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Archive for Monday, May 18, 2009

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Couples & chores: Cleaning expert suggests divide-and-conquer approach for domestic bliss

May 18, 2009

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Cleaning the house is becoming a more unisex job, as men and women both are pitching in to help keep their home neat and tidy.

“There are a lot of men who are picking up the slack,” says Laurie Wilson, manager of Lawrence-based Housekeeping Unlimited. “What used to be considered ‘women’s work,’ we have a lot more men involved with keeping the household running smoothly.”

Of course, the involvement of each person in the relationship fluctuates with each couple, Wilson says.

“(The chore assignment) varies dramatically by each couple,” Wilson says. “In some couples, the man does a lot of the work, where in others they’re more traditional, with the woman doing the cleaning and the man taking care of the outside.”

Many couples who live together, such as Erin Stewart and Adam Dubinsky of Lawrence, decided when they moved in who would perform each chore.

“We’re pretty good about it. We keep the house relatively clean,” Dubinsky says. “When we first moved in, we plotted it out and discussed who would do what. Over time, it just evolved and changed.”

This works well for the couple as they each have their defined duties, Dubinsky says.

“We each have our different things throughout the week,” Stewart says. “If we’re cleaning the house because we have people coming over, he’ll do one room and I’ll do another, but for basic cleaning, we each have our own chores.”

Dubinsky does much of the outside work, like mowing the lawn and taking out the trash, along with any maintenance work like changing light bulbs, while Stewart cleans the bathroom and washes the towels, Dubinsky says.

But some duties, which were once seen as the woman’s domain, are shared between the couple.

“We split up the dishes equally and a lot of other little things,” Dubinsky says.

Stewart attributes this duty-sharing to the nature of their relationship.

“It’s just our personalities,” she says. “Usually we are fine doing our own chores and we don’t fight over it because it’s equal. It works out pretty well for us.”

Having clearly defined chores is also important to Wilson, who has been married for 36 years.

“He has the kitchen duties, cleans his bathroom, and the outdoor yardwork, the trash and all of that, and everything else is up to me,” she says. “He does pitch in, and our kids learned how to clean.”

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