Renting the dream: a broke Brit in Van (part 5)


Part five of a six-part series about how one millennial is creatively dealing with Van’s affordability problem (read part one, part twopart three and part four).

As you can imagine, living in a bloody great Shaughnessy mansion with double digit roommates makes for a lot of traffic. Our home could easily always look like we had just thrown a most proper house party (or frat house). To combat impending disaster, preemptive measures had to be taken when the 10 of us moved in together. How do you ensure mansion harmony? Enter the chore wheel.

Months ago, the mansionites came together and devised a scheme to deal with cleaning duties. We decided to keep things fun by making a chore wheel which would be spun one notch every week. Each week, there would be a specified chore, and it would be the responsibility of each roommate to keep that area up to scratch . We just needed for everybody to do their part and we’d be laughing.

I get to clean the toilet? 

But what chores to create? And are they all equal? The kitchen, always an area of heavy use, needed to have its own chore card.  Cleaning and organizing the counter tops, wiping the inside of the microwave, cleaning the oven top and emptying the dishwasher is a lot of work. The living room would need vacuuming and general tidying. Then there’s the trash and recycling. Cans need crushing. Plants need watering.

Another major chore would be shopping. With our aforementioned house fund, we’d need to purchase a regular supply of communal items: canola oil for cooking, olive oil for dipping (we live a life of affluence in the mansion and quality olive oil is needed, you know), cleaning products, toilet paper, rice, pepper (you name it). We have plenty of money to cover all these expenses and can even buy communal baking ingredients. Mansion muffins aplenty!

The Chore Overlord

With the chores proposed, our resident graphic designer, Zoe, put her skills to use by making us simple but beautiful cards. But we still needed a “Chore Overlord” to spin the wheel each week and remind everyone of their new chore and to ensure nothing was left undone. This job went to yours truly.

What about parties?

Finally, we needed a plan to ensure the house got cleaned fairly whenever we embarked on a night of well-mannered frivolity with the mansion family. Our plan: power cleaning.

Imagine a 1980s power ballad being played obnoxiously loud. Then, imagine everyone in the house cleaning the kitchen and dining area together to the sounds of electric guitars whaling. Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you: power cleaning.

It’s amazing what loud 80s music and a number of people cleaning a large space can do. Fairly regularly, the mansion hosts a family potluck, after which the dining table is coated in plates, food, glasses and more food. But the moment dinner is eaten power cleaning has the space back to perfect in less than five minutes. The same could be said for the kitchen. We’d have the room cleaned and the dishwasher running within a few minutes.

All in all this process has been going swimmingly and the house is (usually) clean. As the Chore Overlord, I continue to rule with an iron fist.

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