One of the best ways to keep your household running smoothly and to keep things properly organized is to create a master chore list. This way, everyone in the family has specific chores to do and no one is forced to do more than anyone else.
The result is that all the household chores can be done on schedule and everyone winds up with a sense of accomplishment while working together as a team.
The Master Chore List
For your master list, start with writing down all the chores that need doing and how often they should be done. Include tasks both inside and outside the home. For example, you might begin with listing daily chores like these:
- Fixing meals
- Feeding the dog or cat
- Doing the laundry
- Cleaning the bathrooms
Next, create a list of the chores you need to do weekly. It might look like this:
- Mop the floors
- Wash sheets
- Water plants
- Mow the lawn
- Take out the trash
- Wash the car
After that, list chores that should be done each month. It could look like this:
- Vacuum the curtains
- Clean the blinds
- Bathe the cat or dog
- Clean out the refrigerator
- Replace air filters
Finally, list annual chores that should be done about once a year like these:
- Clean the garage
- Shampoo the carpets
- Prune outside trees and shrubs
By now, you should have a reasonably complete list of what needs doing regularly all year long in your home. You’ll probably need to add some more things later, but for now, this master list will work just fine.
Next, break down your master list into smaller lists with duties that can be assigned to each of the different members of your family. Pay attention to the different ages and capabilities of everyone so there’s not too much of a burden on anyone.
Also, consider breaking down some of the chores into smaller, easier jobs. These should go to younger members of the family who might not be able to handle the entire job.
As an example, if “dishes” is on your daily master list, it might be fun to let the smaller children in the family do one job while you assign another job to others. This might work for the first child:
- Wash and rinse the dishes
- Unload dishes from the dishwasher
- Dry the dishes
- Stack dishes in the proper cabinet
For the second child:
- Rinse and load dishes into the dishwasher
- Add dish washing detergent
- Close and run the dishwasher
If you normally hand-wash the dishes, one of the children can gather the dishes from the table while another can wash and rinse each one. Yet another child might wipe the dishes dry and put them away in the cabinet.
Personalizing the Chore Lists
Create a different list for every person. Assign each task individually so everyone has a specific job to do. Think about swapping tasks often so each member of the family learns a different job. This also makes sure everybody isn’t bored and doesn’t need to do the same job over and over again.
When you are ready to hand out each person’s list, call everyone in the family together and explain what each one is expected to do. If someone balks at a particular chore, switch some tasks around so everyone is happy. You’ll never get all of the jobs accomplished when family members aren’t on the same page and working together as a team.
Make it clear that everyone has jobs to do that are their responsibility. Make rules and set up goals so that if a job isn’t completed, there will be no television or video games until it’s done. And, make sure when tasks are completed, there’s a reward. This can be a fun family activity everyone can enjoy together, or an outside recreational activity for the whole family the following weekend.
If you don’t have children in the house to help out with the chores, having a master list can still be a good way for you to keep your chores organized. And, if you’re single, you should create a master list for yourself for every room in your home so you’re reminded of what needs to be done and when it needs to be done.
Couples and Roommates
If it’s just you and one other person in the house, a master list will help you both to keep chores accomplished. When different chores are assigned, it’s easy for both of you to make sure you meet each other’s expectations.
Discuss the specific chores that each of you needs to complete. Make sure to equally divide the chores up so neither one feels they’re being asked to do more than the other.
Keep a checklist so you both can check off what’s been done, and set a time when each chore needs to be finished so nobody gets behind.
Remember to always be flexible. Some things can come up that are going to be unexpected. When you help your partner out with their chores, or you do things together, you’ll both wind up happy with the results.
Household chores can be a headache for families, couples, roommates and even singles. When you create a master chore list, it forces you to focus on the things that need to be done and helps to ease stress with you and the rest of the family. It also makes everyone accountable for accomplishing things that need to be done.
Always remember that nobody on earth is perfect. Be flexible while attempting to do your best. Focus on what’s accomplished and not on what needs doing. You’ll end up feeling better about both yourself and the place you love to call home.