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I’m in a relationship with someone who’s allergic to picking up after himself. I always notice when my fiancé has decided to rampage our kitchen—every cabinet is ajar and remnants of food packaging is left lifeless on the kitchen counter. Messes are a huge pet peeve of mine, but while I would love to point my finger at my masked bandit, I have to be honest: I too am a culprit. So after 10 years together, we decided to create a chore chart to prevent hampers from overflowing and arguments from overheating. 

Gone are the days when long-winded conversations about dishes took up our free time. Instead, an 8-by-10 printer-paper chore chart (efficient, I know) has allowed us to put less effort into the house and more precedence on our relationship. If you think this is too good to be true, well, think again.

Courtesy of Raven Ishak | Imagery by Madeline Montoya

We’ve decided to not designate chores to each other. Instead, we’ll mark when someone has accomplished a task. This, in turn, has made us simultaneously more of a team and more competitive. Whenever one of us begins to question the other, we simply look at the chart. The paper, after all, doesn’t lie. 

Imagine seeing your partner on their day off completing a load of laundry, washing dishes, going grocery shopping, and cooking dinner all in one day. Then imagine actually folding the laundry yourself that same night. (It’s happened to us, and I nearly weep just thinking about it.) 

Of course, things aren’t perfect. While I wish I could boast that our chart is filled every day, it’s not. Life still gets in the way, and that’s okay. But in the words of Marie Kondo, “The objective of cleaning is not just to clean, but to feel happiness living within that environment.” So instead of bickering like an old married couple about who’s done what in the house, we’ll reference our handy-dandy chore chart, take a deep breath, and complete a task for that day to not only feel happiness in our home, but also in our relationship.

See more co-living tips:  How to Blend Your Style With Your S.O.’s (And Actually Make It Work) 5 Unexpected Ways Your Home Might Be Affecting Your Relationship The #1 Home Improvement Project That Will Make Your Relationship Stronger