If You Want to Get Along With Your Roommates, Don’t Do This

published Nov 1, 2017
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(Image credit: Marisa Vitale)

The standard solution for dividing up roommate chores is to come up with some sort of rotation schedule, but while that works for some people, sometimes it’s just not the most efficient way (even if it does feel more “fair” because some chores are arguably better than others) to do things.

For those who are having trouble with rotating chores, one clever reader shared this idea with us, and it might just be the answer you’re looking for:

“Do not try and divvy up the chores evenly among you and your spouse, roommate or life partner (i.e. you do the dishes one week, I do them the next week). You will inevitably always be blaming the other person for messes.

“Instead, each pick chores that you can live with and don’t loathe doing, and take full responsibility for them. Then the blame for that chore not being done is solely on you. The amount of arguing and bickering that goes on between my husband and I has dramatically decreased since we made this change!”

The first thing I thought when I read this comment? This is the same solution my roommates and I stumbled into on our own, and it really has been the thing that has helped our apartment stay cleaner, longer.

We used to follow the standard rotation—every week we’d sit down and choose new chores, write them on the whiteboard, and… well, some of them just wouldn’t get done. Or, life would get busy, and we’d forget—or we wouldn’t all be home at the same time long enough—to have our chore meeting, and everything would just get put off until we did.

Ultimately, we made the decision to just choose the chores that we liked most or didn’t mind—just like this smart reader has suggested—and decided to just take ownership of them. Rather than sitting down to have chore meetings, we just set a day each week that chores should be done by, and then we just send a quick text when it’s done to check in. If a chore repeatedly doesn’t get done, then we know who to talk to about it. And since we started doing this a few months ago, our apartment has run a lot more smoothly.

So, if rotating chores isn’t working for you either, don’t do it—there’s another option that just might solve your roommate problems, or at least give you a better system of keeping each other accountable.