I need a longlist of all chores in a household

I want to sit down with my husband and re-negotiate the division of household chores.

The idea is to check off a list, and award points to a chore, depending on how much time it takes, how often it needs doing, how difficult etc. I could make such a list myself, but there must be lists out there to use as base, right?

I’ve googled extensively, but most lists are about the weekly cleaning chores, and those are mainly done by our cleaning lady. **What I want is a list for all other chores, including child care, home- and stuff- maintenance, social, and administrative tasks. **

Internet kudo points for anyone who can point me in the right direction !

Cleaning and cooking … keep it simple

I suggest you (and husband) carry a pencil and paper around for a month or so and write down absolutely everything you each do. “took out bathroom trash”, “inventoried bathroom for need for TP, soap, & toothpaste”, “made dinner of X, Y, and Z”, “added two used-up items to grocery list”, “paid cleaning person”, “paid utility bill”, “put gas in car”, etc.

It sounds pretty crazy, and in one sense it absolutely is. But the tasks you’re trying to divvy are the ones you (both) actually do. And at the granularity that makes sense to each of you, not to some anonymous list-maker on the internet. This also helps you recognize the tiny task you do 10 times a month is actually a bigger effort than the slightly larger task you do only once.

If you’re having the disagreement I think you’re having, then battle one in the upcoming war will be over which tasks are mandatory and which are make-work that can/should be skipped. That battle will go much more smoothly if the list is what you each wrote, not something imported from elsewhere.

Pro tip: If you can’t get cooperation on list making then the game is over. Try another tack to achieve the domestic balance you desire.

The list at the end of this column could be a good starting point.

I agree wholeheartedly with LSLGuy’s suggestion. Resolving the division of labor disputes will likely be an ongoing discussion so the fact that it might take a few weeks of preliminary work to begin tackling it shouldn’t dissuade you.

LSLGuy’s approach has a lot of benefits over a canned list. The process of making the lists will may you both cognizant of the household work that you are doing, and seeing your spouse’s list will give you a greater awareness of how much they are doing. Oftentimes these fights come about not because the work is as uneven as it first appears but rather because it’s hard to appreciate how much the other person does when you are too busy to notice. These lists will make you realize both what needs to be done and who is doing it now.

That said, building the lists will be a pain in the ass but I wish you luck.

Also, be sure both parties take the lists seriously. Write all the tasks down. You don’t want the new fights to come about because one person listed 100 things that each took 30 seconds and the other person listed only “important” things that took, let’s say, 20 minutes or more.

Best of luck to you.

Well, I don’t know about an internet list, you’re probably better off making your own because each life/house/family etc is different.

I do 99% of the chores here, and my life probably doesn’t resemble yours so this may not even remotely apply, but these are things I do:

-feed & clean up after pets (we have animals, no kids)
-feed & clean up after livestock
-grocery shopping for humans & animals
-plan meals
-dishes (wash & put away)
-All cleaning lady chores (vacuum, sheets, laundry, bathrooms etc)
-trash & recycling
-mowing lawn & fields
-fence repair
-keep track of personal finances & pay bills,
-collect all info for taxes
-organize business receipts etc for bookkeeper
-payroll for business
-fix what breaks if I can, call repair person if not
-schedule & attend to vet visits for animals
-do all home health maint. for animals (flea stuff, claws, baths, etc)
-power wash deck & house when they need it
-wash windows
-schedule & attend to maintenance on my car & my truck & trailer

My husband, apart from his work, does the following:

-all things related to computers, TV, & electronics (updates, repairs, hard/software needs, etc)
-fix some car/tractor/lawnmower problems
-basic maint on tractor/lawnmower
-his own car maintenance

Don’t know if that helps at all…

Not only do you need a list of chores, but each one needs to be assigned a numerical value, so that they can be fairly exchanged in the event a circumstance arises in which the person assigned a chore us unable to perform it for any reason. The list also needs to be cross-referenced, in the event that an irregular chore might fall into two or more conflicting categories.

Reminds me of the weird Canadian comedy show–Twitch City. In which one roommate created the Job Wheel, a complex artifact to ensure that things went well.

(They did not. In fact, the insufferable roommate soon became notorious as The Cat Food Killer. The other roommate was also insufferable–just less insufferable.)

IMO this idea is really the crux of most relationship issues.

I always say there’s only one real disagreement in a relationship: Everybody always agrees the score is 123,456 to 7. We just disagree about who has the 7.

