Which tasks you farm out, which you insist on doing yourself.

By Real Simple
Updated August 07, 2008
Tim Evan Cook

Delegating the Big Jobs

My husband and I would love to be do-it-yourselfers. But our bathroom wall accidentally came down when we tried to replace the lighting, and we lost our bathroom for a month. We fought nonstop. Now I call a professional anytime we require plumbing, electrical, or construction work. It's worth every penny to get something done on time and done properly, and if the job isn't done right, then at least we can yell at someone else and not at each other.
Sheryl Stein
Arlington, Virginia

What You Delegate to Family

I will mow the lawn, weed-whack, clean gutters, snow-blow, shovel, and paint. The one thing I will never do is take out the garbage. A bag can sit at the door for two days and I'll leave it for my husband. I'll walk right over it.
Carol Sheahan
Oak Lawn, Illinois

We go in on the family gift-buying with my brother and his wife, and we put all four names on the gift tags, so we have to handle only half the birthday, graduation, and wedding presents in a year. And it's a great way to save money.
Carrie Bachman
Easton, Pennsylvania

My boyfriend and I have a deal: While I manage our finances, he does the housework. By the time I'm done paying bills and balancing bank accounts, the house is clean.
Kristy Askam
Flagstaff, Arizona

My five-year-old daughter sets the table before every dinner and clears the plates after meals. She is more mindful of the piles she creates as she moves the dishes onto and off of the table, and it gives her something to do when she can't stand sitting still anymore.
Amanda Conti
Portland, Oregon

I hate mopping. Since I live alone and I'm pretty clean, my wonderful mom will usually mop for me about once every month and a half. And if unexpected guests come over, I just dim the lights, which makes the floors look clean.
Natalie Preston
Tampa, Florida

Vacuuming is the one chore I detest, and my husband has volunteered to do it. I'd rather scrub a toilet than vacuum. And when I hear the vacuum buzzing through the house, I know it's time to stop what I'm doing and join him in cleaning up. But I wouldn't call it delegating; I'd call it being lucky.
Marianne Anderson
Tallahassee, Florida

My children wanted a second dog, so they're responsible for cleaning the yard and feeding and bathing both of them. Hey, I wanted the children, so I get to clean up the house and feed and bathe them.
Pat Troup
San Antonio, Texas

What You Delegate to Professionals

Washing my car is the only chore I let anyone else do. The local car wash does the job well―and fast. If I were to wash the car, I would take over an hour to get every speck out of every crevice, and I'd waste time day-dreaming over a movie-ticket stub found under the seat.
Diana Nichols
Loganville, Georgia

A cleaning service comes to our house biweekly to do the heavy-duty cleaning, such as scrubbing the toilets and mopping the floors. It feels great to return to a spotless house.
Rachele McGinty-Mock
Atlanta, Georgia

What You Delegate to Neighbors

I delegate the mowing of my front lawn to my next-door neighbor. Payment is a bottle of red wine left on the doorstep.
Robin Williams
Fayetteville, North Carolina

What You Do Yourself

I can't bear to unload the dishwasher, so my husband does it. But the one chore that I do myself is laundry. Folding the warm, clean, soft clothes fresh out of the dryer is restorative.
Maria Viray
San Rafael, California

My husband does most of the cooking, especially the more creative dishes, so I clean up after him. He's a passionate and enthusiastic chef but not a clean-as-you-go type. He does take out the garbage and clean the cat boxes, so I guess that makes up for the mess.
Nicki Ferguson
Sherman Oaks, California

In my house, if it's important to you, it's your job. I'm a tidy freak, so I deal with the junk mail. My husband is a safety freak, so he makes sure the smoke alarms have batteries.
Amanda Smith
Cincinnati, Ohio