Being told what to do can often rub the wrong way.
That’s why when people go to college, they often look forward to having freedom and not being told what to do by their parents.
But then you move into off campus apartments with your roommates and you either go crazy from them telling you what to do or are tempted to tell them what to do if they aren’t helping with the room’s upkeep.
The solution? A chore chart.
Chore charts aren’t everyone’s cup of tea either, but it is the lesser evil when it comes to keeping the place clean and staying somewhat civil with one another.
Getting a system established early on will help you in the long run, so here are some different methods of going about creating a chore chart with your roommates or housemates.
The luck of the draw: Sit down with your housemates and jot down all the chores you want to get done that week. Fold them into little pieces of paper and then stick them into a bowl or hat. Pass the bowl around and have each housemate pick a chore until they are all spoken for (make sure you all get the same number of chores).
This way, no one feels singled out to do a task and you can change it every week so you don’t get sick of doing any given chore.
Whiteboard: If the first option seems too randomized for you, you and your housemates can write up chores on a whiteboard and each pick things you wouldn’t mind doing (or at least, things that wouldn’t kill you). Some people really enjoy routine, so if you all agree to keep the same chores for a month or even the whole year, you can try and set it up like this.
On the whiteboard, there should be a column where you can sign off when the task is complete. This way, everyone in the house will know what has already been done and what still needs to be tended to.
The best way to set a “due date” for the chores would be to make everyone complete them by Sunday at midnight. This way, you don’t have to tell others what to do because they know they have the whole week, and having the whole weekend guarantees they will find some time to get things done between homework and studying.
Then, if they don’t complete their task(s), you will have to establish a repercussion. Maybe they get the majority of the chores the following week. Everyone should agree on the consequence of not finishing the chores and agree not to argue back if they drop the ball.
Give incentive: You and your housemates could set up a system where some chores earn more points than others.
The housemate that gets stuck with the worst chore that week could get treated to Starbucks or something else by the other housemates. This will be a fun and fair way of rewarding one another.
The rewards don’t have to be limited to treating the person either. You could make a system where the nastier chores (those with higher points) mean you have less chores to do.
Courtesy rules: Chore charts can cause some heat if someone made something really messy and then decided not to clean it up because that wasn’t their chore for that given time period. You and your housemates will have to figure out the logistics, of course, but the rule should be that if you make a mess above and beyond the normal course of a week, you should help clean it up.
Another big one is when the dishwasher is running and everyone has to pile their dishes in the sink, who will be responsible for loading the dirty dishes? Should it be the person unloading the dishwasher or should everyone have to load their own stuff once the dishwasher is empty?
The chore chart will have to be adjusted depending on who you live with and how willing they are to cooperate. Some people will blatantly avoid cleaning, even with a chore chart, so the best method is to have a basic idea in mind and then tweak it as you go.