Making the most of your shared kitchen

It’s September, and students are moving into hundreds of shared kitchens in Liverpool! The kitchen is the busiest room in any house, so it can be a challenge trying to share it peacefully.
 
Whether you’re moving in with students, work colleagues or even a partner, here are our essential tips for successfully sharing a communal kitchen.
 

1. Set the ground rules from the start

When you first move into the house, have a meeting with all your housemates. This is the best way to establish ground rules (what are everyone’s standards of “tidy”, for example), and allocate tasks.
 
Ideally, you all need to agree a rota for chores, and make a chart for the kitchen so everyone can see who is responsible for which tasks on which days.
 

2. Always clean up after yourself

It’s basic courtesy in a shared kitchen to wash your own dishes, and wipe down the kitchen worktops after you have prepared your food. This will make things much easier for the person who has been allocated the cleaning this week. It will also help to keep the peace, as others won’t want to cook in a dirty, cluttered kitchen.
 

3. Set up a kitchen kitty

There are shared costs involved in a communal kitchen, such as paying for cleaning equipment, which you will hopefully all be using on a regular basis! Setting up a kitchen kitty is the best way to make sure everyone is paying their share and getting reimbursed for any products they buy themselves.
 
Communal meals once a week or fortnight are a great idea for bonding with your housemates! The kitchen kitty can also be used to pay for ingredients for these.
 
The best way to run your kitchen kitty is to set up an Excel spreadsheet so everyone can keep records of their contributions.
 

4. Don’t eat other people’s food!

This can often be the hardest part of sharing a kitchen, so it needs to be handled well from the start. Everyone should be allocated their own cupboard and shelf in the fridge. Stick to these, and remember to label each item you buy with your name. Only eat food from your own cupboard or shelf, that has your name on it.
 
If the temptation ever gets too great, own up and replace the product straight away. Whatever you do, don’t replace it with a cheap imitation – it needs to be an exact replacement, to show you care about what you’ve done.
 
If any of your food items are going to expire before you can eat them, offer them to everyone else. This is a great goodwill gesture, and also reduces waste.
 

5. Keep communication channels open

If you’re going to share a kitchen peacefully, it’s important to communicate regularly with your housemates. Have weekly house meetings, preferably when everyone is sober! These are ideal opportunities to check you are all happy with the way the kitchen is being shared, and raise any grievances.
 
You can also use these meetings to adjust your kitchen budgets and check which communal supplies you need.
Do remember to write everything down though, and make sure everyone has a copy of the notes so you can all remember what has been agreed.
Happy sharing!
 
We hope you enjoy the experience of sharing a communal kitchen! If the design of your kitchen simply isn’t practical and you’re looking for ways to make better use of the space, please contact us. Here at HB Kitchens, we specialise in designing and installing custom fitted kitchens in Liverpool, so we can create a kitchen that everyone will be happy sharing!