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Old 09-25-2013, 05:08 PM   #1
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Kitchen cleanup etiquette Question

I have a question about kitchen cleaning etiquette. I want honest, unbiased opinions, so I will present a scenario with unbiased facts.

Here's the scenario:

There are three adults living in a house (Person A, Person B, and Person C).

Person A is responsible for cooking supper and half of the supper cleanup (putting leftovers away and tidying up the counters). Person A also has other household duties. Person A always cleans up their own messes.

Person B is responsible for cleaning the dishes by hand, cleaning the counters (wiping up spills, messes), and putting the clean dishes away. Person B also has other household duties. Person B always cleans up their own messes.

Person C has no kitchen duties or other household duties other than being solely responsible for any and all repairs. Person C has the least amount of chores and contributes the least amount of help to the household. Person C is a very messy person and rarely cleans up their own messes.


Person C decides they are hungry and wants sausage links for brunch. They cook the sausage themselves on the electric stovetop (the old kind with the coils). They negect to pay attention and their sausage boils over into the reflector bowls and is burnt onto the bowls. This is a common occurrence with Person C when they cook sausage. They put the reflector bowls in the sink to soak and cleanup the stovetop.

Supper time rolls around and Person A is furious that the reflector bowls have not been cleaned. Cleaning the reflector bowls will take 5-10 minutes, an SOS pad, and lots of "elbow grease." Person A is left with one working and intact stovetop burner and decides they are unable to cook a proper supper. Person A decides to have leftovers for supper as they can be reheated in the microwave. However, there are only enough leftovers for two people. Person A decides that Person C does not deserve the leftovers because they caused the mess and did not clean it up.

Person A argues that Person C should have cleaned the reflector bowls prior to the time when supper is normally prepared. Person A argues that it is not their responsibility to clean up Person C's mess. Person A also states that they often do cleanup Person C's kitchen messes because they do not like to see filth on the counter or floors.

Person B argues the same as Person A. Person B also argues that had Person A or Person C made the same mess at supper, then it would have been Person B's responsibility to clean it up. But because the mess was made prior to supper and the food was cooked to serve only one person (Person C), it was that person's responsibility to cleanup their own mess, as any adult should. Person B also states that they often do cleanup Person C's kitchen messes because they do not like to see filth on the counter or floors.

Person C argues that they have no kitchen responsibilities, therefore, Person A and/or B should have cleaned up the mess and prepared supper for them.

What are your thoughts on this entire scenario (besides the fact that it may be ridiculously petty - it's the principle of the matter)?

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Old 09-25-2013, 05:13 PM   #2
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Comment deleted. (posted twice)
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Old 09-25-2013, 05:14 PM   #3
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Sounds like Person C could use a couple of good whacks upside the head with a rolling pin.
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Old 09-25-2013, 05:26 PM   #4
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I agree with Steve. It's common courtesy anyway.
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Old 09-25-2013, 05:28 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mj1 View Post
I have a question about kitchen cleaning etiquette. I want honest, unbiased opinions, so I will present a scenario with unbiased facts.

Here's the scenario:

There are three adults living in a house (Person A, Person B, and Person C).

Person A is responsible for cooking supper and half of the supper cleanup (putting leftovers away and tidying up the counters). Person A also has other household duties. Person A always cleans up their own messes.

Person B is responsible for cleaning the dishes by hand, cleaning the counters (wiping up spills, messes), and putting the clean dishes away. Person B also has other household duties. Person B always cleans up their own messes.

Person C has no kitchen duties or other household duties other than being solely responsible for any and all repairs. Person C has the least amount of chores and contributes the least amount of help to the household. Person C is a very messy person and rarely cleans up their own messes.


Person C decides they are hungry and wants sausage links for brunch. They cook the sausage themselves on the electric stovetop (the old kind with the coils). They negect to pay attention and their sausage boils over into the reflector bowls and is burnt onto the bowls. This is a common occurrence with Person C when they cook sausage. They put the reflector bowls in the sink to soak and cleanup the stovetop.

Supper time rolls around and Person A is furious that the reflector bowls have not been cleaned. Cleaning the reflector bowls will take 5-10 minutes, an SOS pad, and lots of "elbow grease." Person A is left with one working and intact stovetop burner and decides they are unable to cook a proper supper. Person A decides to have leftovers for supper as they can be reheated in the microwave. However, there are only enough leftovers for two people. Person A decides that Person C does not deserve the leftovers because they caused the mess and did not clean it up.

Person A argues that Person C should have cleaned the reflector bowls prior to the time when supper is normally prepared. Person A argues that it is not their responsibility to clean up Person C's mess. Person A also states that they often do cleanup Person C's kitchen messes because they do not like to see filth on the counter or floors.

Person B argues the same as Person A. Person B also argues that had Person A or Person C made the same mess at supper, then it would have been Person B's responsibility to clean it up. But because the mess was made prior to supper and the food was cooked to serve only one person (Person C), it was that person's responsibility to cleanup their own mess, as any adult should. Person B also states that they often do cleanup Person C's kitchen messes because they do not like to see filth on the counter or floors.

Person C argues that they have no kitchen responsibilities, therefore, Person A and/or B should have cleaned up the mess and prepared supper for them.

What are your thoughts on this entire scenario (besides the fact that it may be ridiculously petty - it's the principle of the matter)?
No, it isn't petty. I've shared houses in the past and one messy person can ruin the ambiance of the whole set up.

Are A, B, & C family or are they friends who share or just strangers who got together through a house sharing agency? If either of the last two A & B may need to decide what they want from the arrangement and possibly give C an ultimatum -"Clean up your act or find somewhere else to live." However, if they decide to go down that route they will have to decide in advance what they are going to do if C declines to do either.

I once got so fed up of the disgusting habits and behaviour of one house mate who declined to go when told that I packed his stuff up and had it waiting for him on the doorstep when he got home from work (no, he wasn't my partner he was just a sharer.)
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Old 09-25-2013, 05:30 PM   #6
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Forget this incident, it's history.

A & B need to sit down with C and set ground rules and what happens if the rules aren't followed. If C isn't going to carry his share of responsibilities, maybe C should pay a higher share of the rent.

IF that doesn't work, consider another roommate.
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Old 09-25-2013, 05:33 PM   #7
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You indirectly answered your own question when you said Person C is a very messy person. That's just a considerate way of saying "slob."

Yep, that's what I said. Slob.

Now...Person C needs to take responsibility, grow up and clean up their own messes. Unless, of course, Persons A and B consider themselves maid service.

I suppose my answer will seem harsh to some, but Person C apparently has gone on with their life expecting others to take care of things. If one is living on their own and sharing living space with other adults, then they should behave like an adult.

That's my story and I'm sticking to it.
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Old 09-25-2013, 06:31 PM   #8
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You can't change what already happened, however, you can alter that behavior for the future.

A good clean discussion needs to happen between all parties.

Agreement needs to happen from all parties.

If agreement can't happen, a replacement needs to be found.

Can't have a bad apple spoiling the whole group !

Good luck !
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Old 09-25-2013, 06:38 PM   #9
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There is an old saying "Many hands make light work." Seems to me if you eat, you should help clean up. Everyone should pitch in. Alternating cooking might be a good idea, but I know some folks that I would just as soon cook instead of them. In any event, the current arrangement seems inadequate.
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Old 09-25-2013, 07:45 PM   #10
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Now you know why I choose to live alone!

A family unit should not be about rules it should be about being polite, courteous, and displaying mutual respect for each other. I don't think any number of rules will change the situation

It has also been my observation over the years that three is a bad number of people to share a space. Three usually turns into two against one!
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