At HomeShare, it’s our goal to make shared living seamless. With two or more people living together, there’s a need to establish boundaries when it comes to shared spaces like kitchens. The kitchen can be different for each person. Some may find they decompress while cooking or baking, while some may see it as the perfect place to store frozen pizzas. Whatever it is you use your kitchen for, it’s a common space that can need a little “TLC” from all housemates involved.
There might be times where it’s a bit of a struggle to keep the space organized because not everyone feels the same way about what “clean and organized” means. Maybe you’re tired of the food containers spilling into your section of the kitchen or the dishes left in the sink. Perhaps there’s a lack of boundaries when it comes to this shared space.
So, how do you come up with a plan for kitchen organization and sharing? How do you collaborate with your housemates to create shared living that is seamless when it comes to kitchen organization?
We’ve assembled three strategies that can work separately or all together for you and your housemate to create kitchen organization and sharing that works.
· Strategy One: Create an Organization Plan.
With your housemate(s), sit down and create a plan. Walk through the kitchen together to come up with an organization method that works for all parties involved. Some things to note and write down are:
o When each person uses the kitchen/how often they will use the kitchen for meal preparation.
o What is the rule for cleaning dirty dishes? Is it okay if they’re cleaned the next day?
o What are the expectations for the organization of the kitchen?
o Are there certain things you want to share like pots and pans, silverware, and dishware? If so, who buys or provides them?
· Strategy Two: Label Drawers, Shelves, and Cabinets for Separation.
One way to ensure that items that are supposed to be separated actually are is through labeling designated drawers and cabinets. Maybe you each get two shelves in the refrigerator, two cabinets for food, and two drawers for storage. Whatever you choose, putting labels on who has each drawer, cabinet, or shelf can alleviate confusion. This can also come in handy when guests are visiting who don’t know how the organization and shared space works.
Note: Labeling can also work on food items that are in shared spaces.
· Strategy Three: Keeping a Shared Shopping List.
There are some kitchen items you don’t need two of. Some things to think about include paper towels, spices, butter, milk, etc. If you and your housemate have agreed to share items like this, keeping a shared shopping list is key. This will make sure all housemates are on the same page and can be used as a conversation starter if issues arise later on where one person is using these items more often than the other, possibly rethinking if it should be a shared item. Keep the list in a shared space, such as on the refrigerator, and include the following items:
o What items ran out
o The date they ran out
o Who is responsible (this should be on an alternating basis each week, bi-weekly, monthly, etc.)
o When the shared list has been completed/purchased
While kitchen organization and sharing with housemates can be a hard thing to tackle, it’s essential to ensure a place that is comfortable for each person. We hope these strategies will help you and your housemates be on your way to kitchen organization and sharing that works.