Cleaning House: Tips for Creating an Apartment Chore Chart for You and Your Roommates
Living with roommates can be an enjoyable experience. Along with the benefits of splitting the rent, utilities, and groceries, you’ll have friends nearby when it’s time to unwind after a long week at work. The perks of having roommates are plentiful, but any successful co-habiting scenario involves compromises that reflect everyone’s different lifestyles and habits.
Perhaps the most hotly debated topic amongst roommates is how to split up the household chores. Cleaning habits differ from person to person and settling into a routine that works for everyone can be difficult. Instead of avoiding the ‘cleaning’ conversation with your roommates, sit down, and work out a chore plan that makes everyone happy.
Define Expectations and Chores
To get started, sit down with your roommates and answer these simple questions.
- What will it take to keep the apartment clean?
- Do we have floors or furniture that need specific care?
- Do we need to account for any pets?
- Do we have a porch or outdoor area to maintain?
Once you’ve answered these questions, you can set the expectations for each roommate. If you need a tidy living room, express that early on. If you don’t want to clean other’s dishes, tell your roommates that you’d prefer everyone to do their own. There almost certainly will be room for compromise, and everyone can contribute to the conversation. Be sure to be upfront about your standards of cleanliness and overall lifestyle preferences so that you can avoid passive-aggressive post-it notes later on down the line.
Get down to the nitty-gritty of what clean means to each roommate. Cleaning the bathroom to one person may mean merely wiping down the countertops. However, your idea of a clean bathroom means scrubbing the toilet, bleaching the shower, and tossing the towels in the wash. Don’t be afraid to get specific about each job before dividing up the chores.
Divide the Chores
Once you’ve established everyone’s expectations, you can begin dividing up the chores. It’s essential to be diligent with this process so you can create an equal balance of responsibility. It’s also crucial to keep each roommate’s schedule and preferences in mind when you’re creating the list of tasks.
If your roommate Bob owns a cat, it makes sense for him to clean the litter box and take care of the other pet-related duties. If you’re someone who doesn’t mind sweeping and mopping, then you should be in charge of keeping the floors tidy. Set up your system so that it plays to everyone’s strengths.
Creating a System that Works for Everyone
Building in a system of rewards is a great way to create a chore schedule that lasts. A clean apartment is a reward in and of itself, but what else could you do to pat yourself on the back? Perhaps everyone celebrates by going out for dinner and drinks once the to-dos are all checked off the list. Or maybe it’s time for movies and popcorn on the couch once the apartment is all squared away.
There are several ways to craft a chore system that appeases everyone while holding each person accountable:
- Create a list using an Excel spreadsheet, either printed or online, and have everyone check off their completed tasks. This list also allows you to trade jobs if needed, and it also serves as a record of everything that needs to be done. If you choose not to assign each task individually, then everyone can leave their initials by the job they completed.
- Create a chore pool with a clothespin or piece of paper. Roommates can draw from the pool until everyone has an equal distribution. A little spontaneity never hurt anyone! Once everyone has their chores, create an actual written list of what everyone’s expected to do.
- A pinwheel chore chart can also be a fun addition. This creative option gives you the chance to switch up tasks, so people aren’t stuck doing the same thing over and over. Create sections with responsibilities listed in them, craft a rotating wheel, and then spin it around for your assignment. It’s super easy and fun!
- Make a magnetic chart that allows you to delegate tasks between people. Start this project off by purchasing magnets, printing off chore tasks, and gluing individual duties to each magnet. Next, create a magnetic chore board. This board can be as elaborate as you want it to be. Each person will have their chart with two columns reading “to-do” and “done.” At the beginning of the week, place all your tasks in the “to-do” column, and folks can move their magnets to the “done” column as they complete them. It holds everyone accountable, and you can redistribute the magnets the following week to change things up.
Don’t Forget to Check Back In
An effective chore system should have deadlines. It could be daily, weekly, or monthly – just as long as everyone is on the same page. And although you’ve worked hard to build a system that works, remember that life happens. Schedules change. Maintain an open line of communication and make sure no one feels like they can’t shift things around.
Be sure to show appreciation to your roommates for contributing to a clean and happy household. Saying a quick thanks or showing small gestures of gratitude can genuinely go a long way. Living with roommates can be a positive experience. With these helpful tips, you can ensure the chores of everyday life don’t get in the way of a fun, relaxed living environment.
There’s more where that came from. Read more on how to keep things running smoothly in your Greystar apartment.
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