Roommates Cleaning Schedule: Guide to Better Living

Alex Woodward |
Alex is a Growth Marketing Manager at Snagajob, where she works with sales to help connect businesses with the right workers. Her first hourly job was as a barista at Caribou Coffee.

Editor’s note: this article was written by Elana Goodwin with Uloop.

When you want to keep your dorm, apartment, or house clean during college while living with roommates, the task becomes a team effort. Cleaning is rarely anyone’s favorite thing to do but is a necessary part of being in school and living away from home.

With roommates, keeping your home clean can either be easier, as there are more hands to help, or harder, as there are more people dirtying the place up. Here’s how you can maintain a clean dorm, apartment, or house, and create a cleaning schedule with your roommates.

How to create a cleaning schedule with your roommates:

Figure out the chores

What are the tasks that need to get done to keep your dorm, apartment or house clean? Have a discussion with your roommates about the chores you'll all need to take on so your home stays nice and clean. And beyond just defining what those responsibilities are, how often will these chores need to be carried out — daily, weekly, biweekly, monthly?

Assign each of the chores you come up with — things like cleaning the kitchen, sweeping, vacuuming, doing dishes, scrubbing the toilet, taking out the trash, dusting, paying the bills, and throwing out older food from the fridge — to being a daily, weekly, biweekly, or monthly chore so they'll be easier to go over with your roommates and set a schedule for or divvy up.

If you and your roomies are each responsible for cleaning up after yourselves, tasks like doing dishes or cleaning out the fridge shouldn't factor in, though you may want to have a conversation early on as to what's appropriate or expected so you don't run into any problems in the future.

Divide the chores up fairly

One way to tackle the chores you've come up with is to divide them up fairly. Perhaps one of your roommates doesn't mind vacuuming or likes dusting while another prefers being the one responsible for staying on top of bills.

Once you've got all your chores written out, decide which are the more time-consuming and less-fun ones and then have each of you take on some of those types of chores, as well as some of the easier tasks. You can then opt to change these chores every so often or just stick to them for a semester or even throughout the whole year of living together, if you so choose.

Make a chart or rotation

Perhaps the most diplomatic way of creating a cleaning schedule amongst you and your roommates is to make a chore chart or wheel. Write each of the tasks down, along with how often they'll need to be done, and what the expectation of fulfilling that chore is.

To make rotating names easier, write down the tasks on a dry erase or chalk board or make your chore chart on durable paper and create Velcro nametags that you can take off and put next to different chores. If you choose to do a chore wheel, write all the tasks in a circle and then create a smaller circle with your names on it so you can rotate the name circle or chore circle to easily change tasks when it's time to rotate.

Set chore deadlines

Whether the task is a daily, weekly, biweekly, or monthly chore, set deadlines as to when those chores should be done. If it's daily, decide on a certain time of night that you and your roommates should expect the chore to be completed. If it's weekly, biweekly, or monthly, decide on a day the chores should be done by and how you'll hold each other accountable so all the chores that need to get done are finished in a timely manner and everyone contributes as they should to keep the dorm, apartment, or house clean.

Keep communication open

Make sure as you go about doing your chores that you keep communication open with your roommates. If the chore chart isn't working for someone, sit down and figure out what can be done to make it fairer or to hear their complaints. If someone's got a really busy semester, see if they can be responsible for the weekly, biweekly, or monthly chores for that semester to make it easier for them to stay on top of their household tasks.

Set up roommate meetings to discuss the chores if you've noticed that a certain task should be done more or less often, or other issues. If it seems like your home isn't being kept as clean as it should be, discuss hiring a cleaning service to come in or dedicate a day to be roommate day where you all spend it hanging out together as well as cleaning your place together.

Keeping a clean home at school is important, as you'll be able to focus that much better and feel more comfortable in your dorm, apartment, or house if you don't feel like you're living in filth or an unkempt place.

To keep your place clean, talk to your roommates about chores and create a chore schedule so you can all pitch in and be responsible for the upkeep and cleanliness of your home.

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