So you've moved into a professional house share, and it's all going swimmingly. That is until you come home one evening to find a sink full of plates, no space to wash your clothes and a bathroom that looks like it's seen better days.
Do you A, call a house meeting and scream at everyone, reminding them of their responsibilities while giving a lecture. Or do you B, organise a cleaning rota? If you answered A, good luck with that. All your housemates now think you're Monica from Friends.
If, however, you answered B, then you made the right choice. Cleaning rotas are a great way to give yourself and your flatmates' responsibility while keeping the place looking shiny and fresh. But how do you create one? We're glad you asked…
Convincing your other housemates
Depending on the types of housemates you have, convincing them to agree to a cleaning rota could be really very easy or incredibly difficult. Ultimately, however, a cleaning rota is in everyone's best interests.
Ask them some questions about what they expect from the living conditions of a home and politely remind everyone about their responsibility to chip in and ensure it's well looked after. Present the benefits and explain that everyone will have an equal amount to clean. There's no favouritism on your rota.
Benefits of a cleaning rota
Other than living in a nicely cleaned home that smells fresh and doesn't have a ton of dirty dishes in the sink, a cleaning rota can also help when it comes to moving out of the property. Regular cleaning stops dirt and even mould from building up, and the house will generally stay in better condition.
At the end of the tenancy, the final professional clean won't be as arduous, and you'll probably increase the chances of getting your deposit back. A home that's in good condition throughout a tenancy will require less attention when it comes to moving out.
Creating a rota
While it might all seem very Microsoft Excel, a cleaning rota document can help ensure your place is looking fresh with all your flatmates contributing. All you need to do is create a document detailing who is responsible for cleaning which area of the house and when.
This can be with Microsoft Excel, Google Sheets or even just a general word document. Essentially, you need something that is easy for everyone to follow and outlines the rest of the household's responsibilities.
A cleaning rota will help avoid any future disagreements about who does what and when they should be doing it. Everyone knows their role and the responsibility they have for keeping the place in good shape. You can't argue with official documents. Those are the rules.
What to include in your cleaning rota
Everyone's agreed to a cleaning rota, and all that's left to do is outline the actual document. But what do you include? Below, we've covered most of the basic household tasks, though you can always amend it to fit the specifics of your home.
- Wash up and dry the dishes or empty and fill the dishwasher
- Store clean cutlery in the cupboards
- Clean the surfaces and dining table (if there is one)
- Clean the oven and microwave
- Check food in the fridge to see what's out of date
- Clean the fridge
- Wash the dishcloths, tea towels and hand towels
- Vacuum or sweep the floor
- Mop the floor.
- Clean the sink
- Clean the toilet with bleach
- Clean the shower and bath
- Remove any empty plastics, such as shampoo bottles
- Wash the bath mats
- Hoover or sweep the floor
- Mop the floor.
Living room and leftovers
- Tidy the shelves and cabinets
- Clean the dining table if there is one
- Dust down and wipe everything
- Empty bins and take rubbish outside
- Water plants, if any
- Hoover the floor and mop them if they're wood or laminate.
The bedrooms are personal areas and, therefore, should be the responsibility of the person sleeping in them. You can leave the bedroom off the rota but should ensure your one is cleaned regularly.
What happens if people don't stick to the rota?
Creating a rota is one thing, but everyone needs to stick to it for a cleaning rota to work. Someone skipping their day can cause friction between housemates and, of course, leave the the house untidy and dirty.
Hopefully, if most people stick to the rota, no one will want to be that person who doesn't participate. But if they do, it's worth having a quiet conversation and reminding the housemate that it's not fair for everyone else to do their part while they don't get their hands dirty.
Spic n span
A cleaning rota can lead to a well-presented home everyone enjoys living in. It'll help lift the mood, make life easier when you move out and get your deposit back, and allow you to live in a sparking house where everyone does their bit to clean and look after the property.