Leaving your belongings in a shared bathroom indefinitely

Background: I am a student at a fairly well known university currently taking a couple of summer courses and living in the residence halls. My current dorm is suite with a common living area off of which extend three 2-person dorm rooms and a bathroom that is shared by the suite’s six residents. This bathroom comprises two stalls a vanity area with two sinks and two shower stalls. The various residents in my particular suite have little or no social interaction. I only know two of them by name aside from myself and my roommate.

Situation: One of my suite mates (I’m not sure who so I’ll designate him SM1) seems to store all of his toiletries in the (shared) bathroom. He leaves his soap and shampoo in one of the shower stalls, leaves his towel hung over the two hooks corresponding to that shower stall and leaves a variety of other personal hygiene items (tooth brush tooth paste, razor, big box of Q-tips, etc) cluttering the counter surrounding the one of the two sinks. In order to use that shower stall that sink (or at least have counter space for your own use while your do) should the others be in use, one must move SM1’s belongings aside, set his soap and shampoo out of the shower, rehang his towel so that it is only on one hook, etc.

Question: Am I wrong in thinking that SM1’s requisitioning of our shared and limited space is rather impolite? If not, what should I do about the situation. Keep in mind that I don’t know who SM1 is (aside from not being me or my room mate) and am not on friendly (or unfriendly for that matter) terms with SM1. Thank you for any advice you have on this matter.

Next time you are near a dollar store, you can buy a shower caddy for a buck plus tax. Put his/her items in it and place it on the floor under the vanity if there is room, or some other noticable but fairly out of the way location. That should get the point across.

Food coloring in the shampoo would probably allow you to identify the culprit.
(Not real advice, hopefully that’s obvious.)

I don’t think that you are wrong to find that SM1 takes up more than his share of the space. There is a part of me which thinks that a brief note attached to the mirror stating

Dear Suitemates:

It has come to my attention that someone is leaving his stuff out on the counters (etc.) and causing a problem. Starting Friday, I will be assuming that any stuff left behind has been abandoned and is trash. You can thus locate it in the nearest trashcan.


Person who likes lots of space to spread out his own collection of toiletries which are stored in his own private space.
I’m not completely sold on this being effective, though, based on the number of annoying signs I’ve read in shared bathrooms about the proper disposal of certain feminine hygiene products, or the desirability of flushing toilets. I’m also not sure if I’d want my name attached to such a sign.

This is a large part of what’s so infuriating about the situation. Much of SM1’s stuff is in a rather large (in terms of base area, not incredibly deep) shower caddy. Just sitting there. By this sink. Easily portable.

I just inspected the situation again and realized that there are in fact multiple culprits (or one with two toothbrushes and two bottles of shampoo.) I don’t mind a toothbrush sitting on the counter on a tube of toothpaste, but the stuff in the shower, caddy and towel are just irritating, especially since I now realize they may each belong to a different person (though I feel safe in assuming the shampoo and soap in the shower correspond to the towel.)

Or Nair :smiley:

Since you don’t know who it is I think the note is the way to go.

Is the soap and shampoo really in the way? Can you shower with it there, in the shower? I don’t see why you don’t, if there’s still room for you and your soap and shampoo. SM1 will just have to buy soap more often as it melts more! As for the towel, can you find a way to each have your own hook (buy an over-the-door hook, since you say there are 6 people and 4 hooks)? Attach a note asking the person to use only one hook at a time. Maybe they just don’t realise that this annoys you, since you seem to have dealt with it up until now.

I don’t really think this is a big deal. If you lived in your own place, you’d probably leave your stuff in the washroom, simply because that’s where you use it. I lived in a house with 6 people, and we were FAR from being friends, but leaving shampoo in the shower was never an issue for anyone.

I’d try and talk to the person, or leave a polite note asking that they pack things away a little bit better to allow for counter space for everyone else, and leave it at that. These people are going to be there for several months, I presume. They just want to feel at home.

I don’t get it.

I think this is one of those things where there isn’t a right and a wrong, but the problem is that not everyone in the suite is on the same page. I work at a college and I have seen this issue before. The guy might be wondering why you are so distrustful and uptight that you feel the need to keep your toiletries in your private room instead of leaving them in the bathroom.

Summer housing is often difficult because students can expect things to work they way they did in their regular year dorm, and don’t realize that other students might prefer different arrangements.

I would suggest raising the issue with your suitemates, but keeping it open-ended and allowing for the possibility that the majority view might be that it is more convenient for folks to leave their caddies in the bathroom even if it makes things a little crowded. If that’s the case, then you have a good opening to suggest that people then put their shampoos back in their caddies rather than leaving them in the shower stall.

Yeah, I have to agree with mnemosyne. I think a polite note (or even better, getting to know your suitemates in person) is a friendlier first overture than a bossy sign. See if there’s some compromise that can be reached - obviously, leaving your toiletries in the bathroom is more convienent, but they also shouldn’t be left where they’re in other folks’ way. Six plastic shoeboxes from the dollar store, with names written in magic marker should be big enough to hold each person’s stuff.

If being accomodating and nice doesn’t work, then go ahead and get bossy. But don’t assume that these folks know they’re being annoying. They may be wondering why you don’t trust them not to steal your shampoo - obviously you’re standoffish and rude because you won’t even leave a toothbrush in the bathroom and you’ve never even asked their names!*

*Note, I don’t think this is true, just trying to illustrate how people can have vastly different interpretations of each other’s actions if they don’t communicate.

And, obviously, I agree with delphica, who snuck in there while my hamster was taking a snooze…

A couple of mean-spirited, terribly rude things came to my mind:

  1. Take towels off the hooks, put them on the floor and pour water on them.

  2. Put a note on the toothbrush: Guess where this has been.

  3. Put half-a-dozen little curly hairs on the soap cakes. (Extra points if they’re a color that no one in your dorm would have.)

  4. Loosen all of the caps on the shampoo bottles and let them leak.

  5. Put up another note: Whoever left the razor-- thanks! Mine was dull. (It might be amusing to sprinkle some drops of red Kool-Aid around it.)

These things are horrible, and I don’t suggest you do them, but sometimes asking nicely doesn’t work, and you might have to demonstrate in other ways that people shouldn’t expect their posessions to be respected in a common bathroom.

Thanks for all the help.
The only reason I have an issue with the stuff in the shower is that the stall is so small to begin with.