If you live with friends or family, there is no reason why you should be taking on all the cleaning. While you might enjoy it — or have a knack for it — it is only fair that everyone in your home does their share
But if only life were that simple. The fact that it’s left to you to do the delegating could become a bone of contention. If you’re delegating to people who don’t want to be told what to do, arguments could sour the household atmosphere.
Thankfully, there is an art to delegating household chores. With a little planning, thought and diplomacy, you should be able to divvy up jobs without too many crossed words.
Here are five tips for successfully delegating household cleaning tasks.
1. Never share
Wherever possible, delegate one job to one person. While the thought of sharing a job might be appealing, it often means no one has the responsibility of completing it. Some will do more work than others, and arguments could easily ensue. You also have to remember that people have their own way of cleaning things — and approaches won’t always complement one another.
2. Think about who does what
This is one of the trickier aspects of delegation in the home. You have to start by thinking about people’s strengths and capabilities. For example, you might give the tallest person in the home the job of dusting lights, but oven cleaning might be given to the person who demonstrates the greatest attention to detail. If you can justify your decisions to everyone in your home, you shouldn’t run into too many problems. Think of a logical argument that justifies every delegated task you dish out.
3. Set goals
Most people simply want to be told what their job is, and what constitutes its successful completion. Taking control of the entire process is a lot of work and responsibility, so members of your household might be glad that you’re spoon-feeding them their jobs. Every time you delegate, explain what it entails, and how you know it is complete. For example, if you’re delegating laundry, the goal might be to wash, dry and iron what’s already in your hamper.
4. Explain why splitting tasks works
If you’re faced with objections and complaints, explain your decisions logically. If you can demonstrate why splitting tasks is beneficial to the whole house, people are more likely to do a good job. For example, everyone taking on their own specific jobs means housework will be completed much faster. Once each job is complete, the person responsible knows that they can relax. You should also make the point that giving each person their own cleaning job means everyone can complete theirs when their schedule permits.
5. Remain flexible
Household cleaning is important, but it’s never the most important thing in a person’s life. Work, family commitments and friendships are all more important, so you need to be flexible if people’s circumstances change. For example, if someone has to stay late at work, you can delegate their nightly laundry duties to someone else. The person at work can then take on another job. Create a rota, but don’t be afraid to change it.
6. Create a schedule
Household cleaning can become complex when there are several people living in a house. It’s important to create time-sensitive schedules, otherwise crucial jobs won’t get done weekly or monthly like they need to. List everyone’s name on one side of a chart, and list all of the essential household cleaning tasks along the top. Every Monday morning, fix a new cleaning chart to the wall in the kitchen, so everyone knows what they’re doing, and when they need to do it by.
Tip: It’s a good idea to hold a monthly meeting, where people can air their grievances about the jobs they’ve been assigned.
7. Be realistic
It doesn’t matter how organised or conscientious you are, there will probably be people in your household that just don’t want to pull their weight. While you can try reasoned argument, logic, guilt and empathy, you might find that some people just don’t want to clean. Unfortunately, that may be something you and your housemates have to live with. However, there could still be compromises. For example, the person who can’t or won’t clean could be the one who purchases the cleaning supplies.
Delegating cleaning tasks is usually an unenviable task — which is why so many people simply do everything on their own. But with the right approach, you can ensure everyone pulls their weight when it comes to household cleaning.