I’ve always had a roommate. Regardless of with whom I’ve lived, I’ve noticed that there is one thing that holds true: the kitchen is the hotspot. By hotspot, I don’t mean a trendy, overpriced bar that everyone goes to only to leave unsatisfied and penniless two hours later. Nope, I’m talking about the hotspot for clutter, messes, and conflict. Now, I’ve lived with some incredibly considerate and tidy individuals. In my experience, even with a particularly effective system of “you use it, you clean it” or “top shelf is mine, bottom shelf is yours,” there are still common challenges that pop up from time to time. Here are a few ideas on setting up an effective, clutter-free, and joyous kitchen space when there are multiple cooks in the kitchen.
- Food sharing: My last roommate and I shopped at the same grocery store and ate a lot of the same items, which got REALLY confusing. If your household has some food items that are communal and some that are not, consider marking the “exclusive” food items with a sticker or writing your name on the bag. If you can identify something at a glance, it takes a lot less brain power to decide on your next meal.
- Food expirations: If you notice that you or your roommate are not finishing the milk or bread before it goes bad, consider going communal on those items. Wasting food just because it’s “easier” to keep things separate is no good. Also, consider moving those foods with upcoming expiration dates to the front of the pantry or fridge for a visual reminder.
- Item storage space: If storage space is tight and all the roommates have their own favorite mugs, pans, knives, etc. it’s time to compromise and consolidate. There is no need to have duplicates of the same items in the same space, so consider which one of you will provide each appliance and major kitchen item.
- Zoning: If you like to keep your items separate for convenience, create zones and label them clearly. If a shelf or drawer has your name in it, it’ll be so clear where to put your items away, you’ll never have to think about it again!
- Clean-up: Discussing clean up rules with your roommate(s) is crucial! I’ve had roommates that must have everything spotless at all times and I’ve had others that conduct ongoing, counter-dominating baking projects for 24 hours straight. Whatever your standards are for a well-kept kitchen, make sure to voice them up front and to consider the “what ifs.”
- Cooking schedules: If you and your roommate(s) have similar cooking schedules, but you’re cooking separate meals, consider combining your efforts. If your diets aren’t entirely different, it could be a really fun activity to do together!
What did I forget? How do you successfully share your kitchen space? Share below!
(image via Moving Insider)
About this blog: Joy. We want your life to be full of it. That’s why each Friday at Bneato Bar we write about ways to add more of it to your life. At the end of the day, it’s why we do what we do.