On household organization- Part II: The Division of Labor

If you couldn't tell by now, I'm very much a "type A" (bwahahaha like you couldn't tell, high-larious, right?!) and my husband is very much a "type B". I tend to be a big fan of a clean house, and the hubby, while he doesn't enjoy filth has a much higher clutter/mess tolerance than I do.

Like most married couples, we've had our tiffs about who's to do what, who's neglected what, who shouldn't have to do what around the house. However, I think (I say with crossed fingers and squinting eyes) we have finally found a system that works.

My issues:
1. I need help around the house, and I don't want to nag.
2. I would like the house to be in a constant state of some level of cleanliness, so if someone unexpectedly drops by, I won't drop dead of embarrassment. (Flylady defines this so well- if your house is a disaster, you have "chaos" as in, Can't Have Anyone Over Syndrome)
3. I do not want to have to call any haz-mat teams.
4. I do not want to spend my whole weekend (or even a whole weekend day) cleaning.
5. I can't truly relax amongst a bunch of clutter.
Hubby's issues:
1. What needs to be done chore wise doesn't automatically haunt his brain, he needs to be told what needs to be done.
2. He needs a visual reminder sometimes.
3. He likes checklists.
4. He wants me to relax more often.
5. He doesn't like being nagged. (Who does?)

So, here's what we did:
Step One: Make a list of all household chores that need to be done on a regular basis.
Step Two: Decide who is doing what chores. If you commit to a chore, you've got to keep it.
Step Three: Create a schedule with check boxes that can be printed once a week, and go right on the fridge.

Some tips that helped us make a successful schedule:
-I just drew up an easy table using Word, with a column for each of us and a row for each weekday.
-When deciding which chores were to be done when, we took into account what we do on that specific day (e.g. the hubs and I each have one night a week to go hang with friends, while the other "mans the fort"- so whoever is out that night, doesn't have many chores assigned on that particular night since they are obviously out)
-Some chores are done more than once a week, like laundry. To conquer laundry, I gave myself one load 5 times a week. I put the load in in the morning, transfer it after work, and fold it while watching TV before bed. This way, the laundry never piles up too much. Also, we keep three laundry baskets on the bedroom floor, and sort as we take clothes off. Darks/warms, whites, and delicate/nice clothes/cold wash low dry.
-Some chores are done less than once a week. For example, cleaning and vacuuming the car or organizing a closet. So, on Saturdays, I have an item called "chore of the week" with a blank line below it. Whatever more rare chore we need done that week- write it in the blank.
-Leave a little room for flexibility. We have a starred line at the bottom of our schedule that says "If you can not do a task on it's assigned day, draw an arrow moving it to the day when you will complete the task". Doing things visually keeps us accountable (we don't just skip it) and helps us to avoid nagging. "Um, you didn't mop, when are you going to?"

There are many beauties that this system has provided us. For one, I'm more relaxed because everything is consistently pretty clean and neat since it's being taken care of routinely. No one is feeling overburdened or resentful. Nagging becomes unnecessary, and I'm actually finding that I am spending more time relaxing. Instead of trying to cram a million things into one evening, now, I do what's on the list for that day, and that day only- and then chill! I don't have to worry that if I don't do more, the other things won't get done- because they're all on the schedule, and will be taken care. I HEART this system.

Hopefully, this helps a few other families out there in the internets! :-)


  1. Okay, this is a genius idea! I think I may have to try it out because all your issues? My issues. All Brandon's issues? Justin's issues.


  2. Ok, so i have this system, but just for ME!! WHAT AM I THINKING!! David helps out, but I just have never thought to put this down on paper to keep him accountable. I am so going to talk with David about this and use it ASAP! :)

  3. Ohhhh good idea!!! Can I put all of the chores under Chris' side? :)

  4. So I see that one of your "to do" items is "plan meals". Have you seen these cute Menu Planning Note Pads? They use to sell them at Anthropologie, but recently stopped.
    Here is the like. I use them and they are so fun.


  5. Great idea - so organized and all on paper - Going to give it a try.

  6. This is so helpful! I am so not Type A and cant even tell you how much I think this will help my husband (who is) stop nagging me! Thank you!


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