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Cleaning Duties in Shared Homes and Relationships

In the intricate dance of shared living, nothing tests the bonds of love and understanding quite like the battle of “cleaning duties.” Picture this: you’re living with your significant other, and while you thrive in a clutter-free, sparkling-clean environment, they seem to have a unique talent for making chaos look like home décor. Sound familiar? You’re not alone.

The clash between messy and neat partners is a tale as old as time, and it can ruffle even the most harmonious relationships. But fret not; in this article, we’ll explore how to navigate this common issue and maintain relationship harmony while sharing household responsibilities.

Compromising on Standards: Public vs Private Space Expectations

Little Miss Organised

One of the first challenges in managing cleaning duties in shared homes is dealing with tidiness preferences, especially when it comes to public versus private spaces. Your idea of a spotless living room may differ significantly from your partner’s, and the bathroom might as well be a battlefield. So, how do you compromise?

Tip 1: Communicate openly about your expectations. Discuss what level of cleanliness is crucial to each of you in various areas of your home. This can help you find common ground and avoid unnecessary conflicts.

Dividing Chores: Schedule Cleaning Duties Based on Strengths

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To maintain household and relationship harmony, consider adopting a divide-and-conquer approach. Recognize each other’s strengths and assign cleaning duties accordingly. Maybe you excel at cooking, while your partner shines at vacuuming. Play to your strengths.

Tip 2: Create a chore division schedule that plays to each person’s strengths. Rotate undesirable tasks, so no one feels burdened by the same household responsibilities repeatedly. Variety can make chores feel less monotonous.

Fostering Understanding in Cleaning Duties

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In the heat of the moment, it’s easy to blame your partner for their cleaning good habits, or lack of. But remember, no one responds well to criticism. Instead, approach the issue with empathy and understanding.

Tip 3: When discussing cleaning duties, communicate your needs calmly and respectfully. Use “I” statements to express your feelings and concerns, and actively listen to your partner’s perspective. Remember, you can’t change your partner; you can only influence them through understanding.

Leading Cleaning Duties by Example

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They say actions speak louder than words, and this holds true when it comes to maintaining a clean and harmonious home. Lead by example and show your commitment to good habits.

Tip 4: Model the good habits you want to see. Keep your own spaces tidy and organised, and encourage your partner to follow suit by praising their positive efforts. Positivity can be a powerful motivator for change.

For more insightful tips on managing cleaning duties in shared homes, tune in to our Radio Podcast featuring Bonnie Black. Bonnie shares her wisdom on navigating these challenges with grace and understanding. Don’t miss out on expert advice that can transform your home life!


Faith, Family & Culture. It’s Luke and Susie with you as we continue chatting with Bonnie Black. She is a little Miss Organised talking about managing a home and living together when one person is a clean person and the other person is, as our person who wrote through the show said, Well, not.

Examining the Cleaner Partner’s Compromise

Bonnie, you were talking before about the fact that if you’re the clean person and your partner just keeps leaving dirty clothes on the floor and you’re getting angry and you’re fighting over it, then maybe just accept it and take the washing. I’m sure a lot of people were yelling at the radio when you were saying that in some ways, because this is the issue with compromise.

And cleanliness comes around to a big point of tension, because why should the person who thinks that it’s reasonable that they put the dirty washing in the basket, be the one to sacrifice. Why can’t the person who just actually pick them up and put them in the basket themselves? And that term of compromise, it so often is the person who’s the clean one who does most of the sacrificing in that space and then becomes a bit of a doormat in a sense. That’s the risk of this, Bonnie?

Bonnie Black:

Yeah, look, absolutely. But this example I’m giving you of the dirty washing, this is common in our house, and it’s been something we’ve been dealing with over the last few months. And there’s a test that you put out there as a cleaner person. Oh, just see how many days it takes until this person realises that the washing is piling up. And it was a good 10, 14 days before my husband actually said to me, Why is all the dirty washing still in our en suite? Why haven’t you taken it down? 



Fostering Intrinsic Motivation for Change

Bonnie Black:

And it created a bit of a discussion, a very lively discussion, I might add, about roles in the house. And it can really open that can of worms of who does more than the other. And it’s actually not a win-win situation for anyone. So, there are times in the marriage where you, as a cleaner party, need to say, You know what? I’ve had enough of fighting about this particular issue. I’m just going to change my perception of it because I can’t change that person. Often when we change our perception of the situation and of their behaviour down the track, that can actually be a really great role model and example for that person to then want to change their behaviour because they need to want to change it intrinsically rather than being forced to change because it will never stick. 


I think sometimes you can get in such a bad place in your relationship that that’s not how you think. I really love that you brought that ownership into it, Bonnie, that we need to own how we feel and what we do. And if we can make it easier for somebody else, great. But if they don’t respond to that, we actually aren’t in a position of power to change them.

Messy Partners – Lead Through Your Own Actions


But if you’re the messy person and you’ve just heard what Bonnie said, be the person who says, Well, I can’t change them, so I’ll just start picking up after myself. Don’t leave the sacrifice to be on the higher standards rather than the lower standards. I’m the lower standards guy, and.

I’m arguing this case. Well, it’s a can of worms we weren’t expecting to open, but we really appreciate it. And thank you so much, Bonnie, for sharing your thoughts with us. 

Our guest is Bonnie Black. She is a little Miss Organised.

Key Takeaways

In the journey of shared living, conflicts over cleaning duties are almost inevitable. However, it’s important to remember that with compromise, empathy, effective communication, and shared household responsibilities, you can overcome these conflicts and maintain relationship harmony. 

Ready to tackle your cleaning duties together? Start implementing these tips today for a cleaner home and a happier relationship, or call in the cleaning services if you need professional help.




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