Shared self catering @ uni: tips & etiquette

(44 Posts)
tobee Sat 26-Aug-17 14:16:24


I've seen bits of this mentioned on other threads but wanted to pool your

So, ds received his 1st year accommodation offer yesterday. It's part of the uni's "student village" which means he gets to share a kitchen and shower room with 4 other housemates.

What tips and etiquette have you gleaned from dc/yourselves for shared self catering? How does it work? Is he likely to get his own cupboard? Presumably share part of the fridge? Do people label stuff? Do they share milk?

Presumably no equipment is provided e.g. toaster, kettle, pots and pans etc. Dd just finished uni and had a studio flat to herself last year so we have loads of this stuff. How will it work in a shared kitchen?

So many questions!

Anything else we should know?

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ItBroke Sat 26-Aug-17 14:21:30

Hmm, did you watch the Young Ones?

ItBroke Sat 26-Aug-17 14:28:35

I've had four DC at Uni in recent years and sharing in halls has mostly been ok. The most important factor is who you end up sharing with. There is no point planning things too much until you've met your flat mates. Generally people have their own stuff and do their own cooking but one of mine ended up living with a group that ended up doing quite a bit of group cooking. I think that's unusual.
It's not unusual to get one or two messy lazy flatemates who take the piss.
One of my DDs thinks she was the only one to ever take the bin bag down to the bins. When she was away for three weeks on a placement she returned to a disgusting fly ridden kitchen as no one had bother to take the bin down.
Another one of my DCs were in a shared halls where 11 shared a kitchen. Not surprisingly that didn't work out too well. There was one boy who constantly used to steal food and use everyone else's belongings. He was a medical student too. You would think he would no better.
Can you DC contact his flatmates?

BackforGood Sat 26-Aug-17 14:34:45

Agree with Itbroke - depends very much on the personality of those sharing.
Yes, you generally get your own cupboard, but usually things like drawers aren't plentiful so often cutlery / utensils tend to end up being shared.
Fridge - there is space and up to the individuals in the flat to decide. If enough shelves then a shelf each makes sense - labeling things becomes a pain.
Usually people have their own food rather than sharing, but if 2 wanted to get together to share something that would go off before it got used then that's between those 2. They don't tend to have much of a 'pooled' resource though as it will vary wildly who eats what. Some cook, Some don't. Some are vegetarian or have allergies. Some are just fussy. Some will want to buy 'brands' others will want to save pennies, etc.
Seems to work best if you have that one 'bossy' one who sorts everyone else out wink

tobee Sat 26-Aug-17 15:07:50

Thanks for these responses.

Yes, I watched The Young Ones (so has ds). grin

At one point I thought "maybe he'd take his crocks etc to and from his room?" But a) that'd surely be barmy b) his room looks tiny.

I think problems could arise if someone uses up the last of ds's milk, and people not liking his not cleaning up after cooking, despite my best efforts to get him to and the length of time he spends in the toilet.

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BackforGood Sat 26-Aug-17 15:24:10

My ds was a good cook, but of the variety where he'd use everything in the kitchen and not do much clearing up, before he went to university.

When I went to visit once, and had served something out of saucepan onto plate to sit and eat, he told me off for not washing the pan before my bottom touched the chair grin

Three years of sharing with two of the originals from his student flat and he's now a changed man. They have beaten him into shape. All credit to them.

tobee Sat 26-Aug-17 15:26:51

Oh yes. It's ds's first cooking lesson today. Lesson 1 boil water for pasta. hmm

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2014newme Sat 26-Aug-17 15:35:54

Fgs by age 18 kids should be able to cook a bit. My 9 year old can make a few meals.

Squirrills Sat 26-Aug-17 15:44:53

Usually a kettle , toaster and microwave are provided.
Both my DSs went into self catered halls in year one and were very lucky in that they made such good friends they shared again in later years.
A sharpie is a good way to label food though I don't think DS ever did.

Last year DS2 was in a flat of six. There were two fridge freezers so just enough for a shelf each in the fridge and a drawer in the freezer. There was also one cupboard each. Very little space to store pans, crockery and food. They seemed to set up rotas for bins and rub along together fairly well. DS kept some none perishable food in his room simply because there wasn't room in the kitchen.

I did spend some time on cooking lessons before they went. They were armed with half a dozen basic meals. DS1 was very lucky in that all his flat enjoyed cooking and had a cooking rota. That meant he only had to cook once or twice a week. albeit for six people. He bought a slow cooker and it was very well used. DS2's flat were all more pot noodle types grin. His most used kit was a pannin maker for cheese toasties.

tobee Sat 26-Aug-17 16:07:30

2014 thanks for your helpful comment. Ds has cooked meals before. But not basics. They didn't get lessons at school and he has severe dyspraxia. But well done to you and your 9 year old.

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fireworksabigbag Sat 26-Aug-17 16:10:34

Shocking that you've left it this late to teach your DC any cooking life skills.

BizzyFizzy Sat 26-Aug-17 16:16:01

My DD is going to be in a 4 person flat which seems a bit small if you get one or two who are loners weirdos.

I've encouraged her to set up a milk kitty, maybe even extending to bread and eggs.

