How to split chores with your household
person holding yellow plastic spray bottle
Photo by JESHOOTS.COM on Unsplash

How to split chores with your household

Kitty Grant January 17, 2022

Ask anybody you know living in a university household and they’ve probably had some kind of tiff with housemates about chores. Whether you are getting frustrated about a messy kitchen or you feel that your housemate has unreasonable expectations, those arguments can be stressful and uncomfortable. Here are a few ways to make splitting chores easier

Manage your expectations

Not everybody will have the same standards as you. And that’s okay. Often the whole household will be expected to meet the standards of the cleanest person. But, for some people, it isn’t realistic to mop the floors every other day. Find a happy medium where the cleanest person feels safe and comfortable in their environment without placing too much burden on others.

Ideally, you should be having these conversations before deciding to live together. No matter how good mates you are, you won’t like living with someone who has vastly different standards to you.

Clean up your own mess

A lot of chores come down to simply cleaning up after yourself. When you spill something, wipe it up. If you use a dish, wash it up. If you finish a container, put it in the bin. These may sound obvious, but it can be easy to forget. If everyone is leaving their mess for someone else to clean up, it will build up quickly.

If you notice someone in the house isn’t doing these things, just calmly ask them. They may not have even realised they are leaving a mess.

Discuss the rest

While some chores can be completed by the person who has made the mess, others need to be shared out. How you do that is up to you. Some people may have a chore they really hate but someone else is okay with. If that’s the case, it might be easier for everyone to have a few jobs they alone are responsible for. This can leave the work not fairly distributed those so, if you decide that everyone will take turns doing each job, a chore chart might be the way to go.

Chore chart

Every uni household I’ve lived in has used a chore chart of some kind. It has always been introduced after a dispute about mess. Admittedly this year it was my mess after a party that inspired the chore chart but, hey, nobody’s perfect!

Avoid arguments by creating a chore chart early so everyone knows what is expected of them. A chart which assigns everyone chores for the week is probably the fairest way. But somebody will need to remember to update the chart, so it can quickly get neglected.

Alternatively, make a tally chart with a list of the chores that often need doing and people can mark when they have done something. While this does not actually assign people jobs, it holds them accountable and shows who isn’t pulling their weight.

Photo by Cameron Smith on Unsplash

Don’t forget the bathrooms

People tend to focus on the kitchen when discussing chores in uni houses. However, if you have shared bathrooms, these need to be addressed too. Make sure to factor these in while splitting up chores, so one person is not left doing all the work (or worse, nobody does it).

Communicate when you do something

If you are going to be busy or won’t be using shared spaces much for a period of time, let your housemates know so they can adjust accordingly. If, at some point, someone else can’t do their chores for whatever reason, make sure to be understanding; especially if they’ve done the same for you.

See also: Why cancel culture does not work

Have something to tell us about this article?
Let us know
I'm a second year Liberal Arts and Natural Science student at the University of Birmingham. I'm also Print and Features editor at Redbrick and Deputy Head of Arts at Burn FM