How to make a couples' chore chart (that actually works) (2024)

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  • Jack Stone

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The nature of housework has changed since the 1940s. The days of housewives doing all the chores and looking after the two-and-a-half kids are gone. Full time homemakers are more rare and both partners are now expected to pull their weight in housekeeping.

Chore charts for couples help you and your partner to keep track of who is doing what, when, and how often. They’re also incredibly useful in ensuring that the chore distribution is fair – all too often, one partner can end up doing more than their fair share, and without a chore chart that outlines this inequity, the extra work can go unnoticed. That’s a surefire way to create resentment.

You might be thinking: “Yeah, right. If we don’t have a to-do list of chores between my partner and I, we’ll end up arguing? That’s a little far fetched.”

Full points for confidence. But the research isn’t on your side. One Pew Research poll found that sharing household chores was one of the top things associated with a successful marriage.

More than 60 per cent of respondents said that sharing household chores was a vital part of marital success. It was only outranked by having a happy sexual relationship and faithfulness to your partner.

In fact, sharing household chores outranked good income, good housing, shared tastes and interests – it even outranked having children. Yes, according to science, chores are more important to a happy marriage than kids. Sorry Billy.

So how do you stop marital from going martial? With a chore chart – but it has to be one that actually works.

How Does a Chore Chart Work?

There are dozens of different ways to do a couples’ chore chart. Some couples work perfectly with a notepad on the fridge with a big list of all the things that need to happen. Other couples go full project manager and nail down exact processes and timelines.

Here are a few common methods:

  • List all the chores that need to be done regularly and post it up somewhere visible in the home. When the task is completed, it gets ticked off.
  • Create individual chore lists that each person keeps separately. The expectation that each of you are responsible for your own tasks.
  • Develop a rotation, where each partner is assigned a different daily chore based on the day of the week. You cook tonight and they do laundry, they cook tomorrow and you do laundry, etc.

The key is that every couple works differently and has a different ideal way of doing a chore chart.

For example, each partner having their own set of daily tasks can be highly effective for couples who both like to have clear cut expectations and the opportunity to do them in their own way. But for a couple who prefers to be a little more free-flowing with who does what, that system can be too rigid.

There’s no one size fits all. Be ready to adapt or ditch a chore chart that doesn’t work.

Couples’ Chore Chart Do’s And Don’ts

While every couple works differently, there are a few consistent rules to making an effective chore chart. These are, in our opinion, the most useful:

  • DO include shared tasks that you work on together. Collaboration is key to a strong relationship and working together to keep your life and home ticking is a great, practical and powerful team-building exercise.
  • DO trade chores every so often. Chores suck but you can make them suck less by changing up your routine. If your partner always does the dishwasher while you always handle the laundry, swap for a week. This also has the great side effect of helping you both appreciate the work that the other does around the house.
  • DO make sure your chore chart is easy to manage and find. Making a couples’ chore chart and keeping it up to date can be a chore in itself. The harder your task list is to find and use, the less likely you’ll be to use it. Our advice? Use a shared digital to-do list that you can both access and update, such as the Cupla To-Do list. Physical paper gets messy, “honey-do” lists get lost – but mobile apps are always right in your pocket.
  • DON’T set unrealistic targets. Chore charts only work if the chores on them are actually achievable. Overload yourselves and you’ll end up missing the target every time and – surprise! – you’ll stop using the chart altogether. Start small, then ramp up if you need to.
  • DON’T be afraid to make changes. Chores are a tough but essential part of a couples’ life. A chart is supposed to make them easier to manage, not harder. Regularly catch up with your partner about how it’s going and work together towards making adjustments that fit both of you. Don’t let the chart become a tyrant!
  • DON’T try to divvy up chores based solely on numbers. Some chores are harder than others. Some people like certain chores more than others. Some partners have more time and energy to give to chores than others. Splitting household tasks right down the middle for your chore chart ignores the variety of other aspects to consider. It may seem “fair” to do it 50/50, but in a lot of circ*mstances, it doesn’t feel that way. Focus on what feels fair for you both – and make changes if it doesn’t (see previous don’t!)

Creating a chore chart is one thing; it’s another making sure it actually gets used. Get more tips here on What to do when your partner doesn’t help with the housework.

Cupla, the shared calendar app designed exclusively for couples, offers an integrated shared to-do list feature on your phone that helps both of you stay across what chores you each need to do in a simple, understandable interface. Add the chores you each have agreed to, and Cupla automatically syncs your devices. And if you need the chore done by a particular date, simply set a deadline on either device and it’ll carry across to the built-in couples’ calendar.

And once all the chores are done? Well, then you have quality time 😉 Cupla can help you find awesome date night spots and times that work for both of you, and keep you “on-task” with reminders and date night goals.

It’s a fact that date nights are better when you come home to a tidy house. Handle the work and the fun in a single app with Cupla. Trial it now for free on iOS or Android.

Jack Stone

When he isn't writing about tips and tricks to make your next date night truly memorable, you can find Jack reading through yet another pile of sci-fi novels - or trying to find an excuse to buy some more. Writer, marketer, cheese enthusiast - not always in that order.

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