For YEARS, I have studied how other people clean their homes. I read ENTIRE BOOKS on the subject—including this massive, comprehensive tome. I subscribed to Fly Lady. I read lots of blogs by Type A personalities.
And every time I felt like a failure. Here’s why: those books and blogs are not written by artistic personalities, they’re written by good managers and organizers—which is FINE! And GOOD for them! But I’ve been trying to clean house according to THEIR personality types, instead of cleaning according to my own.
Thing is, I always assumed there was something wrong with the way an ENFP cleaned house. But there’s nothing wrong with HOW I do it, it’s just that I need to tailor the cleaning to my personality type so that the chores actually get finished.
I am a great starter! I am a horrible finisher!
A few weeks ago, I started instituting a new plan: Housecleaning For Artists!
Basically, I have tailored my housecleaning to my personality type. I’m still working out the kinks and details, but I am super excited about these little discoveries that are actually working for me!
Housecleaning for Artists, Creatives, ADHD-ers and ENFPs!
- Make it fun! I can’t clean unless I’ve layered the work with inspirational experiences like learning a new language (I listen to Spanish radio while cleaning!) or engaging a relationship. So, I clean to music, fold laundry while watching TV, empty the dishwasher while talking on the phone with a friend. I compose poetry while sweeping floors, iron while listening to talk radio or an audio book. It makes me feel like I’m packing a whole lot of life into my day.
- Clean Before Creating. I am usually blind to the messes around me. I literally DON’T see them. I used to think this was a moral issue (cleanliness next to godliness, right?). However, this is not a moral issue. My personality type prioritizes relationships and experiences–not folding laundry. Alas, the laundry will not clean itself. Secondarily, I’ve discovered that it’s logistically difficult to create in the midst of clutter–NOT because I feel that clutter/mess is morally wrong but because stuff gets broken (knocking over glasses in messy kitchen), I step on things (Legos!) and it messes up my inspirational groove. So, my motivation for cleaning is not MORAL but creative: a.) it enhances my family life and b.) it enhances my productive creativity.
- Timer! As an ENFP, I will get depressed and desperate if the cleaning tasks seem never-ending. I never do one task for more than 15 minute increments. I NEED to switch tasks every 15 minutes otherwise I get bored and the quality of my cleaning suffers.
- Avoid hyperfocus (this is where I defy Fly Lady!). Fly Lady says to clean your kitchen sink first. I’m sure this works for other people, but it doesn’t work for me. As an ADHD/ENFP, I already have issues with hyperfocus. I am a multi-tasking cleaner and can accomplish a lot in a short period of time if my parameters are a little larger. So, I do 15 minutes on the whole kitchen. Sure, my sink isn’t shiny, but my entire kitchen is generally picked up. Frankly, I don’t need a shiny sink. I need a just-clean-enough sink. For my personality type, general tidying is far superior to one, tiny, perfectly spotless sink. I apply the same principle of Good Enough Cleaning to other areas of the house.
- Daily spot clean, weekly deep clean. I simply CANNOT stick to a schedule. Routinization kills me. Charts and lists are too much pressure and make me panic. Instead of working my way through the house methodically, I simply do the task most needed on any particular day. Of course, dishes and sweeping are daily chores so I do those first (15 minutes!) and then add one or two more tasks based on what needs doing that day. Once a week the entire family pitches in for a weekly deep clean.
What do you think? Do you like my new Personality-Based Cleaning method?