The tidy mind: 8 traits of people who genuinely enjoy cleaning their house

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I’m sure you’ve heard of Marie Kondo, the Japanese organizing consultant who swept the world and people’s houses by storm with her 2019 Netflix show.

She’s certainly a unique individual with a peculiar mission – to help people around the world clean and organize their spaces.

While this idea fills many people with dread, it completely inspires many to improve their organizational game.

That’s because there are people out there who truly like getting their homes ship-shaped. They feel a certain satisfaction in getting things put away and spotless.

I’m not one of them, but I lived with one for many years, so I have first-hand experience with this phenomenon.

So, let’s look at eight traits of people who genuinely enjoy cleaning their house to help understand these rare individuals! 

1) They’re really bothered by clutter.

It should be obvious that people who like cleaning are bothered by messes.

However, I think most of us don’t really understand the true extent of their feelings.

For some people, seeing a heap of dirty dishes in the sink, a pile of clothes on the floor, or even a messy and disorganized closet can be painful.

Seriously!

They actually feel a sort of pain and disgust akin to what others might feel if they saw a video of someone being tortured.

They feel so strongly about mess and disorganization that they have a visceral response to it that compels them to sort it out.

I certainly don’t have that. 

I can look past a mess when I don’t have the time to clean it up and just make a note to myself to do it later. But many people simply can’t let these things go.

It bothers them way too much, and they get a great feeling of relief from clearing up the clutter and organizing the disorganized.

2) They feel accomplishment when they clean up.

I have to admit that I don’t usually feel a sense of happy accomplishment when I stare down at a recently vacuumed floor or into a freshly scrubbed toilet bowl.

To me, it’s just something I have to do to keep disease and pestilence at bay and to keep my partner from yelling at me.

But others definitely do.

They see cleaning and tidying as a challenge or even a game that they’re constantly playing, and they play to win.

I had a housemate once who was completely like this. I like to cook, and he liked to clean, so it worked out well… for a while.

But I would be in the middle of making a meal and would turn around to chop another ingredient, only to find the knife and cutting board already washed and stuck in the drying rack.

Tony wouldn’t even be there!

He was so aggressive about cleaning that you’d think he was getting paid a lot to do it.

But he never said anything; just kept on cleaning and rearranging things.

The problem was, it became too much for me!

I could hardly ever find my things because he’d put them away, and his constant cleaning made me feel like I wasn’t pulling my weight.

3) They’re logical and organized.

A British comedian I love, Jon Richardson, has to be someone who genuinely enjoys cleaning and tidying up.

He has a great bit where he explains that “There are two types of people in the world: putters and leavers. If you ask putters where their keys are, they’ll say, ‘They’re where I put them.’ But if you say to leavers, ‘Where are your keys?’ they’ll laugh and say, ‘Wherever I left them!’”

Clearly, he’s a putter and likes to have a place for everything and put everything in its place.

This kind of logical organization makes many people feel really happy and comfortable. I know because I’m a putter myself. 

It really irks me when people move my things because if it’s only me, I know where everything is all the time. Or at least I know where something should be.

When things are out of place, it’s a sign that they need to be taken care of soon.

4) They don’t procrastinate.

Remember that story about Tony, my housemate who would do the dishes mid-way through using them?

Sure, I thought it was a bit much sometimes, but I’ll tell you what – this is a guy who was always on top of things.

It didn’t matter if it was cleaning and tidying the house, his work, or his personal projects; Tony was the opposite of a procrastinator.

An anticrastinator!?

In the year we shared that house, I never saw him leave anything for tomorrow if he could do it today.

Quite the opposite. He was nearly always ahead of the game.

He’d plan out his wardrobe for the week and have everything ironed and laid out, ready to throw on in the morning. He’d also cook huge meals and freeze portions so that he would have food for weeks.

And naturally, his laundry was always done, and his room was always spotless.

5) They’re relaxed.

OK, maybe not all the time. 

Some people who really enjoy cleaning the house get very worked up when their house is a mess. It never is, of course, except in their own eyes.

But once they get down to cleaning, they get in an almost zen-like state.

Tony was like that. As long as there was cleaning and tidying to do, he’d be one of the most relaxed people you’d ever meet.

Yes, he often smoked (legal!) cannabis first (outside, of course), and he also listened to really chilled-out music on his headphones. But this guy was super peaceful and sublime almost all of the time.

It was weird because he was always moving, doing things, and staying busy. But he didn’t have that frantic energy you’d expect.

Now that I think about it, he had the same sort of energy as Marie Kondo. Maybe they should do a show together.

6) They’re house-proud.

The only times I really ever saw Tony getting worked up were when he expected company or when I brought people around the house without warning.

He would often seem really flustered and embarrassed, and he’d always make excuses for the state of the house, which was always immaculate.

“Sorry about the mess. I wasn’t expecting company,” or “I haven’t really had a chance to tidy things up” were two of his favorites.

It always amused me because if you could have found a single corner of the floor that wasn’t clean enough to eat your dinner off of, I’d have given you my car.

Of course, our guests took the whole thing very casually. New people would be clearly confused, sneaking glances left and right to try to see if they’d missed anything.

People who knew Tony just passed his comments off with a “Don’t worry about it. You should see my place.”

I didn’t think much about the state of the place any more than I’d judge the state of a friend’s home if I went over to visit. Tony was just really house-proud, and that’s why he got nervous. 

7) They’re gracious hosts.

Being house-proud definitely had something to do with it, but Tony was a really attentive host.

When people came over, he’d always see to it that they were fed and watered, and he would have done the same for their horses if people still used them.

He wanted people to feel comfortable and welcome in the house, and he’d never say anything as he straightened their shoes by the door or re-hung their coats for them.

Did it ever get to be too much?

Well, sometimes.

There were instances when I brought a date back home and wanted some private time and not my housemate asking if they wanted something to drink.

But for the most part, he was a great host who cared about his space and the people in it.

He’s managing his own restaurant now, by the way, which seems to be a perfect fit for him!

8) They feel gratitude.

One of the traits you might not expect to associate with people who clean the house is gratitude.

My father was a pretty serious cleaner, but he always seemed to be grumpy as he lugged around the vacuum cleaner or washed the dishes.

But someone like Tony, who really loves cleaning the house, always seemed to be grateful for the experience.

As he arranged things, he was probably thinking how lucky he was to own them. As he cleaned the floor, he smiled as though to say, “I’m blessed to have a floor.”

Final words

These eight traits of people who genuinely enjoy cleaning their house are things you might recognize in yourself or someone you live with.

If you do, you probably also have one heck of a tidy mind and a spotless home, so enjoy it and be glad there are people in this world who love cleaning! 

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