For many students, living in halls is the first time they live away from home and share spaces with other people their age. Below are some suggestions and tips on what to do and not to do while living in halls, which hopefully you will find useful; I wished I had learned some of them from the start!
Sharing a kitchen
- Have a common cupboard. Not only will it make your flat feel more homely (sharing really is caring), but it will also help save up on essentials such as flour, rice, oil and spices. You can buy them in bulks and share the costs.
- Keep a cleaning/bin rota. While sometimes the distribution of chores works out seamlessly, it is likely that having a structure of duties will help to make sure that chores are done regularly and help avoid resentments further on.
- Read our ‘How to share a kitchen’ article!
- Assume that unlabelled food is up for grabs. If something looks misplaced or it seems that it does not belong to anyone in the flat, it is always better to ask first before using it. This can help avoid conflicts further on, and it also means that if you leave your own food out everyone will know to ask first.
- Hoard mugs/plates/cutlery in your room. We have all been there: a single cup of coffee on your desk becomes almost overnight a pile of 5 dishes. However, especially if you and your flatmates are sharing items, make sure that you regularly bring back to the kitchen and clean the things that you used. It will also free up space on your desk.
Sharing a bathroom
- Have a cleaning rota. The rationale is the same as above. Besides this, always make sure you leave the bathroom clean behind you for the next person to use.
- Buy an air freshener. Trust me on this one, it will be a lifesaver.
- Leave empty bottles of toiletries around. Make sure to throw out empty bottles and toilet paper tubes, otherwise it can get quite crowded.
- Use your flatmates’ toiletries/items. Of course, unless this has been discussed before and they agree.
- Open your window regularly. Fresh air makes so much of a difference, so make sure to properly air out your room often.
- Clean frequently. Your desk, nightstand, drawers and other surfaces should be dusted and/or disinfected regularly, in particular high-touch areas such as handles and light switches. Make sure to also vacuum your room often.
- Keep a laundry basket/bag. Having a separate place for the dirty clothes (no, not on the chair) can help you keep track of whether you need to do laundry, and it also ensures that clean clothes do not get mixed with dirty ones. You do not necessarily need to get a laundry basket – any large sturdy bag will do.
- Wash your towels and bedsheets at least once every two weeks. Quite a lot of dirt and bacteria can grow on towels and bedsheets that are not washed often enough. It may also be a good idea to have two sets of each, so you can swap them and wash everything once a month.
- Put up posters outside of the pinboard. This can damage the wall paint – always check in advance with Reception if you are unsure if a piece of room decoration is okay to use.
- Overcrowd your room. While rooms at Cardiff University are reasonably-sized, they can get full very quickly. The more stuff you bring in the smaller it will feel overall. Make sure to consider twice if you really need to buy an item for your room and whether you have storage space for it.
- Try to get to know your flatmates. Not only will you be living with them for the academic year, but in times of COVID-19 you may also be seeing them more than usual (due to the advice to remain indoors). Try to talk to them and discover what shared interests you may have.
- Have a flat group chat. It is so much easier to communicate when everyone in the flat receives the same information and all the discussion occurs in a single place.
- Be noisy. This is especially important in the evening during the quiet hours, especially when it is in your Residences Agreement to keep the noise levels reduced. Nevertheless, it is generally a good idea to be considerate to your flatmates and not make a lot of noise. This is not to say that you should not play music in your room or sing in the shower every now and then. Just make sure that you consider your flatmates.
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