How to Deal With Roommates Shopping in Your Closet

By Amanda Cohen on October 17, 2016

I know from personal experience that sharing clothing with roommates and/or friends can be quite the hassle. However, if you are anything like me, you find it hard to say no to people sometimes because you don’t want to come off as being mean, even though you aren’t mean at all.

Well, after living in a sorority house with 60+ girls and after spending two months in an apartment complex in which 75 percent of my friends live in I have discovered the perfect way to share clothing. Even though I do share clothing and ensure that everything I lend out is returned to me promptly, there are some things that I refuse to lend out. Read more to find out!

Let me tell you my mind-blowing strategy when lending out clothing. So, like I said earlier, there were some weekends in which half of my closet was being worn by other people. This would make most people nervous, but I have developed a system to ensure that I (1) know what is being taken from my closet, (2) who is taking the specific item from my closet, and (3) how long they expect to have the item for.

First, I never let anyone look through my clothes unless I am physically in the room. Even though I am not worried about people stealing things, I am more worried about people taking something and accidentally forgetting to tell me. When the person comes in to look at stuff and asks if they can take certain items to their rooms to try it on, I say yes as long as they get it back to me in 10 or so minutes.

Once that person comes back into my room and tells me what they will be borrowing, I ask them how long they expect to have it for and I write three things in my phone: (1) the person’s name, (2) the specific item she will be borrowing, and (3) how long she will have the item for. If she is borrowing more than one item, I put her name down multiple times.

If that person offers to get the article of clothing dry-cleaned or offers to wash it herself, always say no. Even though she has the best intentions, you are the one who knows how to properly wash certain items of clothing, and it’s better to err on the side of caution.

Now that you know how to properly lend out your clothing, the next question that needs to be answered is what should you lend out? Well, a lot of the time this is personal preference (some people prefer to lend certain things out compared to other people).

Even though it’s personal preference, my “criteria” on what to lend out is actually one used by a lot of my friends.

•Never lend anything out that you will be devastated about losing: if there is an item that is so special to you that you wish you could keep it in a lockbox, don’t let it out, because things happen and it’s possible that you may not get this precious item back.

•Never lend anything out that costs more than $150: if a friend of yours loses something, sometimes they will offer to reimburse you, and sometimes they won’t. You need to pretend that they won’t reimburse you, so do you really want to lend something out that, if lost, could break your bank?

•Never lend jewelry out: the thing about jewelry is that it is so easily misplaced and it can fall off so easily. I remember one night my freshman year I was wearing my favorite ring, and all of a sudden I couldn’t find it because it slipped off of my finger. If you want to lend out your $5 jewelry, go ahead, but don’t lend out the jewelry you received for birthday and holidays.

•Never lend out shoes that you don’t want getting dirty: there have been countless times where my friends have asked me to borrow some of my favorite shoes, and I have had to say no. Want to hear why? Well, much of the time my friends want to wear these shoes to the local bar, which tends to be quite dirty. If you don’t want your shoes getting trashed, don’t lend them out. However, you can lend out your “bar-crawl” shoes that are already destroyed!

There are some obvious exceptions to this rule. For example, there are some girls I will always lend my clothes to because they have maintained a perfect track-record when it comes to borrowing my things. However, if you have had an experience with a girl who has been terrible about returning items, never lend to that person again because that is just simply not acceptable.

Well, that’s all I have to say; happy closet shopping!

I am currently a junior at the University of Michigan.

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