How to Make Household Tasks a Game, Not a Chore

How to Make Household Tasks a Game, Not a Chore

Jeff Heaton
Oct 4, 2011

All the things you need to get done outside of work can feel like a second full time job. Just maintaining your stuff, keeping things clean and running errands can eat up a weekend. But we've found with a little help from our phones (and sometimes other people), we can get a lot more done so we can get back to enjoying our well earned time off.

Laundry Apps
Depending on the size of your house, the stinky laundry can pile up to the ceiling and take a load of time (see what we did there?) We find of the most annoying thing is being tied to the dryer. You throw your stuff in and then wait for the buzzer, but sometimes you don't hear it, have to leave or it's somebody else's stuff (if you've got roommates).

Dryer Bro for iOS and Laundry Genius for Android ensure you waste no time in doing your delicates. Dryer Bro uses the built in accelerometer to determine in the dryer is still going or not and then sends an email, text or call to a list of bros telling them the laundry is done. Laundry Genius lets you set a timer for up to four dryers and four washers that notifies you when it's time to flip and fold.

Family Apps
If you live with others, especially kids, you have a free labor source, right?! Probably easier said than done if you're not in Pleasantville. But a couple of apps make doing chores a game. Chore Master Pro for Android is like a leader board for household tasks using experience.

Epic Win for iOS makes getting things done a game with characters that level up. Chore Master uses an editable list of chores with a stopwatch and charts to manage everybody's tasks, making chores a competition. The free version is for one person and the Pro is for households. Epic Win uses a to-do list and avatar you level up and collect loot with to entice you to check things off in a battle of RPG effectiveness. (Note: chores must still actually be done by user.)

Outsourcing Apps
If you still can't get those lazy louts to clean up (or don't have any lazy louts of your own), you can hire somebody else to do it for you. Apps like Zaarly (for iOS and Android) and TaskRabbit (for iOS and Android soon) let you post your errands and chores with a price for other people to get paid to do. These micro-tasks can be picked up by other users (TaskRabbit calls them task rabbits) who will get your stuff done in a time you specify. Zaarly lets you post a task and then choose from local bids. TaskRabbit uses a team of background-checked "task rabbits" to field out your requests. They complete the task and you pay them through Paypal. Zaarly is everywhere but TaskRabbit is only in a few cities. If they aren't in your area or you're getting little response try AirRun or Gigwalk.

Home improvement tool apps
Working on home improvement tasks often requires a lot of tools. And if your garage looks like ours, well lets just say getting everything we need is probably another task in and of itself. So use what you've got in your pocket with some smartphone tools.

Real Tools for iOS has a collection of 18 tools that includes a level, measuring tape and stud finder. Smart Tools for Android has many of the same features as Real Tools, but divided into four parts. We're not sure how we'd use the sound detectors on these apps to get things done, but everything else makes sense.

(Images: Flickr user garlandcannon under creative commons, iTunes, Android Market and App Brain.)

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