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When couples move in together, conflicts and disagreements frequently arise around the issue of sharing a bathroom. Spouses and partners need to search for space to store their toiletries, makeup, razors and other hygiene items. If each person has a similar schedule, couples may find themselves competing for time in the bathroom each morning and rushing to get to work on time. If kids are also fighting for space and time in the bathroom, things can get even more complicated.

Sharing a bathroom leads to headaches for many families, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Conflicts can be largely avoided by communicating and by respecting the needs and feelings of others.

Keep It Organized
If several people share a bathroom and each uses makeup, shampoo, conditioner, face cream, hair gel and other beauty products, the shower, counter and drawers can become a cluttered mess. One way to avoid this pain point is to designate a clearly defined space for each person. Another option is to have each person keep his or her toiletries in a container in a bedroom, carry everything into the bathroom when needed, and then return the items to the bedroom.

Clean Up After Yourself
Each member of the family should be expected to clean up after him or herself. Even young kids can learn to clean up toothpaste in the sink and to not leave wet towels on the floor. As they get older, children can take on more responsibility. They’ll be much more inclined to clean up after themselves if they’re taught to do so from the beginning—and if they consistently see their parents do so.

Make a Schedule
One of the best ways to avoid problems and make sure everyone gets to work or school on time is to create a bathroom schedule. While the person who needs to leave first should have first dibs on the bathroom, they should also understand that they need to be finished by a specific time to make room for the next family member. If some people prefer to bathe in the evening, that can make things less stressful for everyone in the morning. If someone’s schedule changes for any reason, that person should tell other family members in advance so any necessary adjustments to the bathroom schedule can be made.

Communicate and Respect Each Other
Sharing a bathroom with family members doesn’t need to be stressful. Disagreements and misunderstandings can be avoided by talking to each other and by making needs and expectations clear. Parents should lead by example. If adults make a habit of keeping the bathroom organized and respecting each other’s time and schedules, children will grow up believing that it’s the norm. This can help the whole family get along better while sharing a bathroom.