I made a free family chore chart for you, in case you need a little more structure in who does what in your house.
If you’ve never really sat down and defined who does what and when in your family, this can be life-changing.
But… there’s also some pretty serious roadblocks you’ll want to avoid if you have a reluctant spouse.
As someone who spent their entire life as a hot mess (we’re talking laundry piles spilling out into the hallway, dirty dishes piled out of the sink and onto the counters, and being late to everything)…
I can tell you that a family chore chart can help everyone know their role, and contribute if you do it the right way.
So let’s go over that.
Fair warning: we really have the art of home management for a high impulse, low will power hot mess down to a science. So if the time it takes us to do a chore seems low to you, I’ll link the system we use as well to explain how we can get it done that fast.
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How to Use a Family Chore Chart Successfully
If you have a significant other, start with just the two of you.
- List all of the things that need to be done in your house on a regular basis to run your home.
- Once you have your list, estimate the time it takes you to complete each item per week.
Here’s my family chore chart list…
- Meal plan for the week. 5 minutes (I use Plan to Eat)
- Make dinner. 15- 30 Minutes per day (We mostly make these 15-minute meals)
- Laundry. 7 minutes per day (we use this system so it’s quicker)
- Dishes. 6 minutes per day (we use this system)
- Schedule book. 2 minutes per day. Meaning, keep the family calendar, add in events, etc. (we use this system)
- Take the garbage out to the trash cans. 5 minutes
- Take the trash cans out to the road on pick-up day. 5 minutes
- Feed the dog. 2 minutes
- Budgeting. 5 minutes a week (we use this system)
- Drop off kids at school. 15 minutes
- Pick up kids at school. 15 minutes
- Vehicle maintenance. 10 minutes a week (we do the work ourselves usually and while it’s not a weekly event when it happens, it’s usually several hours per event.
- 15 minute pick up daily after dinner. 15 minutes a day
- Mowing the lawn. 1 hour a week (2 hours, every other week)
- Switching out library books. (we use Goodreads to find books, reserve them online, and then just swing by and switch out books every month. I plan ahead to pay fines for the month (which are 10 cents a day for anything that won’t allow renewals for the month (Like the 7 day new release books).
*Not that you would ever judge but monthly visits is the only library system that ever worked for my naturally hot mess brain. And I save THOUSANDS of dollars a year using the library as an avid reader and will happily donate $2.00 a month to them on the months I take out a new release. I’m a big fan of thinking outside the box to work with your unique personality to get a system that works, even if it’s a little questionable.
Hint: If this list seems short we use a revolutionary home management program called Hot Mess to Home Success that teaches bare minimum effort on a consistent basis. A ton of my tasks are automated for free so I’m removed from running them.
That had the single biggest impact on my getting organized and creating free time for myself (and my family).
Hot Mess to Home Success only opens for enrollment once a year, but you can get on the waiting list here.
We automate a bunch of things for free like scooping cat litter, grocery shopping, and running errands so we don’t deal with those.
But if you don’t automate, your list might include some of the things below…
- Scooping kitty litter.
- Feeding the cat.
- Giving the dog/cat water.
- Errands. Library, picking up RX, etc.) (we use this system).
- Refilling the stock room. Where you keep toilet paper, deodorant, toothpaste, etc. (We use this system).
- Clothing shopping. (we use this system).
- Cleaning bathrooms.
- Grocery shopping.
- Cleaning the house.
Rather than assigning who needs to do what, we “claim” chores similar to how you would choose teams in dodge ball.
Whoever goes first looks through the list and claims which chore they want most, and you go back and forth claiming chores by the amount of time they take until the last chore is claimed.
Note: That means if you choose a chore that takes an hour a week, your partner would need to claim an hour’s worth of chores before you make your next pick.
With one exception. Whoever is most interested in getting organized, that person MUST be the one in charge of the dishes, laundry, and schedule book (which is only 15 minutes a day combined).
Why? Because out of everything listed, your success or failure of feeling organized and your level of stress based on your home are going to come down to those three things being done consistently.
Together, they make the foundation of your home management routine, and they’re the only three chores that actually matter in your home (although your dog who would like to be fed may disagree).
Does that mean if you’re in charge of the schedule, dishes, and laundry (affectionately called SDL) that no one else ever does the dishes besides you? Of course not.
It just means that you’re in charge of those tasks. So, if someone does the dishes… they’re doing it for you. Like you can ask them to do the dishes, but if they don’t do it, it’s your responsibility to get it done.
In Hot Mess to Home Success, we specialize in the toughest cases of chronic disorganization… So this won’t really apply to everyone, but, if your spouse is a hot mess, reluctant, or very forgetful…
Keep in mind that any chore they claim, you have to let them take responsibility for the chore including failure or success.
