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Tips For Splitting Chores With Roommates

Living with a roommate can have its ups and downs. One of the challenges roommates often face is splitting chores. From my own experience, it can be the root of some serious tension. A simple way to avoid confrontation and passive aggressive behavior is by discussing household duties with your roommates before getting completely settled into your new apartment. Here are a few ideas on how to split chores and avoid any drama.

1. Define what “clean” really is.

Remember that just because you like perfect lines when vacuuming doesn’t mean your roommate feels that they are necessary. Maybe their idea of clean is stacking the dishes in the sink neatly instead of loading them in the dishwasher. Discuss what clean means to each of you, and come to a compromise. Setting realistic expectations early on can help reduce conflicts down the road.

2. Determine what the household chores are.

First create a list of chores.

  • Clean the kitchen
  • Sweep/vacuum the floors
  • Dust
  • Scrub the toilets, showers, bathtubs and sinks
  • Running the dishwasher/emptying the dishwasher
  • Clean the fridge
  • Take out trash

Then, ask questions like: What needs to be done daily, weekly, monthly? How will you split the light cleaning (vacuuming, dishes) and the deep cleaning (refrigerator, windows)? If it works better, rotate the chores every month. This way, you won’t get stuck with scrubbing the bathtub for the entire length of your lease.

3. Take turns buying supplies.

Divide the cost of supplies evenly among you and your roommate. Supplies can include trash bags, all-purpose cleaners and dishwasher detergent. Discuss how much each roommate is willing to spend on cleaning supplies to make sure you both can afford it.

4. Figure out how to hold each other accountable.

A chore schedule (as childish as it may seem) is a visible reminder of whose turn it is to clean, and can be a good way to passively enforce the schedule. There are also apps like Chorma that lets you assign chores to all members of the household.

5. Check in and communicate.

Call out problems as you see them, or schedule meetings so you can talk about what’s working and not working before they become a big deal.

What have you found to be helpful when splitting chores with roommates? Share your tips below!