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Lemondrop, Original Work

Can This Software Help Real-Life Roommates Get Along?

My roommate Sarah and I have known each other for the past four years, but it was only this past winter that we decided to move in together. So as not to confuse you, we are both named Sarah.

When we signed our lease about eight months ago, we ran our apartment more or less like a boarding house, with a constant stream of friends, boyfriends, and siblings staying over, sometimes long past their welcome. Now that we are both employed, our home life has taken on a slightly more normal schedule (and rotation of people), and our apartment is generally a clean and pleasant place to be.

Despite the fact that our fridge is home to little more than cookies and individually packaged cheese, we live more or less like adults. When the sink is full of dishes, they end up being cleaned by one of us without complaint or petty griping over the price of soap.

Sarah feeds my cat when I go away for weekends, I give hanging pictures on hooks my best shot, and we both agree that having a zebra skin on the floor of our dining room is neither creepy nor off-putting to visitors. However, due to my slightly odd schedule of work, classes and sleep, I am often rushed and, to be honest, confused about the date. Sarah and I both thought that it might be a fun experiment to try out “Easy Roomin,” a new online roommate program designed to help us divvy up tasks and sync our schedules, to keep us both a little bit more organized on the days when we don’t cross paths.

After the jump, our respective reviews of this handy-dandy new program for those who don’t yet have a place of their own.

Sarah St. Lifer Says: As a suburban girl whose mother hired “Merry Maids” every Tuesday (but insisted on mopping after they cleaned), I spent the better part of my life in an ignorant and dust-free bliss.

I now call a two-bedroom in Brooklyn my home. I live with Sarah and her awesome porcelain dancing bears, elliptical trainer and regal portrait of her grandfather. The fact that she lets me engage in weird behavior like lying on the kitchen floor when my back hurts makes me feel very lucky indeed.

So, when we were pitched this roommate organizer, I participated to be polite, thinking it would be silly and not very useful. For example, I got an email at work today suggesting that I clean the toilet. My thoughts?

1. Very inconvenient.

2. The toilet is clean, thank you very much. Since I’ve lived on my own, I’ve discovered that things like that ring of grime around the tub or the fact that I sometimes leave fingerprints on the mirror exist. When those things happen, I clean them up. I don’t wait until someone (or Gmail) tells me it needs to be cleaned.

Sarah Crow Says: Aside from the difficulty of actually inputting data into Easy Roomin (which, for two people who work online, says a lot about its user-friendliness), I found myself initially a little put off by the email reminders.

If Easy Roomin were a smart-phone application, I might not mind occasional pop-up reminders about paying bills and doing chores, but when the cute guy behind me at the coffee shop can see that my inbox is full of messages reading, “CLEAN TOILET” it feels as though my life has taken on a new — and unwelcome — level of John Hughes–style cringe-worthiness.

SSL: Perhaps the chore tool is more useful for things that have a schedule — cleaning the litter box, taking out the trash — but my feeling is that you should be able to turn to the person you’re living with and say, “Hey man, I did this yesterday. Can you do it today?” Communication! It’s that easy.

SC: What I didn’t realize at first was that Easy Roomin wouldn’t stop telling me what to do until I was ready to scream “You’re not my real mom!” and lock myself in my room. Gentle reminders are fine, but a flood of emails reminding me that I’ve once again shirked my responsibilities make me feel a bit like it’s going to take away my allowance.

SSL: In conclusion, this software might be wonderful for people who live with a bunch of strangers they met on Craigslist and can’t speak to / keep house with. It’s a waste of time for roommates who actually talk.

SC: Agreed. If you’re giving your roommate the silent treatment but really want her to take out the trash, Easy Roomin is for you.

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About Sarah Crow

Writer, natural redhead, semi-professional napper.

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