Housecleaning for artists, creatives, ADHD-ers and ENFPs! (and ooooh! I defy Fly Lady!)

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!

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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? :)