A clear household chore list is important to keep the household running smoothly and to keep everything tidy. Start with a master list and then break it down into individual lists for each member of the family. In this way, all the chores are divided evenly, and no one has an unfair amount of work to do to keep the home in shape.
The Master Household Chore List
A master list of household chores is the place to begin. You can do this on paper or on a computer spreadsheet. On this list, write down every chore that needs to be done and how often it is needed. This should also include outside tasks as well as indoor tasks. If you would rather use a pre-formatted document instead of creating your own, click to download a free printable household chore checklist. If you need help downloading the printable checklist, check out these helpful tips.
For example, you may begin by listing daily chores like:
- Washing dishes
- Feeding pets
- Doing laundry
- Preparing meals
- Cleaning bathrooms
Next, you'll list weekly chores such as:
- Washing bedding
- Mopping floors
- Watering plants
- Mowing the lawn
- Weeding the garden
- Taking out the trash
- Wash the car
Monthly chores should be listed next:
- Washing windows
- Bathing pets
- Clean refrigerator
- Change air filters on a furnace or air conditioner
- Clean blinds
- Vacuum curtains
Even yearly chores can be included such as:
- Shampooing the carpets
- Winterize the house
- Clean garage
- Prune trees and shrubs
By this point you have a pretty substantial list of tasks that need to be done on a regular basis to keep everything running smoothly. You can probably think of many more items to add from the list. You probably also see some that do not apply to you. That's okay. Simply create a master list that reflects what needs to be done in your family.
Now that you have your master list, you are ready to break it down into smaller lists for the individuals in your home. It is important to consider the ages and abilities of those in the family, so you don't place too high of expectations on anyone. You should also consider breaking some chores down into smaller jobs that can be accomplished by youngsters who may not be able to handle the whole job.
Breaking Down Chores
For example, you have "dishes" on your master list. Dishes can actually be broken down into several smaller tasks. If you have children, they can accomplish this one chore together. It will be more fun having someone to work with and it will allow smaller children to feel valued and able to help out. Here is how the chore dishes can be broken down:
- Rinse dishes
- Unload clean dishes from the dishwasher
- Put away dishes (for taller kids who can reach the shelves after smaller kids pile them on the counter)
- Load dirty dishes
- Add soap and run dishwasher
If you hand wash your dishes, one child can gather the dishes off the table (and maybe put away leftovers), another can wash and rinse dishes, another can dry and put away dishes. Drying and putting away can be two separate tasks as well, depending on the abilities of each child.
Personalize Chore Lists
Create a list for each person in the house with each task broken down as much as necessary so that everyone has a job to do. Consider swapping lists occasionally so everyone can learn different jobs, and there is less chance of someone being bored from doing the same thing over and over. In this way, the entire chore list for the household is broken down into manageable tasks that everyone can help with. Everyone can enjoy the sense of pride from doing important things that keep the home running smoothly and looking nice all the time.
When you are compiling your individual lists, it is a good idea to call your family together and discuss what they are willing to do and what they just can't tolerate. If one family member gags at the mere thought of cleaning the litter box, it's probably not going to be a good idea to put that task on that person's list. You will either not see the job accomplished or you will have a very unhappy family member.
When you discuss your master list with your family members, make it clear that everyone will have jobs that they are responsible for. It is also helpful to make a rule that recreational activities will be withheld for those who do not complete their household chore list in a timely manner. For example, no TV or video games until all chores are done.
You might even want to create a system for motivation to encourage young ones to accomplish their jobs with minimal prodding. Some kids are happy with a chart and stars each time they finish a job. Some might be better motivated by a family activity each week (or month) that chores are accomplished without fighting or arguing. You know what works best for your kids. Also, be prepared to try different things. If the chart isn't doing the job, try something else. Ask the kids what a good reward system should consist of and go from there.
Tips for Household Chore Lists Without Kids
If you don't have kids to help with chores, having a list is still a great way to keep yourself organized and on track. Try these simple tricks to keep you on top of your chores.
When you are single staying on top of your chores might not be top on your plate. To make sure that your friends don't walk into the danger zone, you can try:
- Create a master list for each room and hang it there to remind you of what needs to be done and when.
- Make a cleaning schedule.
- Stay on top of daily chores like dishes.
- Don't forget to use the cleaning aids like vacuums and dishwashers.
Couples and Roommates
Chores can easily erode a marriage or a roommate relationship. Especially if the chores aren't considered even or someone isn't doing their share. To make sure that both people are happy, give these tips a try:
- Clearly establish what clean means to each of you to make sure you are both meeting expectations.
- Discuss the chores that each will complete. Making sure to equally divvy up the daily chores, like making the bed, and weekly chores, like cleaning the bathroom.
- Keep a checklist so that you can check off the chore to keep yourself accountable.
- Set a timetable for the chores to be completed by. For example, dishes can't go longer than two days, etc.
- Be flexible. Sometimes things come up that are unavoidable. Helping your partner with their chores or doing them together can keep you both happy.
- Re-evaluate the chore list every few weeks and possibly switch it up.
Chores can cause a lot of headache for parents, singles, couples and roommates alike. Therefore creating a chore list can ease stress and make everyone accountable. Just remember that as you create your chore list that no one is perfect. Be flexible and do your best. Focus on what you have done instead of what you have not done. You'll feel better about yourself and your home if you avoid becoming a perfectionist.