loud action films, nightly popcorn snacking, and keeping impeccably neat quarters might be your personal habits, but how are they going to affect your roommate? They may abhor the smell of certain foods, or they could be a housemate that doesn’t necessarily make tidiness a priority. These things will quickly cause tension and can be hard to resolve. While you need to respect your roommate, your home is still the place you come to unwind. Whether this means keeping the noise down or them keeping the mess to their room, these are important habits to be aware of.

 

How Do You Get Along with a Roommate?

A roommate has the potential to support you through all your ups and down throughout the year. They could be a good person to bounce ideas off of or vent to. But it’s important to know whether your temperaments will mesh well together. As with romantic relationships, it can be extremely helpful to have qualities that complement each other’s. Beyond that, there are a few things that should be ironed out before committing.

Discuss Expectations

Before moving in together, it’s essential to put all your expectations on the table. Will you take turns cooking meals or just cook for yourselves? Will you share household items like hand soap or milk? When is the house “quiet time”? Is this a place to have a house party? All these considerations should be discussed so you are both happy and comfortable with your agreement. If you find someone with similar expectations to yours, your living arrangements could be much more fulfilling than living alone.

Sharing

From food to couches, deciding what will be shared can save you a lot of disagreement. There are many ways to split things up—food, dishes, chores, expenses—you want to find a middle ground that everyone is happy with. For example, you might consider creating a chore chart to divide household responsibilities equally. And maybe you’ll decide to not share all your food, but you will share condiments. If you’re concerned over the long-term adherence to the rules, writing out a to-do board or drafting a roommate agreement can keep everyone accountable.

Voice Your Concerns Immediately

One of the most important things to remember when sharing your home is to not let problems fester. The longer you wait to bring something up, the more problematic it can become to deal with. Open communication gets everything out there and allows everyone to feel heard. It may also present issues that can be resolved very simply, like towels on the floor or dishes in the sink. If the other person realizes how much those aspects upset you, it should be easy for them to show you respect by cleaning up after themselves.

Your Roommate, Your Ally

Although your living situation may only last for a few months or years, it’s still important to take your time in deciding what is best for you. You may discover a new friend you stay close with for the rest of your life, or you may find that living with your best friend is a strain on your relationship. Considering these questions before signing on the dotted line could be the key to a happy house-sharing experience.

 

For reading on moving in with your partner, read The Logistics of Moving in Together.

If you’re leaving the nest for the first time, read Your Guide to Moving Out for the First Time