Your guide to residence etiquette

Here’s how to avoid being known as “that person” on your floor.

A standard empty dorm room on a sunny day. Home sweet home!

Moving out of your childhood home into residence can be one of the most exciting moments of your life. It's a new kind of independence that gives you a preview of what adulthood is like. You’re in charge of your own space. You make the rules about where you put your towels, where you store your dishes, and when you do laundry—the world is your oyster! But residence also presents a unique challenge to this newfound freedom: you share it.

Though it may seem obvious that residences are a communal space, balancing the euphoric feeling of freedom with the responsibility of respecting your neighbours is a common conflict. In light of this inevitable dilemma, here are a few examples of residence etiquette that you can bring to your dorm to make it a safer and more comfortable space for everyone.


Clean up after yourself

Your room is your own. You can do whatever you want with it (as long as it abides by the Residence Code of Conduct). Arrange it how you’d like, decorate it the way you want, and put off washing your sheets for a month if you really must. But once you walk out the door, the space around you is no longer just yours. As such, any mess that you make is your responsibility.

Yes, there are custodial staff, but they have the entire building to keep in order. A simple spill, a pile of dishes, or old food that needs to be thrown out can all be handled by you. Speaking from experience, walking into a bathroom with no clean stalls because no one wiped down their seat can get pretty annoying. Simple quick fixes that may seem unnecessary to you can make a world of a difference to everyone else around you.


Greet the custodial staff

This piece of etiquette goes hand in hand with cleaning up your messes. These employees are given the task to keep their buildings up to code. They’re the ones who wipe down each shower stall, mop the bathroom floor, take out the bags of trash, and polish the hallways. Without them, dorms would rot. They work every day to make sure students live in a safe and clean environment, so the least you can do is say hello and thank them.


Mind your laundry

Like most other spaces, you share the laundry room with everyone. And as you can expect, there's often a line waiting to get a hold of the machines. So after you load your clothes into the washer or dryer and pay the fee, please set an alarm. You’d be surprised how easy it is to forget your clothes once a half-hour has passed! Leaving the machines unusable because your stuff is still in them isn't fair to those waiting. If you do forget, don’t be surprised to find your clothes piled on top of the machines.

Also, make sure to clean the lint traps. I always check them before I press start and clean them out once my load is finished. A full lint trap is a fire hazard!


Be aware of scents

As it says in the Residence Code of Conduct, please avoid using strong scents. This doesn’t mean you’re not allowed to use perfume or body spray if you’re going out on the town. Just avoid spraying it in the hallways or in the bathrooms where it can be a problem for those sensitive to smells. Also, if you're using products such as hair dye, make sure to use them in well-ventilated areas. Odours linger, and when two or three different smells are thrown in the mix, things can get pretty overpowering.

When all is said and done, it all boils down to respecting your neighbours. Be mindful that others are living around you and respect the space that you pay for. If everyone does it, you won't have to pay for damages (which happens more than you think), and your residence life will make for a great memory!