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What is a Honey do List?

Tricia Christensen
By
Updated May 16, 2024
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A honey do list is a list of chores or household repairs that one spouse may make for another. Almost invariably, it is the female who makes up this list for her husband or partner. The list can either be a helpful reminder of things that need to get done, or a constant drain on a person’s free time. Though the title of the list is endearing, people aren’t always sweetly interested in having tasks assigned to them.

It is true that a honey do list can help a couple decide what time they need to spend on basic work around or for the home. If you want to avoid your husband or spouse thinking you’ve simply assigned them chores, you can make the list together. As keepers of a home, particularly one you own, there are certain standard maintenance things that need to go on the list in order to keep a house maintained properly. These can include things like cleaning fireplaces or gutters once yearly, making small easy repairs, painting periodically, replacing weather stripping as needed, and replacing filters in heaters or air conditioners.

Honey do lists can be more extensive when a spouse is very good at home repair or home maintenance, or it can be a way of reminding the spouse to call people to make repairs that are above and beyond his capacity. If you rent a home, there are still things that can go on the list like making sure batteries in smoke detectors are replaced twice a year, calling the landlord if there are any small needed repairs, and perhaps keeping the lawn mowed or the yard weeded.

For those caring for homes, you can even find examples of honey do lists online, although what things need to be on your list are likely to vary considerably. If the list is becoming very extensive, it can help to set time limits by which certain tasks are to be completed. It doesn’t help to get the pilot on the heater relit two months after you need it. You can create time sensitive to do lists and have a separate section of to do items that aren’t time sensitive.

A honey do list can become a source of contention between two spouses. Especially if one spouse does the majority of household chores and housework, that spouse may be resentful if a few things on the list get ignored repeatedly. Again it helps to create these lists together if there are feelings that one person is being too bossy, and it’s also important to remember that a honey do list can be a good way of taking care of your home so that small problems don’t become huge problems when they’re ignored.

HomeQuestionsAnswered is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Tricia Christensen
By Tricia Christensen , Writer
With a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and years of experience as a HomeQuestionsAnswered contributor, Tricia Christensen is based in Northern California and brings a wealth of knowledge and passion to her writing. Her wide-ranging interests include reading, writing, medicine, art, film, history, politics, ethics, and religion, all of which she incorporates into her informative articles. Tricia is currently working on her first novel.

Discussion Comments

By anon274311 — On Jun 11, 2012

I do have a list for my husband, but he appreciates it. There are a number of things around the house that I find it difficult to do (or I know he would rather I not attempt!). So, instead of constantly nagging him about these things on his days off, etc., I thought it would be nicer to just make a list and he can do them when he's able.

If something is on the list for months, then we can talk about why it's not getting done - if there is someone else better suited for the job, etc., but for the most part, it's my way of not having to keep giving verbal reminders, which become nagging. He even asks me to put certain things on the list for him.

My kids have lists as well and we try to make it work so they can do their jobs independently without the constant need for reminders. I make my own lists as my husband rarely makes requests for me to do specific jobs.

I think it's a good system for our family, but like a previous poster said, it all needs to stay balanced.

By anon264575 — On Apr 28, 2012

There’s a company that made some fridge magnets with “honey do” sounds, like “Honey, hang the picture,” “Honey, take out the trash” and “Honey, mow the grass.” I have some of these magnets, but I’m from Brazil and really wanted to know what these magnets really said. Now, I know. Thanks for the explanation. Unfortunately, the company doesn’t make these magnets anymore.

By anon209825 — On Aug 28, 2011

"From Honeymoon to Honey-Do" is a funny song about honey-do lists. It's on the internet.

By anon131518 — On Dec 02, 2010

@pleats:

My husband always had a list of things for me to do, most of which needed to be done on short notice. Maybe that's one reason we didn't make it to 23 years. It seems odd there's no phrase that describes the Do List a man makes for his wife, just the other way around.

By pleats — On Oct 14, 2010

The most important part of a honey do list is keeping it balanced. I know some women who go crazy on those honey do list printable templates and drive their husbands up the wall with a detailed calendar of the 57 tasks they need done and the ideal dates on which to do them.

That's just not fun for anybody, so it's no wonder that people fight about stuff like that. As far as I'm concerned, a simple, polite request works much better than a nagging, overbearing calendar (or wife).

I know I would hate it if my husband tried to tell me a gigantic list of things to do, so I try to return him the same courtesy -- it's worked pretty well for the last 23 years.

By FirstViolin — On Oct 14, 2010

My husband and I keep a little notepad in our kitchen that we jot down tasks on, so I guess you could call that a honey do list. Our notepad seems to be pretty evenly divided, so it rarely becomes a point of contention.

Sometimes we even put a funny "honey do" on the list, just to keep it interesting -- which I think is such an important point in any joint venture, whether it's a marriage or partnership or what.

I can't imagine coming home to a "honey do" list every day that was actually serious all the time -- I think that would definitely drive my husband and I into a fight.

By rallenwriter — On Oct 14, 2010

Ah the infamous honey-do list. Did you know they even make littl honey do list templates that you can get online?

I have never really gotten into the honey do list/handyman type of thing, but I guess that's because I lived alone for such a long time -- I just got to be too used to doing things on my own.

I know that my "honey" appreciates not coming home to a honey to do list every day though, so maybe that's a good thing!

Tricia Christensen

Tricia Christensen

Writer

With a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and years of experience as a HomeQuestionsAnswered contributor,...
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