I want you to imagine this: you’ve finished the work day and it’s been tiring. Incessant emails, deadlines flying at you, and your to-dos growing exponentially.
At least now you’re able to go home.
As you turn the key in the door, drop down your bag, and put the keys on the countertop you’re smacked in the face by a putrid smell.
The trash hasn’t been taken out. Again.
As you glance inside, dog hair is floating around on the floor, dirty dishes overflow the sink, and your lovely family sits on the sofa watching TV.
Should it always be up to one person managing the home? I believe not.
In this guide, you’ll discover a simple 5-step approach on how to manage household chores effectively together with your whole family.
Step 1: Categorize Your Chores List
In our daily lives, our minds are often cluttered with countless thoughts and ideas. This overload can make it challenging to remember and stay on top of all our to-dos.
That’s one of the reasons, we write down important tasks at work. Why shouldn’t we do the same at home?
If you put your mental load onto a piece of paper or Google Doc, the feeling of some alleviation and less anxiety is just a bonus.
With that list, you can plan and carry out all tasks more effectively, particularly with multiple team members aka family.
Think of your family like a team. Start by jotting down all the regular chores that need doing around the house. Then, group them in a way that makes sense to you so it’s easier to share the work among everyone.
Categories could be either periodic cycle, task types, rooms, or whatever makes sense to you, e.g.:
- Daily, weekly, monthly,…
- Daily chores: cooking/meal prep, doing dishes/dishwasher, vacuuming…
- Weekly chores: grocery shopping, doing laundry, cleaning the bathroom, dusting, wiping kitchen surfaces, watering the plants…
- Monthly chores: mowing lawn, window, and mirror cleaning, cleaning the car, …
- Task types
- Grocery shopping, cooking/meal prep…
- Doing dishes/dishwasher, wiping kitchen surfaces…
- Vacuuming, dusting, wiping surfaces, window and mirror cleaning…
- Mowing lawn, watering the plants…
Ideally, you run through all the steps outlined here together with your partner to make sure you are aligned from the start.
This grouping allows you to create little household topics that are easier to split among a group of people.
Step 2: Automate or Outsource Selected Household Tasks
Automation can help shorten your household chores list and save everyone precious time.
Think of tasks that you want to automate, and then automate them. Your chances of finding suitable solutions these days are very high.
According to a report by the Guardian, almost 40% of domestic household chores could be done by robots within the next decade. Whether it be your grocery shopping, running out to grab new cleaning supplies, or hoovering your own home – it’s likely that by 2030, a lot of it will be done by AI.
Imagine nearly half your chores being completed whilst you’re at work.
Today in 2023, getting a robot vacuum is a no-brainer, but vacuuming is just one small part of a lengthy list of household chores.
Did you know that a wide range of household tasks can now be easily automated?
From mowing the lawn and watering plants to mopping and grocery shopping, from controlling your thermostat to feeding pets, from managing bills to preparing ingredients for cooking, the possibilities are vast.
You can already automate a big chunk of tasks that occur on a daily basis.
We’ve compiled a list of the most useful automation ideas to inspire a well-organized and efficient home.
Besides automation, there is the option of hiring cleaning services on a regular basis to help with time-consuming cleaning duties. However, the cost can escalate significantly if you decide to hire a cook and gardener in addition to cleaning services.
There will always be a part of necessary household duties that you cannot get rid of through automation or third-party services.
Step 3: Divide Ownership and Responsibility
Once you get the chores list sorted, you can take it a step further by giving each individual in the house a personal chores list.
Or even better, hold a family team session to discuss and divide ownership and responsibility over the topics.
Certainly, motivating anyone, especially children and teenagers, to willingly engage in conversations about sharing household chores and taking ownership can be a challenge.
It is a chance, however, to teach them about responsibility, the value of their help, and the fact that not all tasks in life are enjoyable.
If all else fails, the traditional carrot-and-stick method is an apparent candidate to solve this predicament: motivating through a combination of rewards (the “carrot”) for good behavior and punishments (the “stick”) for bad behavior.
So, your kid wants ice cream for dinner or more pocket money? Then, he or she better get to work.
But kidding aside, domestic tasks are a full-time job, and even though a lot of things can be automated these days, to keep a household clean and running smoothly, there will still be a bunch of things that need everyone’s attention and effort.
How to manage chores better? How to do chores fast? Save precious time by sharing responsibility, building trust, and getting things done together.
This leads us to the next step.
Step 4: Do Trial Rounds and Execute Together
Let’s say, your teenie took over responsibility for trash and outdoors, your partner has become the chef, and you are the new dust catcher.
How do you get started with your new in-house responsibilities?
