My partner is bad about keeping up with small chores, like putting away the dishes after eating, which results in them piling up and turning into big chores, which then turns into a big problem for both of us: We both work and have busy lives so it is hard to find the time for major clean up operations that take hours, like washing a giant mountain of dirty, dried dishes.
We've spoken about this and we both agree about the necessity of keeping up with our chores. The problem happens at the compliance level, my partner seems to often forget to do them anyway. I don't think the forgetting is malicious, it's just that habits are hard to break and reform. It doesn't help that I occasionally skip out on my chores myself, but I do it much less frequently and "catch up" with missed chores much sooner. It is a lot harder for me to keep up with my part when the house is already messy as well. Mess in our house seems to have a way of begetting more and more mess. And the lingering mess creates stress for both of us.
I don't wish to be a nag and just remind me partner about every dirty dish, every loose sock, every little bit of paper, etc. Frankly, I wouldn't have the energy to exercise such vigilance: The constant badgering about tiny chores would be a chore in and of itself to me! Even if I were able to have the tenacity to nag about every single thing, this still doesn't help with chores skipped when I'm not around, or when a chore has been skipped but my partner won't be home for a while.
There some similar questions posted already, but they seem different from mine in that the chore-dodger does not want to be doing the chores in the first place. I view my situation as the next level of this: My partner does want to break the bad habit of not doing chores, but it is proving difficult in practice. So what steps can I take that would be effective in helping my partner accomplish this goal?
Note: This has been going on for more than a year, and although there's been some improvement, it's very little in the grand scheme of getting from a messy house that requires devoting every other weekend to "spring cleaning" to a not-messy house which requires a more modest amount of maintenance. So I wonder if "just hang in there and be supportive" is perhaps not a sufficient solution by itself.