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The Chore Wheel to End All Chore Wheels

If you’ve ever lived with roommates, you know how hard it can be to keep things clean and tidy around the house. Often some enterprising member of the crew will come up with some sort of system to get things done in an equitable way. For one reason or another, these attempts often fail. David Rios of ITP decided to add a bit of gravitas to this task by designing and laser-cutting a custom chore wheel for his housemates.


Made of wood and clear acrylic, the wheel has concentric circles delineating housemates’ names, daily chores, and weekly chores. Done as an assignment for his “Designing for Digital Fabrication” class, his original prototype had spaces for pegs to keep the schedule in place, but he found that a simple bolt through the middle gave enough friction to keep it all snug. No word yet on whether the system has worked out, but I bet it looks pretty snazzy up on the wall.

16 thoughts on “The Chore Wheel to End All Chore Wheels

  1. Dave Bell says:

    With three daughters, all near the same age, I devised a rotating chore system.
    Each month, we’d post a randomized list of chores, with one major chore to be done on a rotating schedule.
    Added bonus – teaching modular arithmetic!
    I made them divide the day of the month by 3. A 0 remainder meant the oldest had the chore that day; a 1 remainder went to the middle, and a 2 remainder went to the youngest.
    On a 31st or Feb 28th/29th, Mom or Dad would do it.

  2. Scott says:

    It looks great! But. My experience with my 5 kids says that this sort of thing will work… for a while. We’ve been through so many “chore charts” over the years, I wouldn’t dare spend more money than is required for poster board and markers.

    1. Joseph says:

      I agree. Chore charts generally turn out to be useless. Growing up in my family we had a never-ending succession of chore charts too. Usually what we found was that one particular person thought that they were carrying too large a share of the chore burden, and the chart was an attempt to shift the “extra” chores to someone else.
      The actual solution was to sit down and determine if it was true that they were doing more than their share. Then if true, reassign their “extras” to someone who had less — and if not true, make them understand that their subjective idea of the situation did not match the objective one. That was always a lot of fun… not.

      1. Joseph says:

        Woops! Forgot to include anything about the project. That won’t do. It was a nice one, but there was nothing in the write-up that says how it’s meant to be used. I’m assuming the wheels would be periodically turned, to match up different jobs with different names. Was that random, or were they turned one click to right or left, or… something else?

        1. Michael Colombo says:

          I think they were meant to switch up from week to week.

          Interesting conversation here, and it’s mostly focused on family dynamic. This project was made for a group of roommates. I wonder if it’s worked out any differently, or if that situation has its own host of challenges.

  3. michael says:

    This is a good thing and thanks for sharing!

  4. Laura Cochrane says:

    I like this from a practical standpoint, but also as an artifact worthy of saving — a slice of life. Forty years from now, someone will still have this chore wheel, and will remember back to the time when David, Molly, Jane, Sam, and Walter all lived together.

  5. tiky says:

    nice thing

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In addition to being an online editor for MAKE Magazine, Michael Colombo works in fabrication, electronics, sound design, music production and performance (Yes. All that.) In the past he has also been a childrens' educator and entertainer, and holds a Masters degree from NYU's Interactive Telecommunications Program.

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