As a soon to be college grad, I feel that I should pass my extensive knowledge about college kitchens and cooking onto all the incoming and future students. Let me preface this article by say that all college kitchens are small. Once again, ALL COLLEGE KITCHENS ARE SMALL. Do not think big and extravagant. Just because you are out of the dorms and have a kitchen does not mean that you should cram it full of gadgets or multiples of anything. You won’t have any space for the important things! So here are a few tips and tricks that I have learned!

The Do’s and Don’ts of the College Kitchen
    
First of all, do not bring multiple sets of dishes.  One, maybe two, sets of dishes is all you need. Anything more than that is excessive.
    Second, don’t bring big, bulky gadgets. You don’t need a hand mixer or a baster and there won’t be room for them anyways. Unless you plan on cooking a full turkey dinner at your apartment, you don’t need most gadgets, even the ones that seem practical.
    Just because there are ten cabinets in your kitchen does not mean that they are all for you. Same goes for the fridge and freezer. You may want to go and buy everything in King Soopers, but remember that no one likes a freezer hog, especially around finals.
    
    The first “do” I would tell you is to check with your roommates before stocking up on kitchen needs. Chances are, one of your roommates has already gone to Target and the Container Store and stocked your kitchen. Therefore, the items you need to bring may be minimal. If none of you have looked into kitchen needs yet, get together and figure out what you will realistically use. Split up the list and go shopping.
    You need to make sure that you know what your kitchen looks like before going kitchen  crazy. A lot of kitchens that I see in Boulder come equipped with a fridge, stove, and microwave. I made the mistake of bringing the microwave from my previous house to my current house.  This is a waste of space and energy. No one wants to be spending extra money on the second microwave.
    When it comes to buying food for your self, be smart. Don’t go and buy three weeks worth of salad fixings. Half of it will go bad before you even think about eating it. I go to Costco for all the big, non-perishable items like nuts, breakfast bars, teas, etc. Like I’ve said, college kitchens are small so even though you are saving money buying in bulk, you need to be careful of your methods of storage. I have taken my Costco boxes and arranged my space to be half bedroom, half pantry. There is space under your bed for boxes. You can put what you will eat immediately in the kitchen and store the rest for later.

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Comment by Kathryn Sahr on January 27, 2012 at 12:35pm

The lessons I have learned in my college kitchens will definitely be helpful once I graduate. Like you said, its hard to shop for one (especially produce) and apartment kitchens are just as tiny as the ones in college housing! I've also found that minimizing dishes, utensils, pots, etc helps a ton!

Comment by Michele Wagaman on January 27, 2012 at 12:31pm

Nice post, Kathryn! I definitely agree on the do's and don'ts of a college kitchen, but I think this can even go for young couples. My boyfriend and I live together, and we often times end up buying too much produce or bread that is being thrown out a week or two later. It's hard to shop for one, two and three people, since a lot of what you find in the grocery store is made for a family of 4 or more.

Costco is great for those non-perishable items, and when you're in college, you have little-to-no money, so you're trying to save everywhere you can! The idea of storing some in your bedroom, and in the kitchen is a good idea, especially if you have sneaky roommates that try to eat your food! :)

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