Divide and conquer household chores sounds like a reasonable approach. But truth be told, my husband and I struggled for years to “conquer” our housework. There was always an overflowing trash bin or dirty laundry in our apartment. We just had a hard time dividing up work fairly and keeping track of who was supposed to do what.
It wasn’t until recently that I realized why we had failed. Dividing up household chores is much more than just delegating tasks, it’s about understanding each individual’s preferences, kids and adults alike and creating a win-win solution.
I used to think that it’s an equal split if I do the dishes and someone else puts the dishes away. Well, it’s actually not that simple. It’s only “equal” if the person doing dishes hates (or likes) the task as much as the person hates (or likes) putting dishes away. In order to delegate fairly, we need to understand each other’s preferences and match the right task to the right person.
One good way of learning about each other’s preference is to use a scale of 1 to 5 to rate each chore. For example:
1 I hate doing it
2 I don’t like it, I would avoid if possible
3 I have no preference, I don’t mind it
4 I like it, I would choose this
5 I love it, it’s easy breezy
Once you rate each chore, you share your rating with your household members and negotiate who takes on what this month or week. For my husband, he rates folding laundry with a 2 but doing the laundry with a 4 . As for me, I rate taking out the recycling bin with a 2 and folding the laundry with a 4 . In this case, we created a win-win situation by me folding the laundry (a 4 for me, a 2 for him) while he would do the laundry (a 4 for him, a 2 for me).
However, if both of us hates something equally like scrubbing the toilet, then whoever volunteers to do it this month or week can have one less chore to do. So in the end, it’s a fair trade-off.
But bear in mind, preferences and situations can change, so it’s important to regularly check-in and make adjustments.
The next step after deciding on who’s doing what is to set up a schedule and place it in a noticeable location like on the fridge door or on the family bulletin board (DIY grocery list magnets here). Here’s what my husband and I are doing this month.
You can purchase these downloadable stickers at Sprinkles Shop or jujusprinkles shop on Etsy.com. Simply print on full sheet sticker paper and cut them out. This bundle also comes with individual high resolution PNG images with transparent background that you can copy and paste into your own chart or schedule file.
I used a 1-inch circle punch to cut out the round stickers. If you don’t have a circle punch, you can use the full color background sticker PDF and cut out square stickers.
There are many other ways to divide and conquer housework. Whatever the method you use, add a little fun to it. Black texts on white paper does not spark any joy. Try colored paper, colored pens, or stickers to make the list more exciting. You can even make magnets with these stickers so it’s easy to move them around on your chart.
Check out these powerful natural cleaners to help you create a healthier home.
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