How To Divide Household Chores Without Ruining Relationships

It’s not always easy to determine the right way to split household chores. But according to the Pew Research Center, 56% of couples said sharing household chores is important in their marriages. I’m talking about things like cleaning, cooking, and yard work, but also laundry and dishes. 

While so many of those chores were once the domain of women, it’s no longer enough to shove the majority of household tasks off to just one person. I know, for me, many of my own preconceptions about how chores “should” be shared are still influenced by what happened when I was a kid at home. 

Here are a few tips to get you started: 

  1. Make a list of all the chores that need to be done. 

  2. Sit down together and decide who will do each chore. 

  3. Take turns doing the chores.

It’s important to have a plan for splitting up household chores so that everyone is happy. If you have a plan and agreement on how to proceed with shared chores, you can (hopefully) avoid most of the fights. 

What Is A Fair Split?

So, what’s the best way to split household chores fairly? There’s no right or wrong formula for a fair split. It might seem like 50/50 is the logical split, but chores don’t always split nicely down the middle. In a relationship, it’s sometimes nice to share chores and tasks around the house. 

That’s probably the closest you can come to a fair split, but there are lots of reasons to divide tasks in ways that make the most sense for your partnership and family. It might not be exactly 50/50. If it works for you and your partner, who’s to say that it’s not fair? 

How To Divide Household Chores

Chores aren’t always fun, but you still need to figure out how to split up household chores. If you and your partner love to do ALL the chores, this divvying up process could be easy. In most cases, though, there are chores you hate and chores you tolerate. To make the decision process easier, try these great tools to designate chores. 

The Chore Wheel

how to divide household chores

You can use chore charts that are fun and designed for adults only. Beyond tasks like paying bills, cleaning the house, and meal prep, you can include “drink wine and hang out with my dogs.” Or you can use a decision wheel that’s a bit more comprehensive for you, your partner, and your family. This 12-inch, dry-erase wheel is the perfect way to coordinate chores and just about any other decision you may need to make.

SHOP ON ETSY – $24.99

The Chore Chart

how to divide household chores

There are hundreds of variations of chore charts, which may be why they seem so familiar. We’ve written about cleaning lists in the past, with great templates to make it super easy. As you and your partner discuss ways to best split your chores list, a good first step is to find a chore chart that makes it easy to gauge and track who’s doing what. This personalized chore chart is a great option for adults and kids alike. It’s easy to update and use even as your tasks/responsibilities change and as the kids get older.

SHOP ON ETSY – $102.54

The Chore System

I can talk about chore charts and systems until I’m blue in the face. If you’ve been in a relationship, the idea of sharing chores is nothing really new. It’s the fodder around which momentous battles have been fought, but those disagreements are often easily avoided. A quick and easy chore system allows you to designate and assign chores to avoid confusion and misunderstanding. Here’s how it works. 

Designate Chores

Your list of designated chores will vary depending on where you live, if you have a house or apartment, whether you have kids (as well as the ages of the kids), your work and recreational activities, and a whole range of other variables. As your list continues to grow, it becomes even more important that everyone in the household pitches in. Here’s a list of some standard chores you might need to divvy up. 

  • Meal Planning

  • Grocery shopping

  • Shopping for household essentials

  • Bedtime

  • Carpool

  • Check Homework

  • Clean Bathroom

  • Dishes

  • Dust

  • Laundry 

  • Make Beds

  • Mop & Vacuum Floors

  • Mowing

  • Pay Bills

  • Plan Events/Activities 

  • Prep & Make Meals

  • Take Out The Trash

  • Yard Maintenance

Your chore list will also change depending on the season. For example, you’ll have mowing the grass and yard maintenance in the summer, but you may have shoveling in the winter. Your designated chore list isn’t set in stone. It can and will change over time, as the kids get older, as your work-and-home schedules evolve, and as your recreational activities may fluctuate. 

Some chores may also be optional, and some may need to be done more or less frequently than others. So, be sure to factor that into the discussion as you assign chores. 

Assign Chores

Even as the chores on your list may change, you’ll still need to determine who will take on each task. It’s also possible that you may not be able to accomplish every task. If you and your partner simply do not have enough time to do the yard work, discuss the situation as a team. Why is it impossible? And what can you do to fill the gap? 

Perhaps it makes sense to hire a landscaping company to do the work. Then, you’ll need to discuss how to include that cost as part of your budget. The same may be true for house cleaning, laundry, or other tasks. You should also consider your chore system as part of a larger question of responsibility and sharing for your family. You’re not in this alone! 

You might consider assigning chores to your kids even if you can afford to hire a landscaping company. You may not have time to do the work yourself, and it could be a great opportunity to encourage your kids to contribute to the needs of your family. You can make the chores system more fun by offering rewards or incentives for their contributions. 

Maintain the Chore System

Whether you’re both working full-time or one of you is staying home with the kids, it’s important to come to an agreement about who is responsible for what around the house. While women’s time is treated as less valuable in the workplace, this discrepancy can feel even starker at home and after kids. Here are a few tips to help you come to an agreement. 


To maintain your chore system, you need to communicate with your partner and family. To ensure that your discussion is as productive as possible, make sure you are prepared for the conversation, whether it’s a family chat or a talk with your partner. Remember, it’s not about blame. 

Your goal is to better understand the scope of work that needs to be done as part of your family or relationship. As a mother, you shouldn’t be responsible for taking on all the work in the household, no matter what your conception of woman’s work may be. 

But no other member of the family should feel like they’re the only one who’s doing the work. It should be a coordination of efforts. You need to figure out how to cooperate together. 


Beyond just talking about it, you also need to work together. It may work for you to work side-by-side to complete your tasks, or you may designate activities by using a chore chart or chore wheel. However you designate those chores, you should keep in mind that you’re not doing this alone. 

Your partner and family should be part of the process, with an appreciation of what each member contributes to the relationship. It shouldn’t be about busy work and tasks that make no sense. As you work toward a cooperative/team model for your chore system, avoid comparing what you and your family do with what works for other couples or families. If it works for you, that’s what matters.


Do you have any surefire methods on how to divide household chores? Share with us in the comments!

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