Sharing chores is expected when you live with someone else, but not everyone splits them the same way. You may think dividing chores with one or more roommates is easy, but keep in mind there are multiple, sometimes fragile egos involved in this conversation about something considered generally unpleasant.
To get a feel for where everyone stands on the subject, call a roommate meeting one evening to talk about chores – decide what needs to be done, who is purchasing supplies, who will do what and how often it will get done. Here are some ways to evenly split chores with your roommates to minimize conflict and keep your apartment looking great. With open, relaxed communication, you’ll be on your way to a clean apartment in no time.
Make a list of chores. Probably, you will make a list like this: Clean the kitchen, sweep the floors, mop the floors, vacuum the carpet, dust, tidy up, scrub the toilets, sink and bathtub, shake out doormats, change linens, clean out the refrigerator, take out the trash, dust ceiling fans, clean light fixtures, wash the windows and pay bills. The last one just means that one person should be in charge of opening the bills, dividing them up between roommates and letting the roommates know what their portions of the bill are.
List supplies needed to accomplish these chores, and split the cost of them evenly. Everyone benefits from having the trash taken out, the carpet smelling fresh and the countertops being clean. Dividing the cost of the trash bags, carpet freshener and all-purpose cleaner eliminates the feeling of one chore or supply outweighing the others.
Decide how often these need to be done. Some chores, such as mopping the floor or dusting, will only need to be done every two weeks. But cleaning the kitchen, sweeping the common areas and taking out the trash should be done more often. Make sure you both (or the three of you) agree on how often each item needs to be done, as everyone doesn’t grow up with the same notions. Also, someone should stress that the chores don’t have to be done at a particular time of day, just as long as they’re done by the day or the day after they’re expected to be completed.
Determine who doesn’t mind doing certain chores. Maybe one of your roommates secretly loves dusting, or another one finds vacuuming therapeutic. While it’s true that doing chores isn’t exactly fun, some are more enjoyable than others. Go ahead and get these out of the way. For some of these, you could always take turns doing the same chore, just as long as you make this known first and chores are still split equally.
Divide up the other chores evenly. You can do this however you choose – by flipping a coin, drawing chores out of a hat or just taking turns volunteering to do them. It’s probably best to make this part of the process as random as possible to avoid hard feelings later.
If it helps, make a chart or calendar of when chores are to be done to help roommates remember when to do them. This is where sensitivity is key – some people resent seeing their names on a marker board in an obnoxious color next to the chore they least like doing. Instead, opt for a wall calendar, write everyone’s duties down in a ballpoint pen. After a while, the calendar won’t be necessary.
Don’t pester. The calendar is there to remind your roommates of chores, not you. Be considerate if your roommate has a lot on his or her plate, and offer occasionally to switch chores if you see it will work out better that way. And don’t obsess over details. If you like certain things done a certain way – i.e., if you prefer your sheets ironed – maybe you should be the one changing the sheets. Realize that everyone isn’t going to do everything like you do.
How have you split chores with a roommate in the past? Was this helpful?
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