Dividing Belongings with Your Roomies Upon Moveout

By Victoria Robertson

Living with roommates for a year is an experience unlike any other, but when it comes time to part ways, things can get a little tricky, especially when it comes to items you either bought together or that everyone utilized.

If you lived in an apartment or dorm room in which the mentality was “sharing is caring,” it’s possible that you’re now at the point that you need to divide your belongings amongst everyone. So what exactly is the best way to do that without hurting feelings? Here are a few tips to help divvy up your belongings with your roommates.

Roommate Tips: Dividing Belongings with Your Roomies Upon Moveout

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1. Determine Who Paid for What

First and foremost, you should be dividing belongings based on who contributed to paying for them, and who did not. For instance, if a roommate bought a pot and pan set for all roommates to use, that set still belongs to the individual that purchased it.

This can get tricky when individuals split bills and paid for items together. In these instances, the individuals involved should discuss who gets what and come up with a fair solution that benefits everyone.

2. Sell Shared Items

One option, especially when dealing with multiple roommates contributing to a single item, is to sell that shared item and split the earnings amongst those that contributed.

While this isn’t always going to be a possibility, it is a quick and easy way to ensure that one person doesn’t end up with more than they deserve and to make sure everyone actually walks away with what they contributed. Again, if this isn’t a possibility, there are other options, but if it is an option, you’ll likely avoid an argument.

3. Go Through the Process Together

In other words, don’t take an opportunity in which your roommates aren’t home to begin going through their things and allocating based on your own personal preference. The best way to make sure everything is sorted fairly is for everyone to be present.

You can always turn this into an event – order in some food and drinks and begin sorting out and packing belongings together. This not only makes the time go by much faster, but it also ensures that everyone is on the same page and has the same information, which also helps to avoid conflict.

4. Don’t Get Argumentative

Tensions can get high, especially when multiple individuals believe they are in the right, which is why it’s so important to keep a level head when divvying out your belongings.

If things begin to get heated, everyone should step away from that item and return to it when they’ve cooled down. You can also use an impartial mediator to help make tough decisions, such as when an item was bought by two individuals with a 50/50 split of the bill. Just do whatever you can to avoid argument here.

5. Try to be as Fair as Possible

Life isn’t always fair, and unfortunately, there’s not always going to be an easy way to split up belongings. While it makes sense that someone that spent a majority of the money on a piece of furniture would be the one to take it away, that’s not to say those that contributed just slightly less are going to be okay with it.

So, try to be as fair as possible. If that someone chipped in 60 percent of the bill, and someone else chipped in 40, the individual that takes it could toss them back their part (or a part of that contribution) to help even the score. Find a method that works best for you and your roommates and stick to it.

6. When in Doubt, List it Out

Last, but not least, it’s possible your divvying up requires more organization and forethought than a simple conversation could provide, so when you’re in doubt as to whether or not something is fair, make a list.

List all of your belongings, and list out who paid for them. This way, you can not only see that visually, but you can also determine a fair way to split belongings that were paid for by multiple parties, as you can count the number of items going to each individual. There’s a number of ways this could be helpful, so it’s all about your organizational skills and whether or not this method works for your needs.

Moving out is a bittersweet feeling, but splitting up belongings with your roommates can definitely pose a particular challenge that can really put a damper on the mood. It doesn’t matter how close you’ve all become, when it comes to sharing, things can be messy quickly, so it’s important to tread lightly.

That said, rather than struggling through this transition, utilize these tips to not only help you divide everything up but also ensure you’re doing so fairly. Once that ugly step is out of the way, you’ll all be ready to part ways and go wherever life plans to take you next!

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