You know me. This month I created a big set of linked documents to launch our new housework sharing system! I have always been the one to notice and “assign” house and yard work, or just do most of it, so I claimed the right to list what needed to be done regularly. I consulted a few online lists to see what I missed. I included tasks we never do but should do, like cleaning the window blinds!
I listed everything, then divided the list into chores that need doing daily, weekly, biweekly, monthly, every few months, seasonally or annually.
Then I posted a one-month list on the fridge of what each of us needs to do. Every week starts on Saturday and ends on Friday. That way we can choose to do our big chores right away that first weekend or find our own time to do them throughout the week, as long as they are done before the next weekend. The monthly stuff can be done any time before the end of the month.
The posted list includes the city’s garbage, compost and recycling schedule so we know what to put out each week. It shows who cooks on which days and how many servings to make – for example, cook on Monday for Monday and Tuesday nights.
Here is what February looks like. The first week of the plan started on February 10. You will probably have a laugh at some of my scheduling: what – you only dust once a month? Yes. It used to be less than that!
If you like, you can download a copy for easier reading: Monthly Share List – Feb.
You will see some gaps. On some days, no one is responsible for meals. That means one of us has an evening work shift or activity, and the other just improvises dinner. Our grocery shopping includes stocking the pantry for those kinds of nights, and/or it’s a good way to use up what’s in the cupboards and freezer. Given that Rom’s work days are so much longer than mine, I will do more weekday meals and he will do more weekends. But I certainly won’t be cooking every day because we have a high tolerance for eating leftovers.
Some cleaning jobs have a daily, weekly (W), biweekly (BW) and monthly (M) version. I made up a rotation of kitchen and bathroom cleaning, alternating with laundry duty. In the past, Rom always did the laundry and I always cleaned the bathroom and vacuumed. I did not enjoy this. Meanwhile the kitchen floor never got mopped and the microwave was rarely cleaned.
As an example, here is the kitchen cleaning schedule:
- Check food to use up for breakfasts/lunches
- Make breakfast and lunch, clean up
- Cook dinner
- Store leftovers
- Handwash dishes as needed, put away
- Load & check dishwasher, put away
- Wipe table, counters, stovetop
- Clean up spills including floor, fridge
- Sweep kitchen and upstairs hallway floors
- Take containers out (recycling)
- Take compost out, wash container (cooking days)
- Clear and fully wash counters, stovetop, table
- Wipe fronts of cupboards, fridge, and dishwasher; handles
- Wipe kettle, toaster, toaster oven
- Clean microwave and toaster
- Scrub dish draining board
- Wipe range hood and microwave shelf
- Wash floor, baseboards, window sills
- Wash garbage bin and area under sink
- Dust open shelves and top of fridge
- Clean cat food tray
Every 3 Months or Less Often
- Clean out fridge and freezer
- Clean out food cupboards
- Clean under fridge and stove
- Clean windows at front and back doors
If you want to see a breakdown of all the tasks (bathroom cleaning, yard work, etc.), you can download it here: Housework Master List
Every week, we will have a rotation of weekly, biweekly and monthly tasks. For now, there are no plans for either of us to take on our favourite duties forever, but it could evolve. Except budgeting and bill paying – it’s unlikely I’ll give it up, or that Rom would want it.
I will note that for our first month, we were starting with a somewhat neglected house. Every job has taken extra time! Now that they’ve been done in recent memory, it won’t be so hard to keep up.
So how is it going?
We are both doing more housework than we’re used to, but I think it’s due to the start-up effect – all those tasks that hadn’t been done for months! By the end of this month, we will have caught up.
Rom does big jobs on the weekends, and another big chore when I’m out of the house during the week.
Once, I left vacuuming and bathroom cleaning so late in my week that when Rom’s turn came up the next week, they hardly needed doing!
This week I was out three nights in a row. I was supposed to cook a meal the night before so there would be leftovers for a couple of days, but we were busy assembling an IKEA shelf and (several hours later!) dinner didn’t get made. As a result, we had no leftovers and really had to forage. We could easily have planned better.
The first time I came home late from work and saw that Rom had cleaned the range hood and the microwave, I was all smiles!
I think this is the start of something good.
Any ideas for tweaks? Do you have wildly a different list based on your lifestyle or where you live?
I continue to recommend Unfuck Your Habitat as the most reassuring and inspiring housework site.