Too Many Cooks

Learning how to plan and prepare your own meals can be daunting enough, but for many students this chore is bundled with the stress of sharing living space.

Following are a few guidelines for balancing cooking what you want and when you want with the reality of having roommates.

Share responsibility

Roommates who share common areas should also share the responsibility of keeping up with them, which includes cleaning and replacing communal supplies. It might help to schedule weekly rotating chores to ensure cleaning tasks get done. Sit down with your roommates to discuss how to best divide cleaning and stocking tasks evenly so that the same person isn’t stuck replacing the paper towels every time you run out.

Establish boundaries

While the paper towels may be communal, food may not be. Establish boundaries from the start so you and your roommates understand what’s shared and what isn’t. Conflict can be avoided later by making it clear now that your slow cooker and seasonings are fair game, but the bananas you put on the countertop each week are just for you.


When all else fails, communicate. It can be difficult to share common spaces with a roommate when you’re not on the same page about your living expectations. If you’re tired of them taking your food without asking, or if you want them to help more with cleaning, say something. Check out our roommate guide for more information about mediating conflict with roommates.

This article originally was published in the 2020 edition of our special publication Student Housing Athens, GA.