That means that if they forget to take the trash out every week, you can’t swoop in and save them. Because then, trash is really your chore.
But you also can’t nag them every trash day and remind them to take it out, because then you’re still managing it (which takes a surprising amount of mental energy). And when it gets done, it’s not their win, it’s yours because you reminded them.
Which is really just reinforcing your vote of no confidence that they can’t do anything right.
So if they choose to take out the trash, then you would need to let them accept all natural consequences of that. (Even if they forget for a few weeks and then need to clean up the overflow on their own).
I say that because when you’re choosing chores, you may want to choose a chore that you CAN stay quiet on if they don’t do it right.
Because if you’re the PTA president and you have a sneaking suspicion that if your spouse is in charge of bringing the kids to school that he’ll bring them in late every day…. you probably can’t ignore that.
So, If you can’t stay silent on that, then you may want to prioritize taking the kids to school as your chore, so you can avoid that.
If you have a reluctant spouse or you’re nervous about giving up control, read this quick breakdown of how to do this the right way here…
If you have 15-minute pick-up on your list. I suggest that should be on everyone’s list right after dinner. Even if you don’t get it done every day (because of sports practices or staggered dinners) doing it right after you eat dinner and quickly straightening up the main areas of your home as a family makes a big difference).
Time margin differences. This is if there’s a massive difference in the free time you each have that needs to be taken into consideration. For instance, if your spouse works 12 hour days with a commute and you’re a stay-at-home mom whose kids are in school 6 hours a day… Then the hours that you have free need to be considered when claiming chores so that you have fairly balanced free time. In that situation, you may be doing all tasks to be in balance with your spouse.
Now that you and your partner have the most important things done, it’s time to expand the family chore chart to the kids.
If you’ve never done this before, you should know that starting at the ages of 3-5, kids can be a huge help to you but you have to train them right.
And you’re going to have to do the chore with the child for many days or even weeks. As long as it takes until they can do the chore independently.
Look at your list to make a sub-list of chores that the kids can do every day to help you.
It may be that they have chores that are already assigned to one of you. That’s fine. That means that the adult is in charge of managing the chore (ensuring it gets done). And the child is in charge of doing the chore.
In our house.
- Takes the trash bags out of the house to the large bins outside daily. Even if they aren’t full, (another home management trick that works really well with my hot mess personality).
- Straightens the living room, the mudroom, and his bedroom every day.
- Starts and switches the laundry.
- Loads and starts the dishwasher.
- Puts his clothes away into his labeled drawers
- Straightens the dining room.
- Feeds the dog.
- Adds water to the pet water fountain we have (or makes sure that it has enough water).
- Gathers the clothes every morning to load and start the washing machine.
- Puts her clothes away into labeled drawers.
Make those chores into a list and then check their work at the end. Hint: making screen time reliant on correct completion of chores means your kids will be highly motivated to complete chores correctly. But then you have to follow through and actually check to make sure they’re done. If you give them screens for shoddy work, you will always get shoddy work from them.
Allowance based on chores
There’s an ongoing debate about whether kid’s allowances should be based on chores.
Some people think that kids shouldn’t be paid to do their part to help the family run the home.
I’m firmly in the camp of it doesn’t matter.
The reason my kids get allowances is because I want them to learn to manage their own money.
I want them to learn the hard lessons of blowing it all on candy and borrowing money from me at a high-interest rate when they’re 12 and not when they’re 35 and have a family to provide for.
They do chores because I want them to know how to run their home. How to work with their unique personality so they can do it even when they don’t have the natural motivation to want to do it. Because I want them to be successful adults and not drowning in dishes and laundry will help them do that.
So neither chores nor allowance is anything they’ve earned… it’s training for life.
If they don’t do an adequate job on chores… could you take their allowance away? Sure.
That teaches them a lesson as well. It teaches them that they can get fired from a job if they don’t perform as required.
But that’s likely the last resort because depending on the age of the kid, you’re training them to successfully do their chores.
If they’re doing them inadequately, that means that you’re also performing inadequately.
Here’s the free family chore chart…
Print it out and I suggest that you laminate it using these easy self-laminating sheets or you can put this in a large picture frame and use the glass as a dry erase board so people can check it off every day and then you can wipe it at the end of the week.
If I missed anything or you have questions about the family chore chart hit me below.
P.S. If you like this and want to implement more stuff like this into your life… you should do the Trashed to Total Home Transformation Starter Program. It’s free and it’s the precursor to the Hot Mess to Home Success Course. It teaches you how to do the dishes, laundry, and schedule book in a way that works with your unique personality. A way that you literally can’t screw up.
It was completely life changing for me and it’s what got me into Hot Mess to Home Success. You can enroll for free here.
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