How to Get Your Roommate To Do Chores?

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Already picked a roommate, asked the right questions beforehand, but now having trouble getting him/her to do chores. Household chores are a necessity for any apartment or home, which is why everyone needs to chip in – including your roommate. So, how do you get your roommate to do their share of the chores?

Here are some tips:

Have a Candid Discussion About Cleanliness

It’s important to have a frank discussion about what cleanliness means to you. Discuss and come to an agreement as to what is and isn’t acceptable. For example, can dishes be left out overnight? How often does trash need to be taken out? Are clothes aloud to be on the floor if temporary? How long can empty food containers or cups be on the counter? How often do you need to vacuum? You’d be surprised that your definitions of cleanliness may not align.

Decide On Roles and Responsibilities

Once you have talked about the standard of cleanliness for the apartment, it’s important to determine roles and responsibilities so everyone knows what they have to do. Put together a list of household chores (in writing) and determine who will do what and how often. Some important household chores to consider include –

  • Sink dishwashing – who washes dishes after every meal or at the end of the day?
  • Dishwasher loading – if you have a dishwasher, who stacks it and when? Who unloads it and when? Be specific.
  • Laundry – does everyone do their own laundry, or will there be a common day where everyone’s laundry is done together? Who does it and when? How long can clothes sit once done?
  • Vacuuming and mopping – how often, when and who does it?
  • Cleaning the bathroom, including toilet, shower and bathtub – how often, who does it and when? What about common bathroom?
  • Cooking – if you intend to share, who is responsible for each meal and what do the meals look like? You don’t want to end up preparing an elaborate 3-course meal if your roommate is just going to do sandwiches.
  • Taking out the trash – how often, when and who does it?
  • Cleaning dust and grime – how often, when and who does it?
  • General tidying – how often, when and who does it?
  • Keeping stuff in their place – everyone ideally should be responsible for keeping common areas clean and tidy.
  • Clean up after guests’ – if one person has a group of guests over, who will clean up after that and when.

If you have a concern about your roommate’s lack of cleanliness, try and approach it in a calm and friendly manner instead of being confrontational.

Keep Track of Chores

Naturally just having an agreement in writing isn’t enough. Everyone has to carry their own weight around so it may be a good idea to use a spreadsheet or whiteboard to keep track of chores that are complete and yet to be done. You can also list who is responsible for them. Here are some things to include –

  • Task that needs to be done
  • Person responsible
  • Number of times it should be done
  • A section to sign off when the chore is done, or to mention when it will be done

This is especially useful especially if you or your roommates are forgetful. A spreadsheet or whiteboard also tells you if things aren’t done and for how long, so you can make changes where needed.

Take Turns Doing Specific Chores

It might also be a good idea to take turns doing specific chores, so everyone does a little of everything and the worst jobs aren’t left to one person in particular. This is good because not everyone enjoys cleaning the toilet or doing the dishes every time. It also keeps everything fair between you and your roommates. Perhaps, depending on the layout of your apartment, each person is responsible for cleaning their own “side” of the apartment, and the common area cleaning is split every other week.

Find a solution that works for you, but being up-front and getting an agreement in writing, can help keep everyone on track and honest.

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