Who's Your Cleaning Spirit Animal?
There's no singular way to clean, and the sooner you embrace your way, the sooner you can find the best strategies that help you live in a semi-clean house without punching somebody in the face.
That's why we need a cleaning spirit animal... or character in this case.
With the help of our friends from Parks and Rec, I've uncovered ten cleaning styles that can help you be a genius about the things that matter to you and lazy about the things that don't when it comes to cleaning.
(And, of course, you HAVE to share which one you are in the comments. It's too fun not to.)
The 10 Spirit Animals of Cleaning
1. Leslie, the Chart Maker
For Leslie, organization is essential. Cleaning bottles are labeled, tasks are assigned to specific days, and checklists and charts are in multiple places. As task boxes get filled and surfaces get shiny, Leslie gets happy. She simply can't function if her house is messy.
Favorite Cleaning Tool: color-coordinated microfiber cloths for each task
Favorite Cleaning Companion: the podcast Presidential... she especially likes the episode on Benjamin Harrison who used his position to save the fur seal
2. April, the Closet Cleaner
April thinks that people who clean are dumb, even though deep down she likes an orderly space. She's lived her life bucking every system and not caring about the things everyone else does, so actively choosing to clean feels against her personality. Enjoying the process and even the end result might attract unwanted attention from people who commend her for actually enjoying a little responsibility, so when she does do an epic clean every few weeks, she makes sure to complain hard. Gotta save face or else they'll expect a happy cleaner all the time (even though she kind of is).
Favorite Cleaning Tool: if anyone asks, "whatever is around," but secretly Mrs. Meyers Sunflower spray
Favorite Cleaning Companion: Neutral Milk Hotel... obviously
3. Ron, the Responsible Minimalist
Ron owns very little and takes pride in caring for what he does have. Responsibility is too engrained in his DNA to even consider cleaning as a pain. Of course he'd rather be fishing for his dinner or turning a table leg, but he understands the value of doing what needs to be done in order to live a happy, quiet life. Thankfully, he doesn't need to dedicate much time to the task because he's surrounded by only the essentials in a space just the right size. Excess makes for more cleaning, so small and less is better. Also bacon. Bacon is always better.
Favorite Cleaning Tool: his hand-carved scrub brush that works for every task
Favorite Cleaning Companion: open windows and silence (which works because no one knows where he lives)
4. Donna, the Outsourcer
Life's too short to spend it vacuuming. For Donna, hiring a housecleaner is not a luxury; it's a necessity. She'll gladly take a hit in other areas to take that task off her diamond-studded plate.
Favorite Cleaning Tool: her phone to call her housecleaner
Favorite Cleaning Companion: she has zero companionship with cleaning... like, ZERO
5. Tom, the Gadget Guy
Tom has a Roomba, motorized scrub brushes, and only buys something if Kanye thinks it's cool. Everything is state-of-the-art, innovative, multi-purpose, digital, and meant to free him up from doing any of the actual cleaning himself. Granted, he would probably spend less time actually cleaning than managing all of the appliances if he'd just do it, but he gets joy out of the gadget side. No harm, no foul, probably lots of debt knowing Tom, but whatever.
Favorite Cleaning Tool: anything with an LED screen
Favorite Cleaning Companion: listening to The Life of Pablo on the tiniest cordless earbuds
6. Chris, the Multi-Tasker
If his body is fine-tuned like a microchip, his habits are equally so. Chris doesn't just clean; he cleans while listening to a juice cleanse podcast and doing calf raises. The act of cleaning is not a compartmentalized task but a piece to a larger whole, a necessary and habitual practice that contributes to a balanced, purposeful, zero body fat life. Everything is a self-improvement practice for Chris, so executing a cleaning routine is emotionally fulfilling. Literally. (Had to.)
Favorite Cleaning Tool: his all-natural, properly PH balanced cleaner from a yogi in Taiwan
Favorite Cleaning Companion: literally anyone because "if I keep my mind occupied at all times, I will avoid falling into a bottomless pit of despair"
7. Jerry, the Connector
Jerry gladly cleans once a week and makes it a family task that culminates in a sunny walk to the local donut shop. He doesn't complain, doesn't resent anyone who isn't working as hard as he is, and doesn't mind always ending up with the toilet jobs. It's about an experience for him, connecting with his family, scrubbing side by side, or simply by serving them wholeheartedly. Jerry is a cleaning saint, and if you are Jerry, please let me come live with you.
Favorite Cleaning Tool: the same dust cloth his mother used when he was growing up
Favorite Cleaning Companion: the answers to this question are limitless
8. Ben, the Efficiency Expert
Ben is too much of a nerd to not come up with the best, most creative system to clean his house. He scrubs the shower while he's taking a shower, washes the cabinets when he's washing dishes, and wears dust cloth shoes of his own creation. As a nerdy efficiency expert, he also loves a good reward system, so half the fun of cleaning is giving himself a tangible pat on the back at the end, usually in the form of a calzone.
Favorite Cleaning Tool: those dusting shoes... he's so proud of those
Favorite Cleaning Companion: Planet Money and he thinks it's funny
9. Andy, the Oblivious Optimist
Andy doesn't notice things are getting dirty until he can't open his door. At that point, he makes cleaning a game and always thinks it'll take far less time than it actually does. Still, the eternal optimist, he doesn't mind because he's grateful he has a house to clean in the first place. He's doesn't mind being a slob until someone threatens to leave because he's gross. Then he'll clean. The leaving is never okay.
Favorite Cleaning Tool: trash bags and a hose
Favorite Cleaning Companion: the Rocky soundtrack and/or Champion, this three-legged dog
10. Ann, the Experimenter
Ann is tidy like any midwestern middle class woman should be, but she doesn't have a routine. She's tried them all though: day-of-the-week cleaning, epic weekend cleaning, and 15-minute timer cleaning. She's Konmari'd everything, has a million different cleaners, is part of a cleaning tip Facebook group, and asks everyone with a clean house for their best ideas. She just wants something to stick, but nothing has yet.
Favorite Cleaning Tool: whatever Oprah most recently promoted
Favorite Cleaning Companion: her cleaning playlist which shamefully includes a lot of Backstreet Boys and Justin Bieber
So which one are you?
And don't miss this week's podcast episode: The Lazy Genius Cleans the House. I share my Ten Principles for Keeping a Home (you can get a freebie of them here!) as well as my major hate for housecleaning. P.S. I'm an Ann.