This Printable Chore Chart for Couples Can Help Put an End to Arguments

Need help dividing household chores so you can stop fighting over dirty dishes? Our chore audit chart will stop the feuds once and for all.

Female Washing Dishes in Kitchen Sink and Male Cooking on Stove
Photo: Alexandra Iakovleva/Getty Images

It's safe to say that most people want a clean, organized, functional, and harmonious home—but the road to getting and keeping it that way can be rocky, especially if you share your home with, uh, pretty much anyone. That's because running a home takes work (cleaning, cooking, shopping, and scheduling), and we all have different ideas about which chores need to be done, methods, and frequency.

When housework isn't shared in a way that seems right to us, feelings of unfairness and toxicity can be intense. It's not just about our relationships, either: When we take on an unfair share of labor in the home, it can mean taking a step back at work (whether we want to or not) and missing out on career-related or other opportunities. And yes, experts say that when a heavier load of housework falls on someone's shoulders, it's a fair guess that person is a woman. "Women often get the short end of the stick. Unless we're intentional about the decisions we're making, we'll operate based on default norms," says Tiffany Dufu, author of Drop the Ball: Achieving More by Doing Less.

Here's the tricky thing, though: The goal here really shouldn't be a perfect 50/50. "The notion of 50/50 implies that things are equal, but it's always shifting," says Ellen Galinsky, president of the Families and Work Institute and a senior research adviser to the Society for Human Resource Management. "We've got to give ourselves a little slack."

A little confused? The truth is that only you can decide (along with your roommate, partner, or family) on the division of labor that makes the most sense for your lifestyle, skills and interest, schedule, and priorities. It's a conversation and a process.

Chore Audit Chart: How to Split Chores Fairly
Dusting icon: Getty Images; icons from Noun Project

Thus, we've created this chore auditing worksheet. Print a copy for yourself and one for the primary person with whom you share housework. In a calm, clear-headed moment—not in the heat of a chore-related argument—sit down and fill out your copy of the worksheet while your partner does the same. Once you've both finished, talk through each item together.

Do you agree with the other's assessment of who's doing what? Is one of you miserable about, say, the dishwashing arrangement, and the other has no idea? What needs to change for each of you to feel better? How can you work as a team toward your shared goal?

And just a reminder: The goal is not to make the other person feel bad. It's, once again, a clean, functional, happy home. You can do this! And you'll be glad you did.

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