Kaitlin Oki/Nevada Sagebrush

By Terrance Bynum

When you have roommates, or even if you live alone, the cleanliness of your home should not be something that is stressful or tasking.

Depending on if you live in a house or an apartment, cleaning tasks can vary — especially if you have a pet, or if you just have a roommate that acts like one.

Sometimes the easiest of cleaning chores can become stress-filled, but as long as you take each task and make it your own, you should be fine. Creating a system for things can become tasking all on its own, but keep it simple so people can follow it easily.


Now this is not the most delightful task to handle, but if you don’t want your house to smell like dead bodies, you have to take out your trash. You can make this very simple for yourself, and for your roommates. The first step you need to take is to make sure you always have enough trash bags in the house. Then make sure you always know where your trash goes once you take it out of your house — and get it there.

If you have roommates and you live in a house, figure out what day your garbage gets picked up, and take turns collecting it all to take it out the night before. This minimizes the chances of conflict arising between roommates. Creating this little system will make the trash process easier and bring you guys together as roommates as long as everyone does their part.

If you have roommates and you live in an apartment or condo, the system you are likely to have is a lot simpler because there is usually a huge dumpster available to throw trash away in 24/7. The same rules still apply, but you guys can actually take the trash out any time you want. The main goal here is to not be lazy and let your trash build up on your balcony or in the kitchen. The dumpster might not be that close to your apartment, but don’t panic — you have legs.

Take turns on the trash and be accountable for doing so. Appreciate each others’ efforts, and eventually you guys will enjoy taking out the trash.

Yeah right. Really though, do your part and everything will go smoothly.


Everyone needs to take care of his or her own dishes. That’s it, plain and simple. If you have a dishwasher, use it. If you have roommates, the last person to notice that the dishwasher is full needs to start it and empty it when its done running its cycle. If you start to notice that you are the only one doing this, don’t get mad or frustrated enough to stop doing it. Just tell your roommates that while you understand that dishes suck, everyone has to be accountable, and you want to take turns starting and emptying out the dishwasher.


If you make a big enough mess, then vacuum it up. If your place just needs a mild vacuuming, everyone should vacuum at least once a week. I say you may as well leave it at that or you’re going to drive yourself crazy.


If you have your own bathroom, clean it as you see fit. This doesn’t mean it should turn into a biohazard, though. Make it a biweekly thing, and make it a thorough cleaning so it stays that way longer.

If you share a bathroom, figure out if your roommates want to split the cleaning duties up or just take turns cleaning the bathroom.

Remember if you have roommates, everyone has to pitch in on cleaning. Now if it’s only one person that’s not following the system, then sometimes you have to put on your big kid pants and tell them to step up.

Always be kind though, because some people weren’t brought up in a household where they had to clean, so they don’t always know what they’re doing.

If you’re the only one following the system and your roommates knowingly do not, then I’m sorry to say it, but maybe you have to re-evaluate your living situation to find roommates that match your level of cleanliness.

If you live by yourself, bless your soul for not having to deal with roommates and all the allotment of household chores. That doesn’t mean you have to have a messy home. Just personalize a cleaning routine to fit your schedule because cleaning doesn’t have to be stressful if you can find a way to not mind doing it.

Terrance Bynum can be reached at tbynum@sagebrush.unr.edu.