Living with a roommate for the first time? Here’s how to negotiate the cleaning schedule


In words from the High School Musical, when you first start living with someone, you think you’re going to feel like ‘we’re all in this together.’ But the reality is often far from ideal. So, when it comes to laundry, dirty dishes, hair strands and unmade beds, one of you ends up carrying most of the weight of cleaning and tidying your room in a PG in Karol Bagh, while the other gets the advantage of a clean space without contributing much. And that’s the result of not figuring out a cleaning schedule. Because when you start living with a roommate, cleaning up needs to be a team effort. Otherwise, resentment or passive-aggressiveness is bound to fester and ruin your relationship.

So, how do you go about creating a chores schedule that is flexible and suits both your needs? We’ve got a step-by-step guide for you to follow to create a cleaning chart that will help you keep your home organised and clean.

Talk it out

Whether your roommate is someone you know from college or randomly assigned, it’s important for you to have a clear picture of each other’s living habits. That means having a conversation early on about your lifestyles, when you wake up and go to bed, how often you want to invite friends over and more. But it also involves more domestic routines too. How often does your roommate wash the dishes? Do they sweep the room every alternate day or once a week? What’s their policy on eating in bed? Understanding each other’s cleaning habits will help you understand how compatible you are as roommates and how you can divide your chores.

Identify the tasks

‘Cleaning’ is a very abstract concept. You need to decide what are the actual tasks you and your roommate want to do to keep your space tidy. Do you just want to wipe the shower floor after each use or all the bathroom surfaces as well? Are you okay with sweeping the room or do you want to mop it regularly too? These are decisions you’ll have to take. And once you’ve shortlisted the tasks that you’re going to do, you should also figure out the frequency of these tasks. Keep your individual schedule in mind and try to set a reasonable goal. It’s well and good to say you’ll have time to do chores everyday but if your tasks are too complicated, you’ll probably end up skipping them.

Divide and conquer

When it comes to drawing up a chore chart, there’s two ways to go about it to ensure it’s as painless as possible. The first is to alternate frequency, which means that each person is assigned a particular day of the week where they’re responsible for the chores. But this can often get tricky, especially if you or your roommate fall sick or decide to go on holiday for a while. Another routine that works well is to assign different tasks to different people. This is particularly good if you don’t mind cleaning the bathroom, but your roommate can’t stand it, while you hate doing the dishes which they don’t mind tackling. You can each be responsible for the tasks that you enjoy or don’t particularly dislike so that keeping your home clean doesn’t end up being a burden. Split everything evenly though, so no one feels like they’re getting the short end of the stick. Once you’ve got all the assignments in place, you could print out a chart to make it visible and stick it in a common area so that there are no quarrels later.

Alter and adjust

A cleaning schedule is never a one-time thing, it’s a process. That’s why it’s important to revise it as time goes on. Once you’ve got used to your routine, check in with your roommate each month or so to see what’s working and what you need to modify. Perhaps you had decided to sweep your room in the mornings, but the evenings work better with your new schedule. These minor adjustments will help your chores fit in better with your overall schedule, so that you’re both more likely to complete them.

Be accountable

Your room in your PG in Mukherjee Nagar is definitely yours, but it’s also your roommate’s. If you’re going to hold them to high standards when it comes to keeping your room clean, you have to do the same for yourself as well. There’s no point playing the blame game or being resentful if you’re not holding up your end of the deal. Make sure you’re doing your chores on time and keep communicating with your roommate if something isn’t working out. Keeping the channels of communication open will make negotiating chores a lot easier.

And there you have it. Our easy-to-follow process for creating a cleaning schedule will make it so much easier for you and your roommate to live together peacefully. And once you’ve got this in place, you’ll have a clean and comfortable space to call your own. Now that’s a win!

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