She's a good cook and can easily do a 3 course dinner party for 8. It would be really nice if her flat mates ate together once in a while. She won't know until she meets them.

Kez100 Sat 26-Aug-17 16:16:32

My DD had one food cupboard and one crockery/pan cupboard. The cutlery was all in together. She had an underbed storage box which was used for tins, can any dried things like pasta before they were opened.

They had one fridge and freezer shelf each. Milk was labelled. They bought their own food apart from parties.

They started with essentials, like milk and cleaning stuff, being a shared money pot but the arrangement soon falls apart if one doesn't like it or runs out of money. Once freshers is over there are students with no money, quite literally. If you are one of those or have one in the house these arrangements fall apart. So it's best for them to work it out themselves as they meet and as time goes on.

My DD s milk arrangements had that problem. Cleaning remained a group thing but mainly because they rarely ran out as they'd all taken a supply when they arrived. Toilet rolls were about the only thing that cropped up a lot and between 4 of them it wasnt very expensive.

coldflange Sat 26-Aug-17 16:19:48

DS was in halls last year. He shared a kitchen with seven others. There were two toilets and two showers between them also.

There waa a wall cupboard and base unit cupboard foe each person - so cereals, tinned food, spices etc in the top cupboard with rge bottom used for pans, crockery etc. Also a cutlery drawer each.

Two large fridge freezers - so a design shelf and freezer drawer apiece.

No one cooked and ate together. DS said they didn't all get along too well.

There was a bin rota though. Plus a cleaner for the shared areas.

This year he is in a house with just two others so hopefully it will feel more like a home.

tobee Sat 26-Aug-17 16:24:25

firework what a daft thing to say. My dd cooks perfectly well. My son has cooked but has done more family type meals like roast meat etc rather than basic meals. As I said he has severe dyspraxia and finds it very hard to use a knife but can do so. He also has excellent life skills thank you. He travels all over London, and the country by himself and manages his own finances etc, changes light bulbs, mends televisions, laptops etc.Babysits and is the go to guy for his granny's computing problems. Sorry he hasn't sorted out world peace though. My boiling water for pasta was meant to be an amusing comment.

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tobee Sat 26-Aug-17 16:27:00

Thank you for the other useful replies, it's appreciated.

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fireworksabigbag Sat 26-Aug-17 16:27:17

No need for his full CV.
Bit defensive there OP.

You've clarified it was a joke, that's all that was necessary.

tobee Sat 26-Aug-17 16:40:41

Yes I am defensive when people criticise my kids. Strange that. Why did you feel it was necessary/a good idea to make snarky comments? Both doing on aibu today.

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tobee Sat 26-Aug-17 16:41:25

Nothing doing on aibu I meant

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Squirrills Sat 26-Aug-17 16:54:41

No place for that on here firework. This board is a very helpful and supportive place for people with student age DC. The OP asked for practical advice from people with DC recently in S/C halls. That's all.

tobee Cleaning the kitchen in halls is often included in the rent, the exact details will be in the accommodation small print.. They are expected to leave worktops clear on cleaning day, though having seen the kitchen after it was cleaned I wasn't too impressed.

BackforGood Sat 26-Aug-17 17:04:31

To be fair Tobee - it was you that implied he couldn't even cook pasta. No indication it was a joke - you can't tell from reading lines on a forum with no intonation or facial expression.

Toilet rolls were about the only thing that cropped up a lot

Yes! grin
Has become a standing joke in our family - indeed, ds was given some as a Christmas present. I think it was the one thing ds and flatmates / housemates could never agree on and they all ended up having their own separate rolls grin

In halls, ds had a cleaner come in once a week (not him personally, it was part of the fees grin) who did the shower, toilet and kitchen.

ds got on well with 5 of his 6 flatmates, but everyone tends to keep different hours so cooking together regularly didn't seem practical. Plus, I suppose 2 were veggie and ds likes his meat!

Yes to a slow cooker. Someone gave ds one and he used it loads for making soups, chilli, bolognaise, curry etc then froze spare into 'ready meals' for another day.

ItBroke Sat 26-Aug-17 17:04:47

MN is so weird. I think some posters enjoy being unpleasant.

Two of my DC ended up taking their pot and pans etc back to their rooms as there was one lazy flat mate in each of their flats who would use their stuff and not even wash it up after use.

I'm not sure why posters are so obsessed with 'mothers' teaching their adult DC how to cook. It isn't difficult and there are a million YouTube videos to show you how. Yes it's great if they have the basics before they go but it's hardly the end of the world if they don't.

tobee Sat 26-Aug-17 17:05:20

Thanks again for the helpful comments.

Maybe it's time to go over to aibu and start a thread for your reminiscences of threads that you started that you thought would be a friendly, innocuous, sharing one and went bad! grin

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tobee Sat 26-Aug-17 17:07:21

Fair comment Back.

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mateysmum Sat 26-Aug-17 17:21:53

My Ds's uni has an app/facebook pages where you can hook up with your future flatmates. Very useful so you don't find there are 8 toasters, 8 kettles etc. 7 of which never come out of the box!
Worst thing is flatmates who simply won't do their share of the cleaning. DS doesn't lift a finger at home if he can get away with it, but quickly got pissed off with his flatmate who agreed to the rota then did nothing.

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