How to Get Your Roomates to Stick to a Cleaning Schedule

in Roommates on by

Keeping your apartment clean is important to feeling comfortable in your space. The chore is often easier to control when you live alone as opposed to living with roommates. When you’re living with roommates, however, the best way to ensure a clean apartment is to create a cleaning schedule. Unfortunately, simply creating a schedule doesn’t guarantee your roommates will stick with it. Avoid a dirty apartment and impending frustration by taking measures that will make your roommates stick to a cleaning schedule.

Talk It Out Upfront

Sit down with your roommates to set realistic expectations and to discuss the cleaning chores in need of assignment. You’re bound to not see eye-to-eye on everything. You may want the bathroom to be cleaned every week, but your roommates may not care if it’s only cleaned every three weeks. Everyone is going to have to compromise. Also, it’s never a good idea for one person to come up with a Cleaning Schedule and then mandate it. You all need to come together and form an agreement on how things will be done. Don’t be bossy or allow one of your roommates to boss you around. Open discussion is always the first step to creating a cleaning schedule that sticks.

Let Everyone Choose Chores They Might Enjoy

One person may hate vacuuming, another person may not mind it. When you all sit down to discuss and divide duties, it may be best for each individual to commit to completing the chores he or she actually enjoys. A rotating system could potentially work, but people are more apt to complete a chore if it’s something they don’t dread doing in the first place.

Be Flexible

Everyone is busy, so your cleaning schedule is more likely to stick if you incorporate flexibility into it. Avoid setting exact dates or days of the week for things to be done. Stick to general time frames. It may seem counter intuitive considering work in the real world operates on a deadline system, but chances are that’s exactly what you’re trying to escape when at home. If you make the schedule too strict, animosity will form and one person (or more) will become the cleaning police. Try to avoid a controlling situation altogether.

Lead By Example

One of the best things you can do to get your roommates to stick to a cleaning schedule is to hold up to your end of the bargain. Do your share of the cleaning as scheduled and your roommates will likely follow suit. The contrast of the scrubbed kitchen you cleaned against the disorderly living room your roommate has neglected will be stark. Nobody wants the shame that comes from neglecting one’s duties.

If the apartment is still a mess, you need to talk to your roommates firmly. It’s unfair for one person to do his or her share and for everyone else to be dismissive. Your roommates are more likely to comply if you state your case and ask nicely, but firmly. It may seem like hand holding, but some people need to be reminded. As long as the chores are completed, that’s all that really matters.


Rachael Weiner: I’m a communications professional for a non-profit, which financially necessitates my status as an apartment dweller. Constantly “on-the-go,” I’ve resided in five different apartments across the United States over the past five years. Roommate issues, budgeting, organizing and handling problem neighbors are my specialty.

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