Kitchen Kanban

Colourful sticky notes covering a kitchen cupboard door, each with a household task written on it
Kanban Version 2

Four years ago, I made a complete list of our household’s chores and maintenance. I posted a weekly task list on the fridge, so Rom and I could use it as a reference and get things done. It lasted until we developed a routine. Our lives have changed a lot since then, because Rom has retired and Link has moved in. We needed a new system.

I copied one directly from Fiona at the Declutterer blog (now offline). Her system is a Kanban board: each regular task is written on a sticky note. Tasks “to be done” are grouped in one area, and finished tasks are moved to another area, like so:

The board has gone through a couple of versions. First, I used dollar store sticky notes which kept falling off! Then, I upgraded to brand-name “super stickies” with adhesive on the entire back. Initially I put small daily jobs on small sticky notes, and bigger, weekly or monthly jobs on large ones. They took up too much room for the space we had. And the small jobs like putting away dishes and sweeping the floors were so repetitive that we couldn’t keep up.  So I colour-coded instead: different colours for small tasks, big jobs or infrequent ones. I didn’t include any seasonal jobs – who wants to look at an undone task for 3 or 6 months! They can be added on the week they need to be done.

When we’ve done a chore, Rom and I place our sticky notes in different areas of the “completed” side so we know who has done what. I find this helpful – since he is home during the day now and does a lot of chores, I want to ensure I’m not leaving everything for him! I can visually check if I’m doing a good share.

Rom and I like this system. We almost feel like we are earning stickers or stars for our work! It is a good feeling when the majority of the housework is actually done at the end of a week or month.

A white board with a list of tasks and a bunch of checkmarks would work fine too. I think the key for us is to have it on display in the kitchen.

Link’s situation is different. They are basically self-sufficient. They make their own meals and clean up, do their own laundry and clean their own bedroom and bathroom. We collaborate on grocery lists and a few shared jobs. Their presence is not much of a factor in the amount of work we have to do. Plus, they bake for us regularly! (When Link is living on their own, they often find housework overwhelming, but the environment is more structured here).

We’ve been using our Kanban for six months, so I’m calling it a success.

Do you use any shared lists, apps or systems for housework sharing?

Previous posts:

Are You the Household Mastermind?

Housework Sharing Guide

Housework Sharing: Plans vs Reality

7 comments

  1. Jen

    I like the idea of this system especially for irregular tasks, like cleaning the washing machine or laundering shower curtain liners. These are the type of tasks that I find I lose track of how long it’s been since I last did them.

    • We reset our “board” every week, and some tasks don’t get done during the week, so we don’t really know how long it has been since last time. It would make sense to remove a sticky like the “shower curtain liner” one after it’s done, and put it back when it needs to be done again! If I want to do something really irregular, like a complete clean of the fridge, I just do it – no sticky note.

  2. Beth

    I am fortunate, I guess, in that daily/weekly stuff “just happens” – it is how my brain works.

    But there are things which I only need to do once a month (such as clean the dishwasher filters, change the water filter cartridge and the things Jen mentions above which are easy to lose track of) so I have a list in my diary and do everything on the 1st of the month. It means a couple of hours of solid chores but then the work is done for a whole month and I don’t have to think about it again which is a great feeling 🙂.

    • That’s a really good idea. Not sure if you are sharing tasks with anyone. I wanted to put our tasks in a place where we could check what the other had already done, and be aware if each of us is pulling our weight. Neither of us is a major procrastinator, but we do have preferred tasks! I do have my own lists of seasonal gardening tasks, just for me, and it is great to check them off!

  3. Doris Mcgrearyd

    My life is much less organised than yours – an unexacting life really! We have a basic agreement. Paul does food, shops (online), plans meals, cooks. He walks the dog, mows the lawn, cleans the bathroom and looks after the car. I do everything else – fairly unequal but works for us and he does cook very well. I was interested to note that shovelling snow is on your list – gives me a window on your world. Here in the UK we’ve really only had one weekend of snow this winter.

    • Hi, We’ve had a very cold and snowy winter – hence having enough stickies for snow shovelling three times a week! If Rom had his way, he would do all the grocery shopping, laundry, vacuuming and snow shovelling, while I would have to clean the bathroom and floors and windows, take care of the garbage, recycling and compost, do the gardening and yard maintenance, and everything for the car and the cats. (We are OK with splitting the dinner/kitchen cleanup). Maybe some would be OK with that split, but I would rather mix it up more!

  4. Oh this is RIGHT up my alley. Though I’m mindful it may not suit my partner!!

    That being said, I’m getting way better at communicating with him. Since we’re mainly in his home, I’ve only recently thought to ask questions like “how often should we wash our sheets? The kids sheets?” Nothing annoys me more than coming home to a stripped bed! If I strip a bed, it’s remade at the same time. I know the bf hates making a fresh bed, so now I know the frequency we’re both ok with, I just get onto stripping them the weekend they’re due.

    Another frequent annoyance for me is wet laundry languishing – I hate the musty smell they can develop. So again, I’m trying to put more loads on, when I know I can hang them out straight away. And he knows my preferences – so much so he proudly called me during a work day to let me know he’d done a load AND hung it out (more notable was it was the first sunny day after consecutive rainy days for more than a week!!)

    As to the dishwasher – I almost always unpack it. He’s particular in the stacking so I’ll only put in items I know will meet his preferences; and leave the rest on the bench!

    Cooking is usually me preparing veggies and him cooking it all – though either us will “do it all” as needed. I should explain that I pretty much only make our meal kit meals – no thought, just follow the steps. He’ll always do the post meal clean up – due to being a dishwasher nazi.

    We pay (lol he pays) for a cleaning person fortnightly, so that covers bathrooms, vacuuming and mopping, though our handheld vacuum comes out as needed. Overall it works well

    Of course I still have my place where I work up to five days a week. There, I still need to wash up (as I don’t use the dishwasher), I also vacuum and wash the gym clothes that end up there. Thankfully it’s a small place and minimal effort… though a little neglected of late as I’ve been “in the office” more days than not with the flood response.

    On Mon, 7 Mar 2022 at 12:00 pm, An Exacting Life wrote:

    > anexactinglife posted: ” Kanban Version 2 Four years ago, I made a > complete list of our household’s chores and maintenance. I posted a weekly > task list on the fridge, so Rom and I could use it as a reference and get > things done. It lasted until we developed a routine. Our liv” >

Leave a Reply to Doris Mcgrearyd Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: