Household Responsibilities: Negotiating with your spouse

Before dividing household responsibilities, you should first agree with each other on what tasks need to be done. As a couple, look through the following list of tasks and discuss which ones are essential for your family. Then you can begin negotiating who should be responsible for which tasks, taking into account each of your strengths, interests and availability.

Remember: The goal is not to strive for an even 50-50 split, but to strengthen your cooperation and work together to handle life’s daily tasks. As you clarify responsibilities, it’s important to remain flexible. Be willing to step in and do whatever needs to be done, regardless of how you divide your family’s chores.

Daily Responsibilities

Wash dishes or empty dishwasher

Empty kitchen garbage

Sweep kitchen and dining room floors

Make dinner

Pack lunches

Tidy common areas

Empty dehumidifiers or fill humidifiers

Drive kids to and from school

Drive kids to and from after-school activities

Help kids with homework

Weekly Responsibilities

Wash, fold and sort laundry

Clean dryer filter

Do ironing

Tidy family room

Clean bathrooms

Clean kitchen

Tidy bedrooms

Take out garbage and recycling

Dust main floor


Mop kitchen and dining room

Plan weekly meals

Shop for groceries

Change sheets

Water plants

Pay bills

Monthly Responsibilities

Dust bedrooms

Clean laundry room

Reconcile bank statements and review family budget

Clean humidifier or dehumidifier

Clean or change furnace filter

Dust pictures and ceiling fans

Clean outside of front door or entryway

Clean the fridge

Vacuum and wash cars

Do necessary home repairs

Seasonal Responsibilities

Mow lawn

Tidy flowerbeds and trim trees

Shovel snow

Change smoke detector batteries

Clean oven

Clean out gutters

Change or clean filter on fan above the stove

Clean vent/filter at base of refrigerator

Clean windows

Clean air conditioning unit

Clean freezer

Organize hall closet

Clean bedroom closets

Clean under bathroom sinks

Clean garage

Change oil in cars

Rake leaves

Schedule doctor's appointments and after-school activities

Shop for kids’ clothes and school items

Sheila Wray Gregoire is the author of To Love, Honor and Vacuum.

This article first appeared on
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Copyright © 2013 by Sheila Wray Gregoire. Used by permission. 

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