Early on, we divided house cleaning chores into three simple areas: the living room, the bathroom, and the kitchen. Over time, realizing that the hall and back pantry needed cleaning too, we added some chores to even it out. Cleaning the bathroom is a task in itself; but cleaning the living room includes cleaning the hallway and taking out the recycling. This is because the living room is very easy to clean--most of the work is vacuuming the carpet and straightening furniture.
We used to keep our chores for a calendar month, and switched at the beginning of each month. Chores rotated clockwise when the flat is viewed from above. Living room went to bathroom, bathroom to kitchen, and kitchen to living room. This rotation was really accidental. During our first chore assignments, we realized the kitchen was a huge place. You could spend time cleaning the stove/oven, fridge, small and large pantry, sinks, table, and windows and still only do an okay job. Recognizing that, we decided that the kitchen chore should be followed by the living room, as a sort of treat after a month of hard workin' chores.
Later our process changed, and we removed the rotation among chores. Each of us took ownership one of the areas. The idea was that if we owned an area, we’ll be more likely to take care of it and keep it looking nice. That was how things
were working when I left.
We didn’t have any rules about it, but the general understanding was that cleaning should happen once a week. We expected it to take an hour, but if you were dedicated it might only take half an hour.
Overall, I don't know how successful our collective cleaning efforts
were. For my part, I was irregular in my commitment to it, especially after living there
for a few years; I might let months go by without doing much cleaning-wise. The amazing
thing was how clean the place was overall, something our friends always commented on. Dan
was very dedicated in keeping the kitchen clean, and Pete was pretty good about the
bathroom. Maybe those are the areas that people notice the most, anyhow.
We did have other non-regulated policies about cleaning. For example, we always
cleaned up after dinner, and never left plates in the sink overnight. I think that in the six
years or so that I lived there, we must have left dirty plates a handful of times, maybe ten times.
It was pretty amazing. I think this contributed, for me, to a sense of care in the house and
in the kitchen that made the environment very pleasant. In general, the cook for the night would
clean up the cooking dishes (pots and pans) and the others would take care of most of the plates.
It was a working system.
We weren't too hard core about our tasks. Weal realized that no one else will do the chore if we didn't, so we'd eventually get to it. If someone didn't get to it for a couple of weeks, they'd get some reminder in one of our meetings
. Of course we all wanted a clean house, but if it slipped a little, nobody lost their supper
over it. Somehow, though, we ended up with a pretty clean house, considering we were three bachelors.