Starting university and realising that you have total control over the food you buy and the meals you make can be exciting, but also scary. Especially when you potentially will be sharing a kitchen will other students who you have never met before. You may have heard a few horror stories about student kitchens, but don’t worry! You be able to establish some flat rules about all the important things and learn as you go. Its time to learn fresher’s kitchen etiquette and start learning how to make a shepherd’s pie!
Don’t overbuy food (or underbuy)
One of the biggest mistakes that freshers make when they first start university is overestimating or underestimating the amount of food they will need for the week. Buying for one person can be hard, so a tip is to make double the number of meals when you are cooking and save some portions for the follow day for your lunch or dinner. A lot of students fall into the trap of buying food and then realising it has gone out of date by the time they try to use it. So stay on top of the food that will go out of date and make use of the food that you can freeze to preserve it.
Another good tip is to do joint meals if you get on with your flatmates. This saves a lot of money and you can also take turns cooking and doing the washing up.
But yes, students forget that you will usually only have access to one shelf in the fridge and one draw in the freezer so make sure you don’t buy too much and end up finding out it doesn’t all fit in.
The alternative problem is when students choose to not do a weekly shop but buy on the day they need food. Of course, this may work for some people so do it your way if this works! But some this method is just not manageable. Depending on where you live and how far you are from a supermarket will massively determine if you can do this or not. Make sure you don’t fall into the trap of buying on the day and becoming too lazy to leave and resulting to take aways multiple times a week. Not only is this not amazing for your health but it will drain your bank account! Which is not ideal considering how many events will be going on during fresher’s week!
Section the fridge
With the limited fridge (and freezer) space you get, it can be good to section the shelves and make sure you know who is putting there items where. This way you will avoid everyone putting their food anywhere and people accidently taking things that are not there’s. A shelf each is usually how it works
A good idea is to always have something freezable at home so that if you do get too tired to pop to the shops then you’ve got something you can defrost and have for your dinner.
Take the bins out!
Take your bins out! The amount of rubbish that can come from a student flat is more than you would expect so make sure you take the bins out when they get full, or you can attract all sorts into your flat.
If you ate in halls, you will most likely have monthly flat expection whereby you will be required to take all the bins out so this is just good practise.
A good idea is to create a bin rota so that everyone can help out. This way no one gets stuck with the bin job!
Set some rules
You don’t have to come up with a whole list of rules and write them all down but having some loose rules with you flat is good. If you are happy for them to use a bit of your milk or your sauce if they have ran out then let them know. Just so you know you can borrow theirs if you run out without having to ask them.
If you are happy for them to borrow items you have and then replace them the next say then let them know this as well.
If you start having problems with your milk disappearing then just pop people a message and let them know they need to ask you before using your things. This way you can avoid so many problems.
Clean up after your self
This is probably one of the most important things you need to do. Occasionally, you may leave a few crumbs and not think anything of it. But if everyone did this you end up with a big mess. So just make sure to wipe the surfaces whenever you are done in the kitchen.
As well as this, make sure to sweep up anything on the floor. Student kitchen floors can be the worst so I would recommend a pair of sliders! Unless your flatmates are very clean people.
By everyone doing it themselves it means no one has to clean up the mess of anyone else – which can be very annoying so don’t let yourself be that person!
Another important thing to note about keeping clean is your washing up. It is the worst when peoples pots and pans start piling up at the side of the sink or even in the sink making it unusable. So stay on top of this and wash your things after you have used them.
Living in a student flat with others in the same position as you can be lots of fun and a huge learning curve. You have to learn how to be independent and plan your food shops and be able to fit it all in your dedicated spaces. Even if you aren’t the bets of friends with your flatmates (which can happen but don’t worry about it!) then still try to come to some agreements about the bins, cleaning and borrowing food.