For some people, a clean home and organized closet seems like second nature. But others (myself included – seriously, you do not want to see my desk) struggle with the task of cleaning and decluttering on a daily basis. But why?
In an effort to understand what makes us clean freaks or pack rats, minimalists or maximalists, we're pulling out one of our favorite personality how-to guides: the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator. Here are the cleaning, organizing, and decluttering strengths and potential pitfalls for each type, as well as suggestions for how to tackle homekeeping and embrace your unique personality, too.
Not sure what your personality type is? You can take the official MBTI assesment online.
INTJ: The Architect
While your tendency may be to tuck anything and everything you don't want to organize away in a drawer somewhere, this big-picture idea of what "clean" looks like may not coincide with others' ideas. If you're coordinating with another person to keep your home in working order, establish pre-agreed upon baselines for cleanliness, and don't forget to compromise. While an overall level of "clean enough" (empty counters due to one of those aforementioned junk drawers) may be more your style than "spotless," with a little discussion you can sort out a concrete version of the ideal situation, and work toward it.
INTP: The Logician
Your organizational challenge? Creating a space that honors your need for alone time while also keeping the area intellectually stimulating. Your personal challenge? Figuring out how to commit to one idea. It can be tempting to uncover idea after idea for organizing your home, but focus on seeing one plan through before trying out the next concept or organizational structure. And, if you find yourself wandering away from the cleaning project at hand, tune into a favorite podcast or audiobook while you work. At least your mind will be stimulated while you tackle those un-mopped floors.
ENTJ: The Commander
Cleaning your whole home in a weekend? Sure. Organizing the closet in an afternoon? No problem. Challenges don't intimidate you. But instead of overwhelming your potentially more sensitive cohorts (be they roommates or family members) with what may appear to you as a totally doable task, use your leadership skills for good and set out a plan of attack that balances efficiency and inspiration, and leaves a little room for your cohorts to tackle their assignments in their own way. Even the most ambitious home project can be accomplished when you round up your teammates and help each person find the tasks they're best suited to.
ENTP: The Debater
You're great at coming up with new ideas and systems, which makes it easy for you to figure out when your current organizational style isn't working – and develop a new one. The struggle? Putting it into place. If you happen to cohabitate with someone who's great at execution, coordinate with them to carry out your latest organizational endeavor. If not, give yourself a hard deadline on top of it, like hosting a game night, before you find yourself coming up with a new "better" way of doing things instead.
INFJ: The Advocate
You are creative and decisive, which makes putting your ideas into action a common occurrence. Leverage that into your cleaning strategy: Once you decide how your home ought to look and feel, act on that insight, whether that means a quick nightly sweep of the living room for clutter or making sure you've crossed off every item on your weekly cleaning checklist. Just remember not to get too bogged down in what the "perfect" home should look like. Too much perfectionism will keep you from enjoying your space when other people are in it – or prevent you from hosting altogether.
INFP: The Mediator
Decluttering may not be your strong suit. In fact, you're likely to begin a decluttering project, only to find yourself sitting in the corner reading a book you'd forgotten about or sifting through a stack of Instax prints, the cleaning endeavor completely forgotten. Sound familiar? To really tackle a decluttering project, this personality type may want to set more specific goals, and figure out why you want to declutter in the first place – or buckle down and give the KonMari method a go to help you process your sentimental attachment to items.
ENFJ: The Protagonist
Ah, the natural-born leader. Seeing the end game, especially with regard to people and relationships, is important to you – but on the flip side, your intuition-driven hardwiring can make it tough to hone in on the specifics of your physical environment. To stay on top of your cleaning routine, train yourself to expand your situational awareness and take a look at your physical surroundings from time to time, as well as the difference between how it should look daily and does look at the moment. Ultimately, cleaning for you may be more about function than form, and that's totally okay.
ENFP: The Campaigner
It's likely that no amount of dust or clutter will get you down – or prevent you from maintaining your status as the life (or host) of the party. On the other hand, more detailed matters (like housekeeping, for one) are likely to lose your interest pretty fast. To keep yourself on the cleaning rails, break your homekeeping projects into quick chunks: twenty minutes of cleaning daily, for example. The shorter burst of effort is a good fit for your high energy levels, and will keep you from getting bogged down in what may feel like a routine task.