Just kick it off right away and see it as a work in progress.
In everyday life, assigned roles may change, and you might need to help each other and step in when necessary.
So, the best way is to get started ASAP, do your assigned roles well, learn from each other, assist when needed, and be open to reassigning tasks together if desired or needed.
Let’s be honest, scrubbing down a toilet bowl or doing a deep clean of the kitchen is never going to be someone’s idea of fun. Particularly, if the outcome of cleanliness doesn’t seem to be as equally appreciated by everyone.
So, one of our favorite ways of turning glum cleaning into an extravaganza is by using music.
Throwing on the latest and greatest dance hits and dancing along makes doing the laundry, tidying kitchen cabinets, or cleaning entire rooms a little less boring.
Pro Tip: Keep your to-do list or family calendar visible at all times. This helps everyone stay on track and up-to-date. We’ve found digital wall calendars that sync with online calendars like iCal or GoogleCal to be especially helpful.
Step 5: Show Appreciation For Each Other
Accepting help from family may not always going to be perfect. And it’s not because anyone wants to be disrespectful or doesn’t care, but maybe everyone’s idea of perfect is different.
And that’s okay.
The important thing to note is that everyone is helping. Let’s celebrate that.
Be realistic about what you think you or anyone else can achieve in a day.
Even if that means only getting done one or two chores. Completing a few chores regularly here and there will save everyone the stress and ensure success.
This is the time to lose our deep perfectionist belief that everything needs to be done all at once.
It will keep your home clean and running smoothly enough and put less pressure on the relationship – saving heated arguments or frustrations.
By praising people for completing tasks, they are more likely to be motivated to continue doing them.
Expressing gratitude isn’t limited to Thanksgiving; it’s something we can and should do throughout the year.
In our fast-paced lives, returning home should bring relief, not more stress.
Imagine stepping in after a tiring workday to find chores piling up. Is it fair for one person to handle it all? We think not.
This guide provides a practical 5-step plan on how to manage household chores faster as a team.
- Categorize Chores: List tasks and split them logically.
- Automate: Use technology to ease the load.
- Divide Ownership: Discuss who handles what.
- Execute Together: Work as a team, adapt, and help each other.
- Appreciate: Celebrate small wins and keep the peace.
By sharing responsibility, building trust, and showing gratitude, you’ll make chores less of a burden.
It’s about making your home a place of calm and cooperation amid life’s chaos.
Who is responsible for household chores?
Household chores and responsibilities can vary significantly depending on individual circumstances and agreements within a household.
Traditionally, household chores were often divided along gender lines, with women taking on a larger share of domestic tasks. However, modern households are increasingly striving for a more equitable distribution of chores.
Today, responsibility for household chores is ideally a shared endeavor among all family members or housemates. Many households distribute chores based on individual preferences, schedules, and capabilities. Some families create chore charts or schedules to ensure everyone contributes fairly. The aim is to foster a sense of collective responsibility and ensure that no one person bears the entire burden of maintaining the home.
Ultimately, the key to managing household chores effectively is open communication, collaboration, and a willingness to share the responsibilities to maintain a well-functioning and harmonious home environment.
In some cases, families may also hire cleaning services or utilize automation and technology to assist with chores, further reducing the workload on individuals.
Ultimately, the division of household chores should be a collaborative effort that suits the specific needs and dynamics of the household.
Note: The reality today is that women do roughly double the amount of domestic unpaid work as men even in cultures and households that consider themselves progressive. By reducing the amount of time that women especially are spending on household chores through automated technology and other measures, we will hopefully experience a decline in the gender inequality gap.
Societies are generally slow adapters and reducing such disparities will require extensive political and cultural efforts, effective communication, collaborative initiatives, and supportive measures.
What are household chores? What is considered domestic work?
Household chores, often referred to as domestic work, encompass the essential tasks required to maintain a well-functioning home. These activities cover a broad range of responsibilities, including:
- Cleaning: Tasks like dusting, deep cleaning, vacuuming, sweeping, wiping hard surfaces, and mopping to ensure cleanliness and hygiene.
- Cooking and Meal Preparation: The art of preparing meals, washing dishes.
- Laundry: Washing dirty clothes, drying, folding, and ironing clothes and linens.
- Grocery Shopping: Planning and purchasing groceries and household essentials.
- Yard Work and Gardening: Maintaining outdoor spaces, from mowing the lawn to gardening.
- Home Maintenance: Tending to minor repairs, appliance maintenance, and leak fixes.
- Organizing and Decluttering: Sorting and tidying up to maintain an organized living space, trash and garbage disposal.
These tasks can vary among households, but they are vital for a comfortable and well-maintained living environment.