For most people, living with roommates, family members, or a partner is a practical option that enables them to maximize their income without getting overburdened by household expenses. Apart from sharing costs, living with others also ensures the availability of extra hands to help with everyday upkeep. Running a household often entails a number of chores to keep the home clean and pleasant to be in. But sometimes, these chores are difficult to divide equally among everyone sharing the same space.
That said, there are ways to make splitting chores fairly a straight forward, stress free process. For the most part, a clear task distribution plan ensures that chores are properly monitored and accomplished within a reasonable period. Plus, it helps you avoid the awkwardness of reminding everyone to do their share of the work. If you’re living with others and planning to establish a “chore chart,” here’s how you can do it and maintain harmony in your shared space.
Consider Sharing Tasks with Someone Else
“Fun” is not exactly the first word that comes to mind when doing chores, but you can lighten the burden if you share it with someone else. To start, you can identify highly time-consuming tasks to see if you can do them with another person for a more streamlined workflow. For example, laundry days can be less of a hassle if you take turns with a partner or family member when loading and unloading clothes. An even more streamlined option would be to opt for a single tub washing machine, which does all the washing and drying so you can make time for other chores. Two is better than one, as the old adage goes, and household chores are certainly not an exception.
Establish Metrics for Cleanliness
When assigning tasks to each household member, you also need to establish what constitutes “clean” for your group. By setting expectations for how clean you want the house to be, you’ll make it easier for everyone to determine how often cleaning should be done and how thorough the job needs to be.
Additionally, this will help your household separate light cleaning—which must be done regularly—from deep cleaning, which can be done less frequently. All in all, setting standards for how clean the house should be will help your household avoid conflict over things not being cleaned well enough.
Determine Tasks Based on Frequency
Knowing how often certain chores need to be done is a great way to categorize each member’s task. Separating tasks based on whether they need to be done daily, weekly, monthly, or once every season will help you create a schedule of chores for the household and prevent arguments caused by an unequal distribution of workload. For example, you can split tasks based on the following:
● Daily: Washing the dishes, cooking meals and clearing the table, sweeping the floors, drying out the bathroom floor and sink, taking out the trash, and decluttering the common area
● Weekly: Mopping, vacuuming, dusting, doing the laundry, and cleaning the refrigerator
● Monthly or Seasonal: Deep-cleaning the kitchen and bathroom, cleaning out the pantry, and washing the windows
It’s also important to be as specific as possible when assigning tasks to prevent misunderstandings about the scope of work. Some tasks are also dependent on other factors; certain plant species, for instance, need to be watered less frequently than others. Pets may also have unique needs that require frequent or less frequent grooming activities.
Aside from the frequency with which these tasks need to be done, it would also be fair to have a separate distribution plan for buying household essentials and groceries. How often you need to stock up is yours to decide as a household.
Set Deadlines for Chores
In addition to task frequency, you also need to identify the ideal time of completion for chores. Daily tasks are, of course, best done within the day. Monthly and weekly chores, on the other hand, must be done before certain days to ensure a smooth flow of daily activities. An example of this is doing the laundry, which is best done before a Monday when everyone is already busy with work or school. Special occasions might factor in as well, with vacuuming and other general cleaning tasks ideally accomplished before events such as a big house party. Overall, setting deadlines is the best way to ensure that chores get done within a reasonable timeline.
Identify Each Household Member’s Limits
Although the ideal scenario would be to have equally distributed chore assignments, not everyone is the same when it comes to schedule and fitness. You also have to consider each member’s limitations and be flexible enough to accommodate potential changes. For example, you may have a roommate who is highly allergic to dust or who works a night shift. Perhaps another household member has prior commitments, such as a wellness break or a doctor’s appointment. Living with others entails teamwork, and that’s largely contingent on the capacity to compromise.
Prioritize Communication and Accountability
As simplistic as it sounds, the essence of chore distribution is open communication and a good sense of accountability. It takes a great deal of responsibility to fulfill household tasks, so it would be ideal if each member of the household took ownership of the tasks they were assigned.
And if someone forgets to accomplish tasks for whatever reason, it’s best to resolve matters through communication. Instead of letting passive-aggressiveness rule the household, be open and understanding until the group figures out a way to make shared responsibilities work for everyone.
The tips mentioned above are considered best practices for ensuring a systematic approach to chore-splitting, but they’re not a solution that necessarily works for everyone. Some people are more attuned to being assigned new tasks every week, so you may want to consider setting up a weekly rotation for tasks. Others prefer sticking to tasks they’re good at or enjoy, whether it’s cooking or tending to plants. For this reason, it’s best to have household meetings and decide on splitting tasks as a group. People’s needs and preferences tend to change, so it would be ideal to hold these meetings regularly.
The truth is, maintaining a house with others takes a lot of work. Still, that doesn’t mean getting everyone involved has to be a chore. Keep communicating and working with each other to make your home a haven that everyone can enjoy by and make splitting chores fairly a straight forward task.