Puttering vs. Blitzing at Home: Which Cleaning Method Works?

Puttering vs. Blitzing at Home: Which Cleaning Method Works?

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Dabney Frake
Jul 18, 2015

My spouse always putters around the house, doing little things throughout the day, as she thinks to do them. It's like breathing for her — something she does alongside her normal routine without thinking. It’s not uncommon for her to pause a movie we're in the middle of, take a bathroom break, then start doing the dishes or opening the mail on the way back. She just can't help herself.

I confess that my wife's butterfly movements puzzle me, as if flitting about here and there is an efficient way to accomplish what needs to get done. (Plus, I am often left waiting in the living room, wondering if and when she'll come back so we can finish the movie.)

She claims that puttering is meditative, and can't focus until everything is neat and in its proper place. She also loves the instant gratification that comes from getting something done right then. As a result, I often find her vacuuming with headphones on, listening to music and happy as a little cleaning clam.

I am a confessed infrequent blitzer, who accomplishes things in project-delineated spurts when they’re needed. Otherwise, when at home, I am quite still for extended periods — either working or reading a book.

To me, it's just efficient. Why waste your mental energy on the mess, when you could be focusing on what you are doing right then? Cleaning throughout the day inevitably interrupts my train of thought, and shakes me out of whatever zone I happen to find myself. Also, true confession: I hate it and put it off as long as possible.

But when the moment comes, I don't mess around and, like a Swiffer meets Stay-Puft marshmallow man, I take no prisoners, cleaning and organizing all things in my path. For this reason, things like the January Cure work really well for me.

The downside, as you've probably figured out, is that on-going maintenance is not my strong suit. I tend to ignore things for a good long time, until I notice them, or am forced to deal with them. Things get messy.

Needless to say, these two methods of dealing are in direct opposition to each other. Obviously, there's no one right way to be, or correct way to clean. It's about balance and, especially in the relationship, it's about compromise.

So tell us, are you a blitzer or a putterer? And do you live with the opposite species?

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