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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Housemate’s unsanitary habits nauseate

Kathy Mitchell

Dear Annie: I live with a friend who wants the house to be neat all of the time. But his personal habits are disgusting.

“Bruno” washes up in the morning with a washcloth that he leaves on top of the hamper. He takes a shower once every two weeks. He coughs and hacks and spits into the trash can by his desk. He gets black newsprint on his fingers when he reads the paper and then it gets all over our white walls when he touches them. He is diabetic and disposes of his bloody test strips and tissues in a garbage can in the kitchen. Next to the table. Where we eat.

How can I tell him to be more sanitary? I get so nauseated by his habits that sometimes I want to move out, but I can’t afford that option. When I speak to him about it, he gets crabby. – Disgusted Roommate

Dear Roommate: This is what happens when people share living quarters – you have to find ways to live with those traits that irritate one another. We recommend putting a trash can with a flip lid in the kitchen, so his tissues and test strips are not visible, and the container is easy enough to use that Bruno won’t drop the tissues on the floor. You can do the same with the one by his desk. Do the reverse with the hamper – replace it with one that has no lid, so everything goes into a basket that can be carried to the washer. Don’t clean up his inky fingerprints. If he doesn’t like to see them, simply direct him to the cleaning supplies.

There’s nothing you can do about how often he showers. We think you should start scouting for another place to live that, with a second or even a third roommate, would be affordable.

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