1. Stacking the dishwasher
Does one of you shove everything in the dishwasher, while the other loads it like a Tetris master?
The general rule is plates and pots at the bottom, cups, glasses and bowls at the top. As with many rules, this one can be broken sometimes (or at least bent). Just make sure that more delicate items, like champagne flutes, go on the top rack and nothing hangs down to get bashed by the dishwasher arm. Face everything downwards to ensure a thorough clean, and to avoid water getting trapped in bowls and cups.
2. Whose turn it is to top up the salt and rinse aid
It sounds like such a small job, but it’s fiddly and irritating, especially if you’re the one who always gets stuck doing it. Our suggestion? Make life that little bit easier by switching to an effective all-in-one dishwasher capsule, which has everything in one handy capsule.
3. What to wash by hand
Some people trust the dishwasher to clean everything from crystal glasses to Thermos flasks. Others eye the dishwasher with suspicion, preferring to wash by hand.
The truth is that 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. So, using a dishwasher tablet that’s effective at lower temperatures could make for a more harmonious home.
Which brand of dishwasher tablets do you usually purchase?
There are still a few things it’s best to leave out though. Check this guide to exactly what can, and can’t, go in the dishwasher.
4. Making the bed
Moving to the bedroom… You’d think it wouldn’t be possible to argue about the ‘correct’ way to make a bed. You’d be wrong. With today’s fitted sheets and duvet covers, at least there’s no need to fret about the perfect hospital corners. But there’s plenty of other things to bicker about. For one, how to put on a duvet cover. There are a couple of easy ways to do it.
The grab and flip
Turn the cover inside out
Reach inside and grab the top corners
Keeping hold of the cover, pick up the corresponding corners of the duvet
Pull the duvet towards you so that the cover flips over the duvet
Keeping tight hold of the corners, give the duvet a shake until the cover sits neatly over it
The roll and go
Lay the duvet cover flat on the bed, inside out
Place the duvet on top of the cover, so the corners match
Roll them together, starting from the top, so you end with a sausage shape
Pull the opening over the whole sausage and fasten it
Unroll the sausage
Can’t decide which way is best? Just agree to disagree.
When it comes to how often to change the bed, most people agree it’s a weekly or fortnightly job. Any longer and your bed is likely to smell decidedly musty. In between washes, freshen things up by folding back the duvet during the day to let some air in.
5. Scatter cushions
Ah scatter cushions... 50% of the population love them. The other 50% whinge about them. We wouldn’t be surprised if scatter cushions have been named in at least a few divorce proceedings. There’s no real right or wrong here. If one of you is an avid fan, the other will just have to live with it. Try putting a basket in a corner so you at least have somewhere to keep them overnight. (Or somewhere to aim for at least.)
6. What to cook for dinner
Planning meals ahead is the easiest way to avoid arguments. Plus, it reduces food waste and cuts the risk of having to whip up a meal with nothing but a packet of instant noodles and some limp lettuce. Search online for magnetic, wipe clean planners. The day before you go shopping, sit down to decide the week’s meals. Add them to the planner (with initials for who’s cooking each meal) and slap it on the fridge.
7. All. The. Mess.
Few people enjoy picking up after others. We’ve never yet heard anyone proclaim their joy at tidying up sweet wrappers or picking up someone else’s dirty socks off the floor. There’s no easy fix here – you need to talk about what’s bugging you and try to reach an agreement. If it’s kids who are making the mess, try a reward chart. Kids are suckers for bribery. You’ll also want to make it as easy as possible to put things away. That might mean adding more storage or decluttering.
8. Who does the most around the house
Everyone needs to pull their weight. If one person doesn’t, there’s going to be tension. Under your breath mutterings can quickly lead to full-scale rows. Try making a cleaning schedule, with names next to each action. You can either rotate tasks (e.g. one person cleans the bathroom one week, another cleans it the following week) or allocate tasks depending on preference. You’ll likely find that one person is happy to vacuum if they don’t have to mop, while another is quite content to mop if they can leave the vacuum in the cupboard. Kids may need a more visual reminder to do chores, so create a chore chart together, with small weekly rewards.
9. Doing the laundry
Some people carefully separate the laundry every week – with different piles for colours, whites and delicates. Others just grab the top items from the basket, throw them in the washing machine, randomly select a setting and hope for the best. If you share a home with friends, it might be best to do your own laundry. If you share with your family, you’ll want to agree on the best way forward. Mixing colours and whites is a recipe for ruined clothes. So too is washing wool and other delicates on a hot wash. Clothing care labels exist for a reason. So grab your partner, make a cuppa and read through this fool-proof guide to doing the laundry.
10. The right room temperature
One person’s pleasantly warm room is another’s fiery inferno, so it’s not always easy to agree on the right room temperature. And it can be even harder to reach an agreement if one of you is more concerned about saving money (or the planet) than staying toasty. Rather than waging a war over the thermostat, try to pick a temperature and stick to it. For most people, the ideal temperature for a living room is 19 to 22°. If you want to cut your energy use, you need to embrace the idea of wearing extra layers. After all, what’s winter without a cosy dressing gown and slippers?