respectLiving with another person or multiple people, whether they are family members, or not, can present many challenges. Each person that lives in the home typically has a role and responsibilities to do their part. Everyone has their own individual personality and learning to live together takes effort and respect.

Personalities play a big part in getting along with others. You cannot choose your family members, but you can choose people to have other relationships with in your life. No matter what your relationship is with that other person, you will need to learn to get along with them if you are living together. Part of living together requires mutual respect, not only for that other person, but for their spaces and their belongings. Your home should be a place to relax and refresh from the stress of the ever increasing pace of life that we attempt to keep up with. Learning to live peacefully with one another is a key factor to create a peaceful, harmonious, virtually stress-free environment. Consider the strategies below to keep the peace as you learn to share your space with others.

Open Communication

So, how do we create this ideal atmosphere in our homes? The first thing I encourage you to do is adopt the idea of open communication. Everyone needs to be able to express their feelings and thoughts about the spaces they occupy. You all need to work together to define all the spaces in your home. That’s where the title of this article comes into play, ‘Respect…Yours, Mine & Ours’. If your home is spacious and everyone has their own bedroom and possibly their own bathroom, that’s great. However, there will be some areas that are used by all the members in the household. Kitchens, living rooms, and family rooms are a few of these common areas. We need to discuss rules and boundaries with one another, not only for our spaces but for the common areas as well.

Setting Boundaries

We all have ‘stuff’. Belongings such as, clothes, toys, art, books, decorations, and supplies we use for activities of daily living. From the moment we enter this world, and actually before we arrive, we begin the accumulation process. It’s amazing how much we accumulate and store, not to mention how much we discard. The space that we live in, our homes, store all of this stuff. Our homes are actually great big storage containers.

Determining how you will use your own space is easy. The common areas are a little trickier. Make sure that the negotiation of these common areas is as close to an equal split as possible. Figure out a way to compromise on areas that become sticking points.  Have respect for others input on these sticking points. Document the rules and boundaries you set for the common areas and your own spaces. If posting these rules and boundaries doesn’t appeal to you, create a binder to place in a central location, and make sure everyone knows where it is so they know where to go when in doubt where something belongs.

These simple ideas provide a path on your journey to creating a peaceful, harmonious, virtually stress-free living environment.