The holidays put a strain on most people. A Healthline survey found that 44 percent of people find the holidays “somewhat stressful,” with the greatest aggravators being financial (47 percent), healthy eating/exercise (16 percent) and picking the right gift (15 percent).

Add roommates to the equation and this time of year can be anything but jolly. Use these ideas to work together and respect the needs of one another, both personal and holiday-related, and you’ll both enjoy the spirit of the season.

Swap calendars

woman filling out a calendar

A major holiday stressor when living with roommates is the constant coming and going. Did you lock the door? Did you leave the iron on? Will you be coming in late tonight with friends? The best way to mitigate this stress is to swap calendars, or start a group calendar together.

If you use different calendars, no worries. You can connect with UpTo, a roommate app that pulls all your calendars into one shared platform, making it easy to keep up with everyone’s busy schedule without skipping a beat.

Take laundry to a cleaner

clothes at a dry cleaner

At first glance, this may seem like a curious recommendation, but hear us out. Laundry is already difficult to manage with multiple roommates sharing one laundry space. Add the holiday frenzy into the mix and it can feel impossible to get everything washed between festive dress-up events and prepping for time away with family.

Instead of fighting for space in the wash — or worse, having to wear something that’s not clean — wash the basics at home as needed and take the rest to a wash and fold cleaner. Not only will this reduce the stress of sharing your washer and dryer, but a cleaner is convenient in so many ways.

The key is choosing a service that you can rely on so it’s not just another point of stress during the holidays. You’ll also want to look into what services they offer and how much they cost.

Ask before hosting your holiday party (and clean up after)

girls in holiday pajamas with wine

Photo by Thought Catalog on Unsplash

You’re known for your annual holiday party — but you can’t host it without checking with your roommate first. While a shared calendar will help with this, it’s best not to assume that if they didn’t say anything, they don’t care. Instead, ask their permission first and with enough time for them to make plans outside of the apartment if they don’t want to attend.

You should also clean up as soon as possible after the party. Your roommate may not want to live in a messy house for a few days as you bounce between work and other events. Like any other time of year, this is just part of being considerate as a roommate.

Plus, your roomie may want to host a party of their own, and you’d appreciate the heads-up and post-party cleaning, too.

Make paybacks easy

jar of coins

A holiday candle here, a festive bottle of wine there — this time of year, you’re both buying fun items for the apartment. If you don’t keep track of what you owe one another, you could head into the festivities on a bad note.

Since everyone is spending more this time of year, make it easy to keep track of expenses and pay one another back with an awesome app for roommates, like Venmo, Splitwise or OurGroceries.

Don’t forget other helpful apps like Chorebuster to make sure you’re both doing your fair share of cleaning between parties and baking.

Be mindful of each other’s space

dog close up

If your holiday gifts for friends and family are piling up, don’t let them spill out into the living room or turn community space into your own little North Pole. At least not without asking first.

It’s easy to let things slide this time of year, when everyone is running around, busier than usual. However, when you’re stressed, the last thing you want to deal with is a messy apartment, dodging items that aren’t yours.

Instead, be mindful of your roommate’s space as much as you’d want them to be mindful of yours. While this may seem obvious, it’s easy run out the door in a hurry leaving behind all your gift wrapping stuff on the floor. Take the extra few minutes to put it away and ask your roommate to do the same.

Don’t give your roommate a reason to stress and ask that they do the same. Respect one another’s space, stay connected on comings and goings and take potential stressors like laundry out of the house to have a happy and stress-free holiday season together.

Jessica Thiefels is founder and CEO of Jessica Thiefels Consulting and has been writing for more than 10 years. She’s been featured in top publications like Forbes and has contributed to Lifehack, Reader’s Digest, AARP and more. Follow her on Twitter @JThiefels and connect on LinkedIn.

Header Photo by Max van den Oetelaar on Unsplash

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