ISTJ: The Logistician
Play to your strengths: Worry less about the art of a clean home, and take on the project of decluttering from a purely strategic perspective. In other words, while it's a good fit for more feeling-driven types, the KonMari method of examining each object based on whether or not it brings you joy — well, that may not be your recipe for success. Instead, consider your belongings on the basis of their effectiveness and usefulness in your day to day life. Your natural decisiveness will be a major benefit in the decluttering arena.
ISFJ: The Guardian
In the realm of homekeeping, your meticulousness is a blessing – and, occasionally, a curse, especially when paired with your natural inclination to take excellent care of the people around you. Your tendency is to work tirelessly to keep your home immaculate, especially when house guests or hosting are involved, and you may overload yourself with tasks in an effort to appease your perfectionism. To attain true household nirvana, this type should work at asking for help around the home, and delegate tasks when the opportunity arises, even if that means holding a Sunday training session to make sure everyone else's standard of cleanliness meets your own.
ESTJ: The Executive
You thrive on tradition and order, making a set-in-stone cleaning and organizational process the perfect fit for your personality type. While keeping yourself on task is no struggle, managing family members or housemates may present a wild card in your organizational workflow. To keep your expectations – and those of the people around you – in line, create a cleaning chart or chore wheel so everyone stays on the same page, and consider going over the details with any house cleaning participants.
ESFJ: The Consul
Social butterfly and, generally speaking, rule-abider that you are, you take your responsibilities seriously. And because you tend to base your decisions (and moral compass) on pre-established traditions and ideas, the key to your decluttering or organizing success may mean not relying on improvisation. Instead, consider finding a pre-existing system that fits your needs, whether that means introducing a capsule wardrobe to your closet, or tracking down a traditional filing cabinet for your paperwork, and setting it up in your own home. Make sure you pick an option with enough detail to get your new plan well-established.
ISTP: The Virtuoso
You're a natural maker, which means you're likely excellent at home projects and DIYs, but your innate skills may ultimately wreak havoc on the organization of your home, especially with your tendency to change gears. To keep a handle on your home situation, channel your dual strengths of creativity and practicality and focus on creating physical organizational structures – maybe shelving units specific to your needs, or a practical approach to organizing your kitchen drawers. Ideally, you want to create a system that will last – so you can keep your home in order when you inevitably move on to a newer, more interesting project.
ISFP: The Adventurer
As an ISFP, you're all about aesthetics. And while you may acknowledge the need for cleaning or organization in the home, the act is much less about function than it is about aesthetic appeal. That means that stack of teacups towering on the open shelves? It's probably been carefully curated to look just so. Open shelving, while a risk for many personality types, may be the perfect organizational solution for you – purely because you care enough about visual appeal to keep those dishes, books or, yes, teacups, in tip top shape and stylistically under control.
ESTP: The Entrepreneur
It's okay, we get it: Structure is not necessarily your forte. But your particular blend of boldness and practicality does lend itself to a knack for problem solving, which means that if you put your mind to it, you can solve any organizational (or cleaning) challenge that arises in your home. Plus, you thrive on uncovering actionable ideas. Why not put your mind to the task of creating the ultimate chore wheel – a rotating list of cleaning to-dos will keep your place clean and prevent you from having to stay focused on a single task or detail for too long and losing patience.
ESFP: The Entertainer
You're called Entertainers for a reason. Creative, charismatic, and incredibly friendly, your strengths lie in your energy and ability to engage with others, while your weaknesses may lead you to be easily bored and not so hot at longer-term planning. Make organizing your space fun by adding a visual element to the challenge: Organize your closet or bookshelves by color, or use baskets and bins that are pretty and functional to store items. Another way of encouraging cleaning or decluttering time is to get your family or housemates else involved, too. That way, you can spend time together (win) while also accomplishing a task that might otherwise feel beyond boring (win). Crank up some music, dig out the vacuum, and help yourself find joy in something you would have previously considered tedious.
Do you already have a personalized homekeeping strategy in place? Let us know below!