The five golden rules of a share house kitchen
Living in a share house can be a great experience, but those of us who have lived with others know that certain people can make the experience a little more painful than it needs to be. For some reason it’s particularly bad in the kitchen, where people stop caring about what constitutes acceptable behaviour and start acting like 5-year-olds.
I recently lived with a guy who didn’t clean his blender after making a smoothie. Two months later, the blender still hasn’t been cleaned and is slowly fermenting and creating an awful vomit-like stench. This housemate moved out a few weeks ago leaving his blender behind, and he sent one of the remaining housemates a text demanding he clean the blender out for him. No, we didn’t clean it for him.
To help you avoid a similar situation, here are some basic guidelines to help avoid conflict with your housemates when sharing a kitchen.
Know what’s yours and don’t eat what you don’t own
While it’s easy to pinch two eggs or some mi goreng when no one else is around, the more you do this, the more you’re taking away from someone else.
Udit, 22, recently moved into a new share house, and while three out of four housemates are great, Udit says there’s one who’s always taking his food and using his pots and pans. Udit says he wouldn’t mind as much if the guy cleaned up after himself, but he doesn’t, instead leaving the mess for everyone else to deal with.
Take some responsibility
If you did take those eggs and someone wants to know, tell the truth and own up to it. Replace the eggs if you can.
Also, clean up your mess. If you spill some milk on the floor or some sugar on the bench, don’t leave it for the next guy.
Amy, 27, who’s been living in share houses for most of her adult life, once lived with two friends who she describes as “lazy” when it came to cleaning. They would never empty the rubbish or put away dirty dishes using “the garbage bin is too full” or “the dishwasher was full of clean dishes” as reasons why they couldn’t clean up.
Clean out the fridge
Work out a system with your housemates when you move in together and stick to it. Whether you take turns cleaning out the fridge each week or get together once a month to throw out the moldy food, make sure you’ve got a system in place.
Hot tip: give the fridge a quick wipe down on the reg.
Talk to your housemates (passive aggressive notes don’t count)
Sometimes this one can be pretty hard, especially if your housemates refuse to take any responsibility. No one responds to passive aggressive (or even the most aggressive) Post-it notes, so have an actual conversation with the people you live with about what’s going on in the kitchen. Make sure you’re all on the same page and, if not, maybe it’s time to look for some new housemates.
Alahna, 23, came home one night to find that her housemates had left every single dish in the kitchen sink, what she says was a regular occurrence. It was the last straw. She couldn’t just ignore the problem - she needed to talk to her housemates about it. Alahna might have yelled a little first, but it was the first step towards proper communication.
Don’t be that guy
It’s pretty easy: don’t be the guy who leaves his dirty, disgusting blender sitting in the kitchen for two months. Don’t drink all the milk you didn’t buy and not replace it. Ignoring the problems you create will only set you up for a long line of unhappy housemates.
Peta Short is currently completing a Master of Communication at RMIT University.
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