How to Handle the Distribution of Chores with Roommates

Keeping your student apartment clean is an absolute necessity if you want to maintain a livable space where you can study and sleep comfortably.

But what if you prefer tidiness and your roommates don’t consider it as much of a priority? You don’t have to choose between keeping the peace and keeping the place clean. Simply follow these steps to achieve a clean Ottawa student housing without conflict.

Make a list. Start by coming up with a comprehensive list of chores that need to be done. Break up the list into daily, weekly, and monthly chores.

Don’t forget to include a deadline in your list. Not including a due date can lead to lack of accountability. If it’s a daily chore, it needs to be done before you all turn in for the night. If it’s a weekly or monthly task, you can pencil in a specific day so the chores are finished in a timely manner.

Create a system that works for everyone. The division of labor is important so that a roommate doesn’t end up doing more work than the others. First, play to your roommates’ strengths and ask if they’d be more comfortable with certain chores. For instance, if they don’t mind washing dishes after shared meals, you might ask to make that their designated chore, while you take on one of their less-preferred tasks, such as emptying garbages.

Secondly, rotate the time-consuming and less-fun tasks every two weeks or every month. This way, everybody gets the chance to experience the drudgiest chores that nobody wants to do, such as scrubbing down the toilet or cleaning the stovetop.

Lastly, establish a standard definition of cleanliness. What may be clean for you will be dirty for others, so have an honest discussion on what everyone considers “clean.” You might like things spotless, while your roommates might consider a space clean as long as there’s no laundry on the floor. Try to find a happy medium to keep the peace among everyone.

Keep communication lines open.

Once the chores have been assigned for quite some time, check with your roommates if they’re still okay with the assigned task, or if it needs to be done more or less often. When you see a chore being neglected, you should address it with your roommate instead of keeping your anger bottled up inside or doling out passive-aggressive comments.

Also consider your schedules, especially if it’s the week leading up to midterms or finals. There will always be special circumstances when you’ll need to be flexible with the chores. Plan ahead for any days when you and your roommates are too busy to commit to cleaning.

Keep each other accountable.

Create a chores chart and put them in a place that’s visible to everyone. If a person conveniently forgets to take out the trash or vacuum the floors, you can give them a quick nudge or a gentle reminder through text.

But remember that there’s also a thin line between accountability and micromanagement. Check yourself and see if your frequent reminders have become annoying.

If the reminders are becoming too frequent, you might consider having everyone chip in for a cleaning service so you can take the load off your hands and concentrate on studying.

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