How to Deal with a Messy Kitchen

Don’t suffer with a messy kitchen in silence. Image by 顔なし

There are some housemates that do all their washing up and clean the kitchen regularly. There are others who will avoid doing the tasks. If you live in a house that has a messy kitchen all the time, it starts to eat at you. I’ve lived in three student houses, including my student halls, and have dealt with many messy people. Here are my tips on dealing with a messy kitchen without it getting you down.

Talk to the Whole House

The first step is to talk to everyone in the house. Arrange a house meeting so that you are not singling anyone out and talk about the situation in the kitchen. Explain that you will clean everything this once – and would like help if anyone is willing – but after that you expect people to clean their own items and put things away.

The benefit of this is that you will not single someone out for it. You will talk to the whole house and this means that people are more likely to respond. You may also get help in doing the initial task of cleaning everything.

Set Up a Cleaning Schedule

Once you have cleaned the kitchen out fully, set up a cleaning schedule. This could set up a cleaning schedule for the whole house or just the kitchen. Want to know how to go about this? Check out my post on how to set up a cleaning schedule.

You will need to give each housemate a job to do and then rotate the jobs each week. Ask the housemates to tick off their job once it has been done. If it isn’t done by a certain day, arrange a house meeting to find out why the job hasn’t been done – the housemate may have a genuine reason why he or she hasn’t done it or may have just been lazy. Avoid being confrontational at this time as it will just lead to the culprits not doing anything in the future.

Do Your Own Washing Up

Make sure you stick to doing your own washing up. This will set a good example and avoid anyone telling you that you are a hypocrite. Do this as soon as you have finished using everything or as soon as you have finished eat. If you do your own washing up, you will know that you have a right to tell others to wash their own things.

I had a system of washing my things up at the end of the day. Anything that I used throughout the day would be placed in one spot and I would wash it all up on a night after my dinner. During the day, it would usually be a bowl, cup and a few utensils. It worked for me and my housemates as they understood I often needed to get out to university or work and didn’t have time until later that night.

Taking the Drastic Steps

Simple steps to organise your kitchen. Image by Palindrome9669

If you are still not getting through to people about washing up, you need to talk to them. This is when you need to single people out. Avoid being confrontational at first. Simply state that you are talking to everyone in the house to find out whether they have done their washing up. This often puts them in a spot.

At one point, I was living in a house with three others. One of those three would not do anything, even his own washing up, no matter how much we spoke to him. In the end, the three of us that did our washing up went into the kitchen and put everything to one side that was ours. The rest of it was put into a black bin bag and placed outside the guy’s door. He kicked off, stating that it wasn’t his, but we knew the truth. I trusted the housemates that had picked up items and said they were theirs and I knew where my items had been placed. The guy ended up moving out and left a ton of washing up so we had to do it all in the end. Luckily, we had a dishwasher (so I’m not too sure why it wasn’t done in the first place!) so it was all put in there and clean in a few hours.

Why didn’t we use the dishwasher before? Myself and another housemate bought dishwasher tablets between us and the third said that he didn’t want to use the dishwasher. We only really used it when we had a lot to do – usually when we had friends or family round and cooked a large meal or for Sunday dinner, which we sometimes had as a group. The culprit never put any money towards the dishwasher tablets or bought any so we refused to let him use ours. I guess he didn’t see the benefit of the dishwasher if he really didn’t want to do the washing up but at least it was there for us in the end.

I ended up buying my own plates, cups, pots and pans etc. and kept them in my room. This meant that I wouldn’t need to use anything that came with the house so I wasn’t worried about running out of things. Other housemates did the same so the guy was soon caught out in his lies. He came to us to say that there was nothing clean to use and it had to be our fault but ended up backtracking when he realised that we didn’t use the house stuff.

In another house, one housemate managed to blame everything on me. Even though I was contributing to the utility bills, I wasn’t properly living there so in the end I just moved out. My partner moved out with me, knowing that I was in the right at the time. After we moved out, the housemate that blamed everything on me soon realised that he had no-one to blame it on and the other housemate realised that I was in the right the whole time. I still haven’t gotten an apology but that’s just the type of person he is.

You don’t need to put up with a messy kitchen if you don’t want to. Some of the steps that I had to take were drastic. Start off slow and talk to the house. You may find that people just need a kick up the backside to realise how much work they are leaving others. Setting up a schedule is a great way to split the tasks up each week and make sure each housemate pulls his or her weight.

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