How to...share a kitchen
One of the first challenges to tackle in halls will be to share (and keep clean!) a kitchen while living with other people. If your halls are self-catered, then each person in your flat should have at least a personal cupboard. If you are in catered halls, the kitchen space may be more limited. In any case, below are some suggestions for helpful conversations and considerations early on:
Negotiate your space.
Sharing space can be tricky. Have a sit-down with your flatmates early after everyone moves in and discuss how you are going to allocate the spaces. This does not mean just cupboards, but also fridge/freezer shelves or countertops. Does any flatmate want to meal prep and need more space for leftovers? Does any flatmate not cook very often? For some flats it may be more straightforward than others, but it is still important to make sure that everyone is on the same page.
Consider having a common (or shared) cupboard.
Surely, this is not compulsory, but having a cupboard with shared essentials can make your flat feel more homely. It can be anything from common items: spices, olive oil, pasta, snacks or even fruit. If you share these things you can also buy them in bulk and share costs, which ends up much cheaper than buying and storing five separate bottles of oil or vinegar. Discuss how and whose items should be replaced, and make sure to keep track of who bought what last time.
There are a few things more frightening than stocking up on peanut butter only to realise that one of your flatmates is highly allergic. If you have a food allergy, make sure your flatmates are aware of it, and discuss what needs to be done next in order to make sure that everyone remains safe and healthy.
Make a cleaning rota.
While all common areas are cleaned by University staff once a week, you cannot and should not rely on this as the only time your kitchen is cleaned. In between, there are bins to be taken out, floors to be mopped, and that weird smell from the back of the fridge to be investigated. Having a cleaning rota in which there is a weekly/daily designated person to be responsible with keeping everything clean will help with avoiding a potential conflict later on. Sharing the costs of the cleaning products would also be a good idea.
In the time of Covid-19, it's more important than ever to be considerate of your flatmates and keep the communal areas clean. For more tips check out our staying safe in halls article and the Cardiff University guidance for hygiene in residences.
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