It is not unusual for roommates to share stuff. Think about it.
Why have two TVs when you can perfectly do with one?
But, while sharing some things is okay, sharing others can bring conflict.
How Do You Politely Tell Your Roommate to Stop Using Your Stuff?
There is no polite way, but always remember that you and your roommates need to have boundaries. And when they are crossed, someone needs to be called for it. You can also use an indirect way of telling them to get their hands off your things. For instance, you can hide your things or use their stuff a lot as well. If everything fails and you feel bothered by this behavior, think of finding somewhere else to live.
Before Talking to Your Roommate
As mentioned earlier, this is not going to be an easy discussion. In fact, it can destroy your positive relationship with your housemate.
If you value your “friendship,” you need to ask yourself several questions before you decide to have this conversation.
1. Is This a Big Issue for You?
You may have discussed sharing items and how far both of you can go.
But your roomie has disregarded the agreement and uses your items in a way you don’t like.
Ask yourself, how much are you annoyed or bothered by this?
Some people may not care whether their roommates use their stuff.
However, if it bothers you, you may talk to your roommate.
Also, we must mention that sometimes, other people may be angry about your roommates borrowing your stuff more than you.
For instance, your best friend may feel uncomfortable with your housemate borrowing your clothes. But if you are not bothered by this, tell them it’s okay.
2. Is It a Pattern or an Exception?
It may be okay for your roommate to drink your glass of milk once when she is starving.
But doing it every day of the week is annoying.
Think about whether this incident is a one-time event or is likely to happen again.
It’s okay if you are bothered by either of these situations. And it is essential to address it before it becomes a pattern.
3. What Items Are They Using?
Some belongings may have a sentimental background and may be dear to you.
As such, you may feel bad when your roommate uses them, especially without borrowing them.
For instance, you may find your roommate wearing your grandfather’s jacket and not caring for it well.
They may not know where you inherited the jacket, but it may still make you angry.
In such situations, it’s crucial to let your roommates know why it’s not okay to borrow the item again.
But remember that they may not know the value you assign to all your items. So be patient with them, especially if you are cool with sharing stuff.
4. What Bothers You About This Situation?
Believe it or not, you may not be bothered that your roommate is using your lotion or dryer.
What may bother you is that they did not borrow, or they went ahead and used the item you told them not to.
Figuring out what bothers you most about your roomie using your stuff can help you know how to handle the situation.
Your roommate may be thirsty for your last bottle of soda, but you may be bothered that he keeps taking your last things.
In that case, be honest with your feelings and explain to them how to go about it.
5. What Solution Do You Want?
Lastly, it would be best to think about what you want your roomie to do after talking to them about using your stuff.
Do you want an apology and acknowledgment from them for using your belongings?
Or do you want a contract on things to share and those not to share?
Think about the solution that will make you feel good. This way, you can address the issue with openness, transparency, and honesty.
How to Get Your Roommate to Stop Using Your Items?
It can be annoying when your roommates constantly take your things without permission.
And while you may feel guilty for talking to them about it, you need to remember that it is your right to confront them.
What’s important is to approach the issue reasonably, honestly, and with a clear mind. Here are the steps to prevent your roommate from using your things.
1. Solve the Issue at Home
You are walking to school or work and suddenly realize that your roomie is wearing your favorite pair of heels.
While you might be angry and want to confront them about the issue there and then, this is a bad idea.
You shouldn’t bring home problems to school or work. This will embarrass both of you. Wait until you are home to bring the issue up.
2. Have Clear Rules on the Things You Can Share
You may be angry at your roommate for using your iron, yet they don’t know they are pissing you off by doing that.
Talk with them and decide on the stuff that you can share.
Then, both of you should contribute towards those items. For instance, if you use the same hair spray or leave-in conditioner, contribute funds to buy a bottle and share.
Be clear on items that are for personal use and those which can be shared.
3. Hide Your Things
If you have already talked to your roommate about using your stuff and they still don’t listen, you may need to take this step.
For instance, if you’ve told them that you don’t like it when they wear your favorite neckpiece and they still won’t leave it, find a place to hide it.
However, remember that this solution works well if your housemate doesn’t go through your stuff. Hiding things may encourage them to invade your privacy more.
Also, it may not be ideal if you prefer accessing your things quickly. But it works well for clothing and jewelry you don’t use often.
4. Lock Your Things
If hiding stuff doesn’t seem right to you, consider locking them up.
You can lock things like special electronics, valuable jewelry, and other sentimental/expensive stuff you don’t want your roommate to mess with.
However, remember that you may find it inconvenient to unlock a drawer to access the things you use regularly.
5. Move Out
This is the last option if everything else fails. Living with someone who doesn’t respect boundaries isn’t very pleasant.
So, if you have tried everything to solve the problem and it persists, maybe you aren’t the best roomies. In that case, think of moving out for your peace and sanity.
There isn’t a polite way of asking someone to keep off your things.
But it has to be done. If you are uncomfortable with how your roommate uses your stuff, follow the above steps to make them stop.