Seven common household disagreements solved

A 2022 survey found that 72 per cent of cohabitating couples disagree on how to split home chores fairly. But what happens when you split the chores equally, but one person just doesn’t do them right? Well, here are seven of the most common household chore arguments and the final decision on each.

Most of these disagreements can be resolved through compromise and communication, but if someone has been doing a chore a certain way their whole life, it may be tough for them to change their ways.

Stacking the dishwasher

Everyone seems to have their own way of loading up the dishwasher. My take on the dishwasher is that if everything fits in and nothing is covered by anything that will block water from getting to it, it’s good to go.

But ultimately, glass should go on the top shelf where it’s less likely to smash under pressure. Plastics should also be placed on the top shelf to reduce the risk of melting or warping in the heat.

Place heavy items such as large crockery, pots and pans in the bottom rack and face everything downwards to ensure a thorough clean, and to avoid water getting trapped in bowls and cups.

Cutlery is either stacked in a low tray at the top of the machine or in a basket at the bottom. Ensure you place sharp items face down to avoid injury when unloading.

Items that should never go in the dishwasher

Some people are happy to throw everything in the dishwasher and hope it’ll come out sparkling. But there are some things that a dishwasher can damage.

Most pans, crockery, glassware and cutlery can go in the dishwasher, as long as you stack it correctly and select a low enough temperature to suit any delicate items.

However, avoid putting these items in and wash them by hand instead:

  • wooden chopping boards
  • wooden spoons
  • knives with wooden handles
  • cast iron skillets
  • sharp knives
  • fine china or painted plates
  • crystal barware.

Decorative cushions, pretty or just a pain?

People seem to be very divided on this one. Decorative cushions can look lovely and, well, decorative but they can also be infuriating. What do you do with them all when you just want to sit back and relax? And don’t get me started on decorative pillows on the bed.

Ultimately, there’s no right or wrong here so, if you and your partner have differing opinions, maybe flip a coin. Or at least try putting a basket in a corner so you have something to contain them when you want them off the bed or sofa.

What to cook for dinner

Meal planning is the best way to avoid disagreements when it comes to dinner. Knowing what you’re cooking, and when, can not only reduce food waste, but it’ll lessen the possibility of one partner saying something they later regret.

The day before you go grocery shopping, sit down to decide the week’s meals. Invest in a magnetic, dry erase board that you can stick on the fridge and write out your plan, along with the initials for who’s cooking each meal.

How often to change the bedsheets

Not only is it a pain to find space to dry your bed linen but putting the covers back onto the doona can be an incredibly frustrating task. However, skin irritation, as well as acne breakouts, are often a result of unwashed bed linen so making it a habit to wash your sheets once a week is a must.

It may sound like a tedious task at first, but consider the health benefits and the delightful feeling of slipping into a bed with clean sheets every week.

In between washes, freshen things up by folding back the duvet during the day to let some air in.

How to do the grocery shop

Do you like to wander the aisles picking up everything and anything that takes your fancy? Or do you go in armed with a list? Not having an idea of what you’re shopping for can result in lugging home mountains of food that will go bad before you can get around to eating it.

Along with your list, always buy fresh fruits and vegies in season, try not to shop when you’re hungry, tired, or rushed and stick to the outer aisles of the supermarket. The most tempting treats are often in the middle aisles and stacked next to the register, so be prepared. And try to avoid seeing them if you know you’ll be tempted to go off-list.

Agreeing on the right room temperature

One person’s warm is another’s freezing, so it’s not always easy to agree on the best room temperature. It can be even harder to reach an agreement if one of you is more concerned about saving money rather than staying toasty. Rather than playing on-again, off-again games with the heater, try to pick a temperature and stick to it. For most people, the ideal temperature for a living room is 19°C to 22°C.

If you’re the one who feels the cold, invest in some cosy clothes and warm slippers to get you through the winter.

Save arguments by putting together a chore list

Couples who make an active effort to share the household chores evenly will likely see the benefits in terms of a stronger and healthier relationship. So, if there’s one chore that you do in a certain way that your partner hates, save the arguments by putting their name down on the list for that chore.

Do you have anything to add to that list? Share your frustrations in the comments section below.

Also read: Seven cleaning tips that will change your life.

Ellie Baxter
Ellie Baxter
Writer and editor with interests in travel, health, wellbeing and food. Has knowledge of marketing psychology, social media management and is a keen observer and commentator on issues facing older Australians.


  1. Easiest way to avoid any of these situations is to do more than is expected of you. If a job needs doing get on and do it. Other matters can be discussed and agreed on based on the facts.

    Do the shopping
    Change the sheets
    Stack the dishwasher or wash by hand
    Get over the colour of cushions
    Put on a jumper if the room is too cold
    Go out for dinner or get on and cook, learn what your partner likes

    It’s called LOVE!

  2. We don’t have a dishwasher 2 items off the list. We don’t have air conditioning another one off the list. I love fresh sheets so I wash them. My husband loves to cook and I bake so another one off the list. I also shop but my husband helps with what we need as he does most of the cooking. It shouldn’t be you do, I do in a relationship, there shouldn’t be a list. If 1 person enjoys doing multiple tasks let them. If this is the extent of your relationship you are doomed!!!!

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