Question of the Day: How to Get Roommates to Share in Cleaning?

A reader named Jason Stauffer writes:

I live with four guys in a house. We had no cleaning schedule until about a month ago, but the house was never cluttered, and was more than clean enough for actual women to feel comfortable visiting. Even the bathroom was clean enough for the girls to freely use it without vomiting. However since we have implemented our cleaning schedule the house has gotten into worse and worse shape. The toilet downstairs is even looking so bad I don’t want to use it. What gives?

Okay, everybody, let’s hear what you have to say about private vs. public incentives, moral hazard, and the general cleanliness of men.

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  1. Theo B says:

    I lived with 5 guys for many years and I found a system that generally worked very well. We had a chore wheel that turned once a week to rotate the duties. On the side of the chore wheel was a sheet with all the roomates names listed and the week start date. By Sunday evening at 10pm you needed to do your chore and have a roomate check that you did the chore adequately and if so you could initial in their box. If you didn’t get your box checked off, there would be a fee associated that someone else could earn if they did the chore. For the chores that were not a weekly chore, the deep cleaning stuff, once it was deemed to be intolerable, if a handful of the roomates were home, there would be a “roll off” competition where each roomie would roll dice and the lowest number would have to do the chore.

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  2. jose says:

    I live with a brother and his sister none like to clean I’m always cleaning. All three of us found this house and pay rent. But when it comes to cleaning it up to me. These people are grown men and women. I guess it starts at home with the parents…

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  3. Jo says:

    I find it amazing how many people ignore the rental contracts they sign in which most will state that the place has to be maintained in good order or words to that effect. Bad sanitation attracts pests which are both difficult to remove as well as expensive. For this reason cleaning is a must. Nothing is free! Would you be happy if after a month of work you received nothing for your labour? Perhaps this is why there are so many bad landlords out there.

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  4. Taylor says:

    This is an awesome question. And something I think alot of people have a problem with. You should check out this website that is helping roommates everywhere.

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