Is there anything worse than coming home from a long day at work and seeing the kitchen turned upside down for the third day in a row? Before you throw in the towel, bring up a roommate cleaning schedule in your next house meeting. Assigning specific tasks and building a roommate chore chart can help everyone take more responsibility for their messes.
Showing how you can work together vs. just sending passive-aggressive vibes can help you get along better and keep the apartment clean. It’s all about communication when it comes to roommate compatibility.
Follow these tips to build a roommate chore chart and keep your home clean.
Sync on cleaning habits
Whether you found your roommate through Facebook, a friend or an app, you only got a few minutes to get to know each other before you decided that they were a good fit. You must check compatibility during the interview.
Here are a few questions that can help determine if you have the same cleaning habits, for example.
- How often did you do the dishes in your old home?
- How did you and your roommate split the deep cleaning of the apartment?
- Did you have any altercations about cleaning tasks not being done? How did you resolve them?
- If the trash is full, do you walk away or take it out and add a new bag?
- How often do you think we should do a deep clean of the apartment?
You’ll see red flags as they talk about their old roommates (this is why references are essential!) and determine if your cleaning personalities sync up.
How to make a cleaning schedule
What exactly does the word “clean” mean to you and your roommate? Determine how often the roommate should do the tasks — daily, weekly, monthly — and how detailed they should go with their task. For example, should someone clean the grout in the shower or wipe all surfaces in the bathroom? Does mopping come into the equation or just sweeping? It’s essential to agree on what “clean” looks like for all roommates.
Assign zones to each person (kitchen, bathroom and living room) and what can be done together (outdoor space). This is a good time to make rules about personal items in shared spaces — don’t leave your laptop or dirty socks in the living room, for example. Your personal things should remain in your bedroom.
Once you’ve made a list of the tasks to complete, it’s time to create the roommate chore chart.
Making a roommate chore chart
While there’s no allowance attached to this roommate chore chart like the good old days of childhood, the reward is a clean home and a good relationship with your roommate. We call that a win-win. Here’s how to get started.
Make the chore list together
Pick a Saturday morning, make breakfast together and spend a few hours walking around the apartment. Make a list per room of the cleaning tasks you would like to see done.
For example, in the kitchen, write down taking out the trash, loading the dishwasher, buying cleaning supplies, wiping down the counters and sweeping the floor as items for your chore list. Then do the same for each shared space.
You can keep the bedrooms out of the chore list as they are personal spaces. List everything per room and evenly split tasks between the roommates based on interests and usage. These chore tasks typically are fast and easy to complete on a daily, weekly and monthly basis.
When are the tasks getting done?
Some tasks will happen every day like taking out the trash or doing the dishes and other tasks work well on a weekly basis. Next to each chore task, list how often the task is done. A few examples of timelines:
- Daily: Empty out the garbage every morning, pick up clutter from shared spaces and load the dishwasher. Pick up as you go is a great way to stay on top of dirty counter spaces, clutter and dishes. Use a dish, put it in the dishwasher immediately after rinsing.
- Weekly: Take the garbage to the curb, wipe all counters including kitchen and bathroom, sweep and vacuum the floors, clean the toilet and shower and make any lists for the grocery store. Rooms like the living room and bathrooms should be cleaned on a weekly basis to avoid any pile-up of dirt, food or clutter.
- Monthly: Wash all kitchen towels and couch blankets, replenish any household items that are old and clean out the fridge. The kitchen should be deep cleaned on a monthly basis and it’s best for a team project.
Shell out the assignments
Split chore assignments evenly, so everyone is doing the same or similar amount of work and add their name next to the assignment with a deadline, if applicable. Designate specific tasks to the same person over time, like emptying the garbage daily, to avoid confusion. The roommate should complete this task at the end of each day.
Other tasks like loading the dishwasher need to be completed by the person who didn’t cook dinner or, if you don’t cook dinner together, by the person who made the mess. This way, some of the tasks rotate, especially those that are generally not wanted. Roommates assigned weekly completion tasks can pick a specific weekday, so they don’t all pile up on the weekends.
Before finalizing the assignments, make sure everyone agrees and airs out their grievances to ensure all compromises were met.
Print out the roommate chore chart
Here’s a quick template to use for your roommate chore chart — download the chore chart so you can print it, laminate it and stick it on the fridge for everyone to see your roommate cleaning schedule.
Check-in as time goes on
Once you’ve settled with the roommate cleaning schedule for a few weeks, review it again during your next roommate meeting. If it’s better for you to do the dishes at night and maybe your roommate can take the trash out in the morning, make sure to communicate that. You have a higher probability of sticking with it if it fits your schedule a little more.
Keep the (cleaning) harmony at home
Finding the perfect roommate is genuinely a feat. It’s so hard to get to know a perfect stranger over a short meet-up. But if you communicate your expectations initially, like what cleaning mistakes set you off, you’ll find a better fit for your home.
Refer back to this roommate chore chart when discussing your cleaning schedule and check in with each other as time passes for any needed changes.