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Students master chore cooperation, share responsibilities


Story by Kathryn Kriss

A huge part of going to college is living on your own for the first time.

Many soon learn, however, that a large part of living on your own for the first time is being fully responsible for your chores.

Regardless of where you live, dorm, apartment or house, the basics need to be taken care of.

Finding a balance between who does what around the house is an important talk in every roommate relationship, and several students have their own methods of how to deal with it.

One of the benefits of living in a house with a lot of people is that there are a lot of other around to help get chores done.

Senior Mike Kremske lives with six other guys in a house off campus.

From the very beginning, they had a clear breakdown of who was going to do what.

One person was put in charge of assigning daily chores, one person was put in charge of collecting rent and somebody else is in charge of Internet.

The whole system is held together by informal house meetings every month or two to allow the guys to check up on how everything is going and make sure all of the important items gets done.

Kremske is proud of his house and how well it’s kept.

He said he thinks dividing up bills equally helps him and his roommates be more responsible.

Each utility or service is under a different name, so each guy is personally responsible for the bill collection and upkeep of a portion of the house.

“It’s a good opportunity for guys to learn how a house should work,” said Kremske of the utility bill system. “It’s a good model because everybody feels like they have ownership.”

Elizabeth Schieber also lives off-campus in an apartment with two other girls and has designed her own system for keeping track of chores.

Last summer, she took an old window shutter and gave it a paint job.

She assigned different chores, like vacuuming and doing the dishes, to different slats on the shutter.

Writing each roommate’s name on clothes pins allowed her to match a girl to a chore for a certain week and change the chart around whenever needed.

Goodwin-Kirk Hall residents and roommates Abbey Maynard and Renee Kumon never officially assigned chores for their room. They simply naturally fell into the habit.

It just so happened that the girl who wanted the floors clean would vacuum every week, and the girl who’s desk was closest to the trash can would take it out regularly.

All four girls in the room fell into a routine, and it’s stuck since the beginning of the year.

Because the roles are unofficial, however, some chores fall through the cracks.

Every girl does her own dishes, but if one girl lets her dishes pile up too long, one of the roommates will gently remind her.

“We don’t care too much, as long as it gets done eventually,” Maynard said.

Chore cooperation is a popular system for some, as off-campus senior Ashlee Bohn and her roommates never formally assigned chores either.

They prefer to work under the, “If you think it’s dirty, you clean it,” philosophy.

Daily tasks like doing the dishes and wiping down the kitchen get done by whoever is available and has a few extra minutes.

“It’s not necessarily fair all of the time but not worth making a huge deal over,” Bohn said.

On the flipside, she said she thinks it “would be nice to have a schedule, but I don’t know how well we’d stick to it since we’re so busy.”

Bohn said usually if something doesn’t get done, it’s because one roommate is having a rough week.

All of the girls are relaxed about chores getting done, however.

They realize that being roommates and living with another person is all about cooperation and working together to get everything done.

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