As college students, we typically don’t have the time or the patience to keep things squeaky clean and organized. Areas like the kitchen, however, are crucial to keep clean because it is a shared space. Fortunately, it isn’t too difficult to give one’s kitchen and organization makeover.

To make it easy to determine whose food is whose, my roommates and I all have a specific cupboard that’s ours. This way, we can keep our food separate and are not confused as to who bought what.

For the most part, we buy the same brands of mac n cheese and ramen and other snacks, so it’s best not to keep them all jumbled on the same shelf.

We do have a community food cupboard, however, we have one for extra snacks and condiments and random ingredients for dinner.  

Marianne Nacanaynay a sophomore, shared how her and her roommates divide the food in their kitchen. They have a cupboard dedicated to breakfast foods and baking mixes, and a “carb cabinet” full of breads, rice and pasta.

Similarly, Ashlynn Eggleston, another sophomore, said she keeps all of her breakfast foods such as cereal, oatmeal and protein powder together for easy access in the morning.

Unique to Nacanaynay's kitchen, however, is a cupboard filled with reusable Starbucks cups, and the even better “Oreo cabinet” full of family sized Oreos. Storing dessert in one cupboard is definitely a possibility.

Nacanaynay also said that everything in their kitchen is communal except for things that are explicitly single serve. As far as the fridge goes, fruits and vegetables belong in the bottom drawers and everything else such as drinks, lunch food and leftovers fill up the remaining majority of the space.

My roommates and I arrange our fridge in a similar way. Drinks, milk and eggs, sandwiches, salads and leftovers take up most of the room in our fridge, with things like fruit, bacon, cheese and tortillas belonging in the drawers.  

When there’s room, we’ll each take over one shelf in the fridge or one of the drawers for things that we don’t want to share.

Dishes take up most of the leftover room in the kitchen. Collectively we have a full set of dishes, cups, utensils and silverware, so we combine them into their own respective cupboard or drawer.

The plates, bowls and cups are all together in one cupboard, and all the measuring cups, spatulas, serving spoons, tongs and other miscellaneous utensils are together in a drawer. The silverware and reusable straws also have their own drawer.

Eggleston also has lots of plastic and glass Tupperware that she keeps together in its own cabinet. My roommates and I don’t have enough food storage to warrant dedicating a whole cupboard to it, but it’s necessary if there’s an excess of containers and lids. 

Even though these spaces are full, it’s easier than having all the dishes split up between rightful owners and ultimately harder to find.

Shelf and drawer organizers have also proved to be extremely helpful in getting rid of clutter and overall allowing more space in a cupboard or drawer.

Finally, I think it’s important that roommates collaborate during meals. We’ll usually split the work up even if it’s as simple as having one or two people cook and one person to clean up after having a “family dinner.”

It also helps to rotate who cooks and who cleans as well, so if someone specifically wants to cook, they can. I personally like to cook dinner for my roommates a lot.

And even if we pick up food from three different places one night, we still watch TV together for an hour or two, so we can enjoy some quality family time before we split up to work on homework for the night.

Ultimately, keeping chaos out of kitchen isn’t as hard as it looks. It doesn’t take too much time or effort for the swamped college student to have a clean kitchen.

Tess Pickar is a staff writer.

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