Simple Ways To Get Those Living In Your Home Involved With Household Cleaning

Maintaining a household can feel like a part-time job. In fact, Angi discovered that American households typically spend 42 total hours per month on household tasks, with 11 of those hours dedicated to interior cleaning. When factored in on top of having a job and social commitments, this amount of cleaning can be a lot for just one person. Whether you live with a partner, kids, or roommates, one person shouldn't be in charge of maintaining an entire home. But how do you get everyone living in the household to contribute to the chores? It should start with a conversation. Sit everyone down and explain how and why maintaining the home should be everyone's responsibility.

Discuss the household chores and how long each one takes to do. Those doing all the chores may feel annoyed that they even have to ask others to chip in, but those who don't clean often may not realize how little they're contributing. Laying out exactly how much time one person is spending on the chores a week can be the jumpstart needed for others to pitch in. Make a list of daily (dishes, sweeping, and straightening up), weekly (vacuuming and dusting, bathroom deep cleaning, and the laundry), and monthly chores (cleaning the microwave and fridge, organizing, and washing the windows). It's also important to approach this conversation kindly and without accusation. Being accusatory can put people on edge and make them feel less willing to hear your side or help.

Split tasks evenly and fairly

It may be tempting to dump every chore on the others in your household after being in charge of the maintenance for a long time. However, this can lead to resentment and damage your relationships. Instead, split the daily, weekly, and monthly tasks fairly between everyone in the household. You can also split tasks between shared and personal chores. Shared chores maintain shared spaces, such as washing the dishes, vacuuming the living room, or dusting furniture. Personal chores help to maintain individual rooms and tasks like bedrooms, each person's laundry, or private bathrooms.

One of the best ways to manage shared chores is with a chore chart. Chore charts are a visual representation of what tasks each individual in the household is responsible for each day, week, or month. You can also rotate chores so the same person isn't stuck doing the dishes or cleaning the bathroom every week. 

Assigning the tasks often depends on those living in the household. For example, adult roommates or partners can easily take turns taking out the trash, washing dishes, and vacuuming. However, when it comes to children, you have to consider their age. Assigning age-appropriate tasks is the best way to ensure the chore actually gets done. A five-year-old child, for example, is able to make their bed, pick up their toys, and place clothes in a hamper. Ten-year-old kids can do all those tasks while also helping put away groceries, sorting their laundry, and washing the bathroom.

What to do if the quality isn't ideal

Sometimes, others may begin helping with the chores, but they may not do them well. Dishes may still have food caked on them, bathtub dirt may just get swirled around, and only half the furniture may be dusted. What do you do then? This is a tricky situation because your family or roommates are helping out with the household. However, insufficiently finishing the task can create more work for others in the home. In this situation, you should ask them to have another conversation. While it may be tempting to vent out your frustration, again, you don't want to be accusatory.

Start by acknowledging the work that someone is contributing to the household tasks, even if the finished product is insufficient or subpar. Thank them for what they have done and acknowledge that you notice it. Gently, you can point out some spots they may have missed or not done as thoroughly. Offer some techniques or show them different products or tools that can help them finish the task better. However, if the task is done well but not particularly to your liking such as items placed back in a specific way, you may just want to rearrange them yourself to avoid a nit-picky fight. With children, you can offer incentives for chores to be done right. An allowance or bonus treat or toy can give kids something to work towards while also paying attention to quality.