Knowing which chores commonly cause fights could save you one—knowledge is power, after all.

By Lauren Phillips
Updated July 12, 2019
Credit: Getty Images

If you’ve ever gotten into an argument—large or small—over house chores, you’re definitely not alone. People fight with roommates, parents, children, partners, and maybe even pets (maybe) over the chores that don’t get done, the chores that are waiting to be done, and even the proper way to handle chores. Chore-related fights are typical, but seeing the hard numbers for exactly how common these fights are can be a bit of an eye-opener.

To that end, TaskRabbit—the service that connects people with handymen, organizers, movers, and more to handle household tasks and chores—surveyed 1,000 U.S. adults about how they feel about chores and routine home maintenance. According to the new survey, 78 percent of people have had a fight about household chores in general.

Funnily enough, almost half of survey respondents—46 percent—have gotten into an argument over the right way to clean things, proving that (for some people) just clean isn’t enough. There’s a right way and a wrong way to do everything from laundry (no fabric softener, please!) to loading the dishwasher, and for these particular folks, just finishing the chore isn’t enough to ward off a fight. (These types will be well-served learning fair fighting rules to preserve their relationships, even while they correct household members on their garbage-removal process.)

Chores that commonly cause fights include decluttering or getting rid of things (41 percent have fought over this); clearing the shower drain (30 percent); assembling furniture the right way (27 percent); and folding laundry correctly (23 percent). Other distasteful or disliked chores include laundry, vacuuming, simple replacement tasks (such as changing a lightbulb), cleaning the bathroom, yard work, and cleaning up after pets—though these aren’t necessarily the chores causing those never-ending arguments.

So what can wanna-be pacifists do to cut down on these chore-induced arguments? First, if you do believe there’s a right and a wrong way to clean, accept that everyone does everything differently and just be glad your housemate is cleaning at all. Second, work toward understanding and compassion: Is there a reason your housemate didn’t finish the chore, or did it incorrectly or sloppily? What can you do together to make sure that doesn’t happen again? And, third, maybe consider hiring someone (through as service such as TaskRabbit) to tackle those chores you truly hate. After all, if someone else—a professional, at that—is handling it, that’s one less fight for you.