10 Tips on Dividing Household Chores

Household chores may not be fun, but for harmony and peace of mind, they must be done. Here's how to navigate the tricky task of assigning chores within your family or among your roommates.

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Have a Family Meeting

If the chores are ending up on just one family member’s plate, or perhaps no chores are getting done because of busy schedules, gather the whole family and discuss the issue. Once things are out on the table, brainstorm and list all of the chores that need to be done each week and each month. These can be little things like replacing the toilet paper roll, or big things like vacuuming the whole house. Write down everything that is said, even if it’s something a bit frivolous from the kids. Getting them involved and allowing them to feel valued is important and will encourage them to do their chores without complaining. With a few tricks, your kids will get their chores completed without much nagging. Here are 12 tips to get them on track.

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With Roommates, Create a Detailed Task Sheet

Once you narrow down the most important chores, it’s time to put some weight behind them. If you’re living with roommates, the chances of you all valuing cleaning the same are slim. Furthermore, since they’re not your family, it could create tension if you try to tell them how to do their chore. To avoid arguments, have a discussion and write down what each chore entails. That way, the person who thinks cleaning the bathroom involves wiping down bathroom counters as opposed to disinfecting the toilet, sink, shower, etc. can be made aware by everyone else what actually is expected. You should also write down how often the chore should be completed. Come to an agreement based on how everyone values each chore to find a happy medium. These are our top 10 household cleaning tips.

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Create a Chore Chart

You know what chores need to be done, and you know what each one entails. Now it’s time to create a chore chart that displays each chore and assigns someone to it. When the chore is finished that day or week, the person can check it off. This is especially helpful for busy families or roommates with different schedules. Kids might like getting to use a sparkly star sticker instead of a check mark. Build a home message center to stay organized.

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Divvy Up the Chores with a Coin

If you can’t reach an agreement on which chores should be done by whom, take the very fair route of flipping a coin. It’s impossible to hold a grudge against your spouse or roommate when you leave it up to something neither of you have control over. First try to see if everyone can pick a couple chores that they don’t mind doing. The chores that no one volunteers for can be assigned with a coin flip. This is the definitive guide on how often you should clean everything.

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Try Bartering

If flipping a coin results in one person getting the brunt of the dirty work, then it’s time to move onto the barter system. For this, you’ll have to agree on the most labor-intensive tasks. Then, one of you can say something like “I will agree to clean the toilet once a week if you agree to scrub the shower once a month.”

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Make Things Fair by Rotating Chores

Another great way to keep things fair is to make sure everyone in the household takes their turn on each chore. Compromise how long each person should be responsible for their chores before switching it up. If your roommates have busy schedules, you might want to keep chores assigned longer. If your kids fight a lot over their chores, switching them more often may keep them from resenting each other. These are the messes that should be cleaned with a broom instead of a vacuum.

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Agree on a Timetable

Especially with roommates, schedules can be very different from one person to the next. Vacuuming at night is bothersome for those trying to wind down after a long day at work. Cleaning the bathroom early in the morning might be inconvenient for those trying to get ready to go to work. Discuss with everyone in the house when is the best time for a chore to get done, or rather, what times are off limits. Does your kitchen sponge smell? Here’s how to clean it.

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Things may go smoothly at first, but after some time, your roommate, your spouse or your kids might start complaining about chores again. Maybe someone isn’t doing their assigned chore. Maybe someone feels like each member of the house should have tasks longer than assigned. Finding out what works will need to be reassessed regularly. Schedules may change, jobs may come and go, kids get bored and these factors, along with others, may require you all to convene another group meeting. Here’s the best way to clean a greasy kitchen range hood filter.

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Try Family Tasks

Especially when getting the kids involved with chores, some tasks are better done as a family. Take laundry for instance. Each family member can sit around the living room and fold their own clothes, while talking to each other. Use the time to teach your kids how to correctly fold. Dishes can be a family task, too, with one person washing, one drying and one putting them away. Here are the 10 best laundry hampers for messy kids.

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Consider Hiring Help

If there are some chores that just aren’t getting done, despite your best efforts, maybe hiring help can alleviate some stress. You can stick with simple chores like making the bed, doing the dishes and vacuuming, and outsource bigger jobs like cleaning the chandelier and the oven and scrubbing the shower. This may make dividing up the rest of the chores a bit easier. Have a few extra minutes? Tackle these messy mainstays you’re likely overlooking.

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Alexa Erickson
Alexa is an experienced lifestyle and news writer, currently working with Reader's Digest, Shape Magazine and various other publications. She loves writing about her travels, health, wellness, home decor, food and drink, fashion, beauty and scientific news. Follow her traveling adventures on Instagram: @living_by_lex, send her a message: ale[email protected] and check out her website: livingbylex.com