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Top 5 tips for surviving a shared kitchen

By ResLifeSubwardenSouth 08 Oct 2023

Coming to university may be the first time you have had to share a kitchen with people you have just met. Don’t worry it’s not as daunting as it sounds, and the kitchen can be a great space to have some fun and bond with your new flatmates.

Undoubtedly, the kitchen is a lovely place where we immerse ourselves in a fine culinary experience, preparing a variety of meals to soothe our souls after a long day at school. If your flat is a highly cosmopolitan one 😎, which is highly likely, you will find yourselves constantly immersed in the aura of some pleasing aroma, and you might have a good time tasting a variety of delectable meals.

The kitchen is a great place. It is where different cultures intersect. It is where the bond among flatmates is strengthened, and it will most likely be the only communal focal point for tolerance and understanding others better. On the other hand, and rather unfortunately, this is a place which would most likely be an area of contention and disagreements, and that’s perfectly understandable- mild disagreements are expected but aren’t supposed to linger and dent the cordial relationship we’ve built with one another. In this article, I’ll share some ways through which we can maintain a healthy kitchen relationship amongst ourselves.

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1. Develop a cordial relationship with all flatmates

An underpinning cordial relationship is indeed important to preventing kitchen disagreements, as such rifts are usually kindled by niggling and unresolved conflicts; hence some kitchen fights could simply be an expression of the latter. Foremost, all flatmates can develop a cordial relationship in the flat by having periodic social activities together – informal meetings to chat and perhaps play some games with one another and openly discuss their personalities, likes and dislikes. Through such activities, we’d get to know one another better and properly appreciate one another’s differences and preferences.

2. Prepare a flat agreement

All flatmates should meet and prepare a documented flat agreement. The agreement should expressly spell out the expectations of everyone as regards the kitchen. This lets everyone take responsibility and accountability and serves as a guide and reference point for resolving any conflict. 
Once you've completed it, make sure you send a copy to your warden team. 

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3. Prepare meals together

Preparing a potluck meal is one of the best ways of getting to know one another kitchen-culture-wise. You can choose to prepare a potluck meal occasionally. The entire experience of curating a menu and cooking together will unite you and provide a first-hand experience of how each person does their things in the kitchen. This is one of the valuable ways to learn to survive in a shared kitchen.

If you are planning on making a more complex meal that requires a lot of preparation space, it may be worth asking your flatmates what time they are planning on cooking. 

4. Maintain adequate kitchen hygiene

No one wants to come home to a huge stack of dishes or an unclean kitchen. Obviously, everyone has different ideas about what is a good standard of kitchen hygiene. I've found that most kitchen disagreements are caused by different opinions about how clean a kitchen should be. How hygiene should be maintained in the kitchen should be clearly spelt out in the flatmate's agreement and strictly adhered to.

A general rule of thumb will be to immediately clear any clutter or mess after using the kitchen. Doing the dishes immediately after cooking is also highly essential.

5. Repeat the four recommendations

Maintaining a clean kitchen is a continuous and dynamic process, as flatmates' expectations and behaviours may change over the period of their stay. Ensuring a good cordial relationship, preparing and periodically reviewing the flatmate agreement (if necessary), preparing meals together occasionally, and maintaining adequate kitchen hygiene are some recommended ways of looking after a shared kitchen.

We hope that these tips will help you survive sharing a kitchen and allow friendships to flourish between you and your flatmates. Now you just need to decide what to cook!

Atsu Dede Latey

Butler's Wharf Residence Subwarden