Daily Living and Chores

Perhaps this is your first time living away from home and in your own household. Depending on your situation, you may want to simplify day-to-day living by getting organized. Here are a few ideas to consider for completing household tasks:

Planning your budget:

  • Assess your budget.
    • Make sure that you each have enough money to cover necessities such as: rent, utilities, transportation, food, telephone, Internet, school supplies, and emergencies.
    • Determine and agree how bills will be paid. Do you need a communal fund?
  • Establish good credit.
    • Open one of the household monthly bills in your name. 
    • Be wise in your personal spending.

Communicate with your housemates:

Reduce the chances of housemate disputes by laying out simple ground rules early on. Even if the rules seem straightforward, put your housemate agreement in writing, sign and date it. Make a copy for each person and give it to them for their records.

Keep in mind that each housemate has their own ideas about how a household should be run based on their own experiences. Negotiate and be mindful of what is comfortable for others. Some conflict is inevitable and compromise is necessary.

  • Have regular house meetings.
    • Pick a day each month for a house meeting that everyone can and will attend.
    • Work out potential snags before they become larger problems. Make sure everyone agrees before implementing large changes, such as establishing a chore schedule or adding movie channels to your TV service bill.
    • Talk about any problems you might have, as ignoring problems will make things worse. If a financial issue will cause you to pay rent a week late, be up front about it ahead of time.
  • Establish rules.
    • Establish a public or private food system, or combination of both.
    • Are overnight guests allowed? If so, how many nights a month?
    • Tell people if you’re going to be gone, so that chores can be rescheduled and misunderstandings can be avoided.
    • Designate private areas versus common areas.
    • Do you need quiet hours? Talk about it.
    • Is smoking allowed inside or outside? (Be sure to check your rental agreement before establishing this one).
  • What are the consequences?
    • Decide what will happen if someone breaks a rule. For example, what if an overnight guest overstays their welcome? Should they have to pay a portion of utilities, food, or rent? Put your agreement in writing.

Sharing chores with housemates:

  • Make a list of chores. Have a shared understanding about what is necessary on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis.
  • Assess your schedules. Know when everyone can commit to their chores to avoid the possibility of future disagreements. Reassess each quarter.
  • Create a chore schedule. Outline each chore and who is responsible for it. Hang it where everyone can see it, such as on the refrigerator or a bulletin board in the kitchen.
  • Evaluate. Do the chores make sense? Does the schedule work for everyone?