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Dear Captain Awkward,

Here’s the short version of my question: How can I get my flatmates to help with the household chores?

Here’s the long version: I live with several other adults. They clean the common areas either not at all or on extremely rare occasion. I have lost every game of “kitchen chicken” (where you wait and wait and wait and see who gives in and does the washing up first) ever.

Part of this is because I was raised by a Joan Crawford-esque mother and grandmother who punished messy children quite severely. Part of this is because my flatmates just do not seem to care about the mess. At all.

Now, despite my upbringing I think I have quite reasonable expectations about cleanliness. For example, the bathroom should be thoroughly cleaned every couple of weeks and/or before/after a party. Dishes should be done within a day or two, especially since we have had a couple small pest incidents (though nothing major). Everyone’s personal bedroom is his or her own business. Yet even with these fairly relaxed standards I am still the one doing 90% of the work.

I have tried having an open and non-hostile conversation with the flatmates about chores (“Hey, we are all adults and everyone needs to do their bit”). I have tried humorous little quips and hints. I do not want to be a nag. I do not want to be a bitch. Basically, I do not want to be my mother. But I do not want to continue being the only one to scrub the loo or empty the dishwasher.

Can you help me, Captain Awkward?

Sincerely,
Tired of the Mess

Dear Tired:

I have a fairly simple and straightforward answer to this question.  In fact, we might set a CaptainAwkward.com record for brevity.

Hire a cleaning person.

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