Schwarz10 Hausproject

Task Auction

For any living community, how chores are distributed/performed is a source of friction. After many years of experimentation, we have arrived at the task auction.

Each Monday, a reverse auction for chores begins. The resident who bids the least amount of points for a chore wins the chore, and must complete it before the following Monday in order to be awarded the points.

Here is how a bidding round might go like this, with Gary as the winner:


Practical Use

  1. A photograph is made at when the auction closes. The results may not be thereafter altered. An auction which cannot be closed convincingly is not an auction.
  2. If a task has no specified deadline, the default is before the next meeting. Some tasks (like shopping) have their own deadlines, while others (like maintaining the furnaces) have no conceivable deadline.
  3. If someone else does the task, the auction winner still wins the points. If there is any trading of tasks, it must be done outside the auction system. See (1).
  4. There are no police. We just ask people to report what they did. For whatever reason, people don't seem to lie about this. In fact, we encourage people to check off tasks as soon as they are completed in order to minimise the meeting time needed to close the task cycle.
  5. We have retroactively awarded points by meeting-time consensus when a task had to be performed outside the auction, for example, fixing a leak.
  6. We had to move dinners out of the auction. Few people were willing to risk a loss of points because of a late return to the house or because of some change of plans. The points awarded to dinners are now fixed. It is possible to sign up spontaneously. The dinners inadvertently serve as the reference task, which has an anti-inflationary effect.
  7. When the ratio of tasks to residents is too high, one of two things happens:


The task auction may be conducted on a panel in a public area, using paper pockets and slips of paper.

It is also possible to implement it as a website/mobile app. This version seems to be more lively.

try the demo
Get the code



There is only one criticism we've ever heard, which is that the Task Auction is a market-based solution, and capitalists like that sort of thing. Capitalists also like refrigerators, but that's not a reason to stop using refrigerators. The only people who have made this criticism were people who were reluctant to do chores under any system. What they wanted was opacity.


We have tried several systems and the task auction has the following advantages over all of them:

Two-class society

In any living group, there are people who are more industrious and those who are less so. The industrious think of the others as free-loaders and the less industrious think of the others as fascists.

Regardless of which view is right, the outcome is the same: a two class system of those who serve and those are served. The Task Auction doesn't change that. It only makes it transparent. The Wahlbörse changes that.