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How to Share a Kitchen with Roommates

How to Share a Kitchen with Roommates

The kitchen is one of the most important areas of the house, particularly at home. When cooking a delicious meal, socializing or simply just drinking coffee with loved ones, our kitchen is one of the most frequently used spaces in the house.

This is why it’s so important to have it decorated and arranged properly, as to maximize everything you can do in it. And, who would know better than we, right? We all have stories shared by different generations about how to share a kitchen with roommates. Although it is really tough to share kitchen with different people at one time but with proper discipline and fair usage every kitchen is sharable.

Where to keep personal items

Sharing a kitchen with roommates is all fun and games until you have to figure out where to keep all your personal items. Trying to keep track of which box of pasta belongs to who is a complete nightmare. Plus, if you’re not careful, it could lead to some tension in your rental.

And while you’re at it, get one of those over-the-door shoe racks that everyone keeps talking about. All of these organization hacks will help you keep your kitchen clean, but they’ll also save you from stepping on a stray wedge of cheese when you go looking for your cereal in the morning. We don’t want that for you or anyone else.

How to organize the space

Shared living spaces can present some serious conundrums. Whose dishes are those? Do I have to use a coaster on the coffee table? And, perhaps most importantly, who’s turn is it to clean the communal kitchen? Whether you’re in a college dorm or just moved into your first apartment, you and your roommates will eventually have to figure out how to share your kitchen effectively. Here are some tips for making sharing a kitchen with roommates as painless as possible.

1. Decide who buys what and when

Your shared kitchen may be divided by space, but you and your roommates will still need to decide who is responsible for buying certain necessities like dish soap or paper towels and how often they need to be purchased. This can be helpful so no one person feels like they’re always the one picking up that week’s groceries.

2. Establish cleaning schedules

If you don’t live alone, there’s no way around it: You have to clean up after yourself. But keeping things tidy can be a lot easier if you set up a cleaning schedule with your roommates ahead of time. You could make a weekly calendar with each roommate scheduled for different chores throughout the week or assign daily tasks like taking out the trash.

Keep the shared (e.g., fridge, oven) areas clean

A clean kitchen is a happy kitchen. If you want to keep your roommates from going berserk, make sure you keep the shared areas clean. This means the fridge, oven, counters and floors. Don’t leave dishes in the sink for more than a day. Make sure you have enough dish soap on hand and everyone knows where it is.

Wash your dishes immediately after you’re done using them. If you cook, make sure everything is covered so it doesn’t spill everywhere. If something does spill, wipe it up immediately before it dries into a sticky mess. If you don’t feel like cleaning up, no one else will either.

Clean up your messes as soon as you make them

Not every housemate is a neat freak like you are, so it’s possible that your shared kitchen could look like the aftermath of a frat party in no time. To avoid this, make sure everyone understands their responsibilities. “It is important to be clear in the beginning about who is responsible for what,” says Apartment Therapy editor and co-founder Maxwell Ryan.

Be mindful of sharing food with roommates

If you’re sharing a kitchen with roommates, it’s important to establish ground rules and habits early on to avoid issues down the line. Be mindful of sharing food with roommates. It’s easy to go into a roommate situation thinking that sharing food is a given. But according to Cody, this can create problems if you’re not all on the same page.

“The first thing I tell people is that sharing food should be optional,” she says. “If you have one person who’s a big cook or baker and another person who doesn’t like to cook at all, it might make sense for the big cook to make extra and share it with the other person, but only if everyone is comfortable with that.”

Communicate what you need from a roommate in the kitchen

Just because you and your roommate are in the same dorm doesn’t mean you want to share food, cooking equipment or clean-up responsibilities. Here are a few tips for how to navigate sharing a kitchen with roommates, communicate what you need from a roommate in the kitchen, respect each other’s space and time, divide responsibilities, work together to keep it clean.

Beware of passive aggression when sharing a kitchen with roommates

When you’re living with roommates, sharing a kitchen can be one of the most challenging parts of the arrangement. People tend to be protective of their spaces, and they often have differing ideas about how to divide up chores or use shared appliances. To keep the peace in your house, talk openly about expectations for shared space.


The first thing to keep in mind when sharing a kitchen with roommates is that everybody is different. This can make it hard to share a space, but it is possible. If you have cabinets, is best that you write the name of each roommate and their number of roommates on a small sticky note and put it in the cabinet space.

This way everyone knows whose food or other supplies are in each cabinet. It is very important for everyone to keep a neat kitchen. It may sound obvious but even the smallest things like leaving dirty dishes lying around can make a huge difference.