Lopsided perception is everything and most folks are amazingly blind and/or biased.

Since everyone’s list may be different, let’s move this to IMHO.

General Questions Moderator

Home maintenance:
*Clean gutters once a year, particularly if you have trees near the house.
*Change furnace filter every 3-6 months, depending on use and dust/animal fur
*Check the siding once a year to make sure all joints are caulked.
*Check exterior painted surfaces once a year for peeling, cracking or bubbling.
*Have your heating/cooling system checked every fall.
*If you have central air, hose off the fins on your exterior compressor unit every spring and fall. Dirt accumulation is the primary reason for poor performance.
*For forced air heating systems, have the ducts vacuumed every five years by someone who uses one of those funny-looking trucks with the big cloth tubes on the back. This is not a job that can be properly done with a machine that is inside the house.
*Visually inspect asphalt shingled roofs every year (from the ground) for any moss accumulation or damage.
*Periodically inspect extension cords for wear, if you use them.
*Check all outlets to make sure they are still reasonably tight. If the plug is falling out of the wall, then the outlet should be replaced.
*Clean the windows inside and out once or twice a year
*Keep organic material away from wood surfaces: leaves, dirt, etc. It attracts both moisture and insects
*Trim back any tree branches that are near your roof or gutters.
*If you have a vent hood over your stove, there are filters in it. Take them out and stick them in the dishwasher at least every month or so.

*Keep up with recommended maintenance intervals, per the manual
*Check the oil from time to time, and any other fluid levels accessible from the engine compartment
*Check tire pressure from time to time
*Washing is a good thing, as is waxing
*Clean the upholstery at least once a year

Have you already discussed this with him, or is it going to be a surprise? If you two have come up with this plan together, it’s probably best to make the list together. However, if you’re flying solo on this one I would maybe, you know, discuss it with him first, because nobody likes feeling ambushed. Then I would make the list together, because everyone’s list is going to be different.

He’s ok with the idea in general, but utterly passive otherwise. Thats why i need a list, and that is why making our own lists wont work.

Thanks chefguy and Barret Bonden for the detailed lists. Now i still need a list where the items are weighed. Is, for instance, managing gifts, cards, and parties worth just as much as managing the home electronics? Worth more? Less ?

I remember doing the contract/list thing shortly before my divorce.


You two are the only people who can value these things appropriately. You will find that he values monthly vacuuming to the same degree that you value daily vacuuming. You cannot tackle distribution of chores without first agreeing on their value.

Yikes indeed.

To a first approximation, the only thing that matters is time spent. Being on call to reset the router although it never malfunctions isn’t worth anything, despite the expertise required. Taking out the trash 100x / year is worth a bunch, no matter how mundane and skill-free the task.

After you get the time spent divvied equally you can horse trade on the “value” or “difficulty” or “unpleasantness” of various tasks.

I repeat my point that it’s what people really do, not what they’re on stand-by to possibly do, that determines their workload and their score.

Passive as in willing to go along if you gently tug his leash, or passive as in lying in your path and hoping you’re not strong enough to lift him out of the way?

If the latter I’m sorry for your situation. An axiom in unhappy situations is that he/she who cares least has all the power. It’s not proportional to who cares how much. A 51/49 distribution of caring results in a 0/100 distribution of power.

If the former you can still develop your list and present him with the info that you do X hours/week and his evidence presented is that he does 0 hours per week, so he gets half your list going forward. :slight_smile:

I exaggerate slightly for effect, but you’re going to need some way to tug his leash to get him off the status quo. You know best whether he responds to logic, sense of fairness, slow steady pressure, sarcasm, humor, doing everything together, or a whack with a frying pan.

Good luck. Seriously, not snarkily. I fear you’ll need it.

We had the toilet paper arguement. Which is that both of us were convinced that the other person NEVER put the new roll actually on the holder, but left it on the back of the tank for the other to change out.

Turns out, confirmation bias. Both of us were guilty of sometimes realizing that the toilet paper was empty as we finished, and not taking the time to put a new roll on the spinner. Both of us then would generally put the toilet paper on the roll at some time in the future.

I have a habit of cheating. When the old roll of toilet paper gets low enough, I grab a new role and use it instead so I don’t have to change the old roll.

I have to say, a list sounds terribly childish. And roommate like.

My Wife and I just do. Sometimes I do it, sometimes she does. It depends on what needs to be done.

A couple knows what makes each other happy and does it.

And of course a ‘Honey would you …’ is never a problem.