Sharing a rental house with a roommate can be a rewarding experience. You may even end up with lifelong friends. Every worthwhile endeavor has its challenges, however—especially when it comes to sharing a kitchen space! Here are six tips to sharing a kitchen in your rental house in Fort Collins or elsewhere.
This is the biggest key when it comes to sharing kitchen space. Your roommate won’t know that leaving dirty dishes in the sink overnight irritates you if you don’t tell them.
It’s a good idea to discuss your expectations on the front end of becoming roommates. How did your family handle kitchen space and chores? What did you appreciate or despise about that? Know your expectations and communicate with your roommate before the issues build up.
You may also want to consider how you will split space and if you will share any staples. Is one shelf yours and another your roommate’s? Can you share paper towels, cooking oil, and some dishes? If you can share some items, it reduces both cost and clutter.
Talking about what you want when you start sharing a rental house together will often take care of most potential problems. Sometimes, however, those discussions serve to highlight differences. That is when it is important to…
You and your roommate are unique individuals. That one-of-a-kind personality means that you have your own strengths and perspective—and it means that you won’t always agree on the same definition of “clean.”
Recognize that sharing space is just that: sharing. You’ll each have to give up a little of what you want in order to make the situation work. You may need to wipe the counters more than you’re used to, or you may need to allow your roommate a little extra time to clean up their own messes.
No matter what excellent systems you have in place or how well you get along together, there are bound to be times when you have to compromise. After all, it’s what our country is built on, and it works just as well with kitchen space.
3. Split the Kitchen Cleaning Tasks
Consider dividing tasks instead of having a general rule of “clean up after yourself.” That way, if the trash is overflowing or the counter is a sticky mess, you both know whose job is left undone.
Another way to split tasks is to split days. You could tidy the kitchen every day that ends with an even number, and your roommate could clean up every day that ends with an odd number. Again, that eliminates confusion about whose responsibility it is, and you each get regular breaks from kitchen duty.
4. Respect Each Other
A little respect goes a long way. Don’t eat your roommate’s food (unless they have clearly invited you to do so!) Be gentle with your roommate’s pans and knives if you’re sharing items.
Remember that your roommate is not your personal housekeeper, and try to leave the kitchen reasonably clean after you use it. If you’re the one who feels like you’re being treated like a housekeeper, communicate clearly and kindly with your roommate. The silent treatment or sarcastic comments probably will not solve your kitchen woes. Talking with your roommate like a rational human who can take responsibility shows respect.
5. Learn from Others
Don’t be afraid to ask for advice on how to share a kitchen. Do you have friends who share a rental house? Ask them what they have found helpful.
It can be especially helpful to talk with someone who knows your specific situation. Consider asking wise friends for advice even when they have not shared a rental home. After all, families and couples still have to share kitchen space, and you may be surprised how much experience others have in this area.
Remember to also ask what did not work for others. It’s much better to learn from their mistakes than to make them yourself.
6. Have Fun
Once you work through potential trouble spots, sharing kitchen space with a roommate can be surprisingly rewarding.
Consider cooking together or taking turns making meals for each other. The kitchen is a natural gathering hub, so enjoy catching up on each other’s days. You could even listen to music, podcasts, or audio books while you clean together.
Enjoy this season of sharing even if it may be challenging at times. You may look back on it one day and realize how much it helped you to grow and learn new things.