(Excuse me, what is Myers-Briggs? Myers-Briggs is an assessment that helps identify a person’s preferred way of doing things in four key areas. If you’re not familiar, you can scope it out here or take an unofficial assessment here.)
Your home may look like chaos incarnate, but you know that your deodorant stick is right where it always is—on the floor next to your stack of Sudoku books in the back left corner of your bedroom—and that’s all that matters. When the mess at home finally becomes too much, you order everyone out of the house and cancel your plans for the day, because that’s how long it will take you to clean everything the right way. (Your way, obviously.) Your office, on the other hand, looks like a picture from a Staples catalog.
Everyone can go do what they want to do and leave you to clean. Like the Barefoot Contessa in a Guatemalan vanilla forest, this is your happy place. Who needs a therapist when you’ve got shoe bins to organize?
A thorough cleaning is important, but like calling a difficult family member, it’s best left as a once a week, or once a month (What?? You never claimed to be a saint!), activity when you’re feeling motivated. If you find yourself cleaning throughout the week, you’re probably avoiding other work you’re supposed to be doing, because you “won’t be able to focus until it’s clean”. (So weird, you had no trouble focusing on Game of Thrones…)
Your house appears to be in a consistent state of cleanliness–counters wiped, sink clear–but inside every drawer and closet is an intricate jumble of objects worthy of a 2-page spread inside the next I Spy book. No matter, you just gently whisper “Scourgify” as you shut the drawer and voila! Your home is magically spotless again!
Why would you clean when there are so many more meaningful things to do with your time? Besides, you would first need to figure out all the possible approaches to tackle that mess and the pros and cons of each. Oh, and come up with a working theory of how and why our society began placing significance on cleanly environments. You think about cleaning more than you actually clean–until a single speck of dust lands on your current project, of course, then you pull a muscle lunging for the nearest microfiber cloth.
Perhaps it’s time to start cleaning. After assessing the situation thoroughly and devising a plan, you remember that you could really use a separate laundry bin for your darks, and you’ve been meaning to get some new dish rags. Best pop out to the store before you start. (“If anyone has a different plan though, I’d be more than happy to do that instead!” you announce in your most conflict-avoidant voice.)
The house is finally messy enough for you to notice, so you take care of it. Quickly, efficiently, no frills. As you head back to your computer you shake your head at your INFP roommate, who is still brainstorming possible approaches.
The trash is full again, already? As you tie up the trash to take it down the hallway, you think, “There has to be a better system”. You consider the volume and sources of trash generated daily, how much space it would save to compress empty containers, the pros, and cons of recycling, whether or not a smaller trash can would psychologically induce less trash-generating. You have now been standing for ten minutes blankly staring at the full trash bag, totally unaware of the steady stream of trash juice crossing the linoleum.
Why is your INTP roommate staring at the leaking trash?? In the ten minutes, he’s been zoning out, you’ve flown around the apartment, jump shotting laundry into the hamper and dropping dishes in the sink. Will the dryer be able to handle that many towels without overheating? Only one way to find out!
People are coming over in an hour, but the apartment is a mess. Selecting the perfect Spotify playlist for cleaning is obviously the most pressing task, so you take twenty minutes to pick one out and, of course, check your social media. You then spend 60% of the remaining time dancing with your vacuum, 30% trying to get your roommate to dance too, and 10% on actually vacuuming.
Cleaning is for common areas when people are coming over. Your bedroom looks like a poor man’s version of the Cave of Wonders treasure room in Aladdin, but you prefer to call it “nesting”. Cleaning is best done with a podcast in your headphones or talking with a friend, so you can thoroughly dissociate from the fact that you are actually cleaning.
You’ve never cleaned your home the same way twice. You jump from task to task in a pattern that would take a manic Carrie Mathison, fifty yards of red yarn, and a bulk bin of thumb tacks to decipher. But, like the menagerie on top of your dresser, it makes perfect sense to you.
Most likely roommate to make a chore wheel. You strategize, delegate, and supervise, but no one resents it because you signed yourself up to scrub the unidentified sludge from the bathtub and tackle the rat’s nest in the garage. You are the Alexander the Great of spring cleaning.
You diligently do your part, while also putting out snacks and making drinks for the rest of the cleaning crew. You can’t wait for your roommate to notice that you’ve folded their socks for them already, in that weird way they like. When you’re done with your tasks you jump in to help your ESTP roommate, who broke the dryer with too many towels.
You bounce around your mental checklist. When the last item is crossed off, you stand near the table (not on it, of course, you just wiped it clean!), and give a speech: “We don’t clean because it’s cute. We clean because we are members of the apartment, and the apartment is filled with people. Vacuuming, scrubbing, dusting, getting those tiny coffee grounds out from behind the grinder, these are noble pursuits and necessary to sustain life. But you, me, and the 25 people coming over tonight, these are what we stay alive for. No matter what anybody tells you, a quick run of the Swiffer can change this apartment.”
Messiness and religious tidiness are both inefficient. You are a firm advocate of organized chaos. As long as everything is right where you know it is. Arguments with your significant other may start with: “I can’t believe you threw out those papers scattered on the laundry machine. Those were important!”