Yes – you read that right! Unfortunately, not every single university student is blessed with the most perfect home-trained housemates. Some of us have to learn to ‘adapt’ to our environment and just survive the year ahead living with these reckless beings. If you are one of the unlucky ones, I have collected some advice on what to do if they start to steal your food alongside some personal anecdotes from my first year.

Step 1: Message the flat group chat/flatmate

whatsapp group chat
Source: Canva

This is definitely one of the more sensible and subtle approaches to addressing the theft of your food. You then stress about how to word the text as you don’t want to come across too hasty or too rude. When I knew that my flatmate stole my £1.59 chocolate gateau from ALDI, I used Facebook Messenger to hunt him down and texted him the following:

“Why did you eat my choc gateau? like….”

Bearing in mind, this was my first text interaction with him. It definitely doesn’t scream “loveliest flatmate of the year award”. Now, some of you may find it pathetic that I hunted him down over a £1.59 cake however, it was the principle. He should not have been stealing food from other people and I wanted him to be aware that I knew of his antics. Some of you may also ask “how did I know it was him?”. The answer is pretty self-explanatory. I saw chocolate crumbs on his plate near the sink ready to wash up. The thief wasn’t even smart enough to hide his evidence which is just comical! I bought this cake to celebrate finishing one of my assignments, so I was heartbroken to look in the freezer and to see that the whole cake had vanished! If I had a better relationship with my flatmates, they may have been lucky to get a bite but no – one of them took matters into their own hands and DEVOURED the entirety of my cake. The response I received was even more comical:

“There are not enough conclusive facts to know if someone stole it”

I was fuelled with anger. I started to doubt my eyesight, so I took a photograph of the crumbs and sent it his way. Spoiler: we did not share more than 10 words to one another for the rest of the year. I highly recommend for everyone to NOT be like this flatmate as nobody will appreciate you and you will just become a nuisance.

A double-layer chocolate truffle cake
Source: Wikipedia

Step 2: Label your food products! 

How to stop your flatmates stealing your food: label them! Of course, this is a very normal thing to do in households up and down the country. One of my flatmates thought that having his name plastered across his milk would stop people from stealing it. I have to commend his efforts; it was a good idea. Unfortunately, it never stopped me from using it to pour across my cereal and to make my endless cuppas. I was tempted to do the same, but it felt very pathetic and very pointless. If you have made it this far into the article, then you can gather that throughout my first year I was not only fighting a battle with my assignments, but I was also fighting a hunger battle of who could steal the most without getting noticed or what state am I going to find the fridge today! It was a very fun battle to be a part of. I think it has taught me a few things about how some ‘adults’ are not real adults. It proved to me that university is most definitely a simulation…

Step 3: Buy a mini fridge for your room


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Cavell Lim (@wafflecreamies)

This is one of the last point of calls if labelling and messaging hasn’t worked. If nothing changes after talking to your flatmates, labelling your food, and talking to accommodation reps then you should definitely consider investing in a mini fridge for your room. These can range in price from £30-80 and you can easily order one from Amazon to save yourself a trip to the local stores. You can store the essentials such as bread, milk, cheese, ham, and eggs without the fear of them getting stolen! Yes, this is the priciest resolution however in the long term, you’ll be thankful to come home from a long jam-packed day of lectures to food that you know hasn’t been touched! It’ll release a sense of relief that you have never experienced before. You could always ask your parents to split half with you on a mini fridge or you might be lucky to persuade them to buy one for you! Either way, it will resolve one less stress of your university experience!

Step 4: Talk to your accommodation reps! 

If you have tried all of the above yet nothing has been solved, you could try talking to your accommodation representatives which you can find out through your university’s website. They usually organise kitchen meetings; one in the first semester and one in the second semester. These kitchen meetings can be a civilised way to discuss your issues with your flatmates without arguments blowing up out of proportion. At my university, the representatives also host drop-in sessions for students to privately talk about any issues they are having in accommodation. These can get flagged up and emails will be sent out to the whole flat so they are all made aware of the ongoing issues.

Accommodation Reps at the University of Sussex
Source: University of Sussex Facebook

Step 5: Steal food back! 

And finally, if your food keeps going missing, the only way to regain real justice is by stealing back! Although, I wouldn’t recommend this as you are fuelling the problem as well but as an old man once said, If you can’t beat them, join them! I was an absolute master of this by the end of first year. I targeted times they wouldn’t be occupying the kitchen such as 7am to steal milk for my cereal. I always made sure I put things back in the correct place and I would hide any evidence of packaging! I clearly could have taught my cake thief a thing or two about the business of theft. If I experienced theft only once, I would have never relied on such pathetic-ness however I felt that I had no choice. One day, I put a lasagna in the oven at 4pm as an early tea. It was going to take 40 minutes in the oven, so I left the kitchen at 4:05 and was planning to go back in there at 4:45. Once I returned to the kitchen, I open the oven door and I am greeted with nothing but an empty black vortex. The lasagne had gone. I couldn’t believe it. I was left starving for the day as I didn’t have any food left. Unfortunately, I never found the culprit of this one otherwise they would have received a worse message in comparison to cake boy. I think I would have worded it something like:

“I hope you enjoyed the lasagne whilst I enjoyed the metal of the oven!”

Sarcasm may be the lowest form of wit, but it has never failed to get my point across.

Overall, it is very hard to stop your housemates stealing your food especially if they are incompetent and immature. I’m hoping this article has made you feel reassured that you aren’t alone in this! And if you are starting university this September, I hope I haven’t scared you! 9 times out of 10, you’ll get a more civilised flat then I did 😊

Living in student house or student halls is definitely a unique experience – in fact, why not read more about some of the things that ONLY ever happen in student living arrangements.


  • I'm a linguistic student who is passionate about creative writing. I'm particularly intrigued by the power of poetry and how it communicates with people. When I'm not writing poetry, I am thrift shopping, going on coffee dates and visiting bookshops!

    View all posts