Lighten the load: How to split up household responsibilities

Running a household is an important responsibility, but it doesn’t have to be a one-person job. Get your partner and family involved. After all, they live there too. Here are some ideas on how to divvy up the chores to keep your household running efficiently.

little girl washing dishes

Start with a list

The first step when allocating household chores is to make a list of all the tasks that need to be done. The list should be specific, and each task should fall under the category of daily chores, such as unloading the dishwasher or walking the dog; weekly chores, such as mowing the lawn or returning recyclables; and monthly responsibilities, like paying the bills and taking care of the home repairs as needed.

Set up a family meeting

To be fair, any member of the family who’s part of the chore distribution should be allowed to have their say, so set up a meeting with everyone who’s involved to discuss the chores and how they will be divided up. Listen for any concerns, and motivate everyone by reminding them they all will benefit from living in a clean, organized home.

Split up the responsibilities

There’s a lot to consider when divvying up the household chores, so here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Is the chore age appropriate? Kids and teens can do their share when it comes to household tasks, but the chore should be appropriate for their ability and age.
  • Does the person detest the job? If so, it might be better to give the task to someone else who can at least tolerate it.
  • Does someone have a special interest or talent that can be used? For instance, if your partner loves to cook, a perfect household responsibility would be to make family dinners during the week, or if you enjoy being outside, yard maintenance might be the right fit for you.
  • Keep in mind your family’s personal schedules. Do they have time to get the job done properly and in a timely manner?
  • Pay attention to each person’s natural body clock. Is he or she a morning person or a night person? Forcing a chore on someone who’s not ready could cause problems.
  • Be clear on the expectations. Does the chore need to be done a certain way or at a certain time? Make sure the person knows what is expected of him or her when doing the task.
  • Assign tasks by asking for volunteers first. Then go from there.

Learn more about appropriate chores for kids >>

Set up the schedule

Give each family member a list of tasks they are to do on a daily, weekly and monthly basis. You can also set up a spreadsheet or use a family calendar to monitor the schedule. Remember to be flexible; it might take a bit of time for your family to get into the habit of handling their household responsibilities.

More on household organization

A guide to organizing your garage
Mud room organization
Spring clean your fridge and pantry


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