What's your cleaning style? Here are the 5 types, and how to create a cleaning schedule or routine that works the best for YOU.

There isn’t really one right way to clean.

Some of you might be frustrated about that. I understand.

I’m the kind of person who likes to do things the Right Way whenever possible. I always liked school rules and guidelines, etiquette books that instructed me in the one correct way to eat a piece of chicken at a formal event, and “rules of thumb” that would help me figure out if I was on the right track in any area.

But when it comes to cleaning, there aren’t a lot of rules. Really, you just have to do it. That’s the only rule.

Because if you don’t do it (or hire someone to), things WILL get gross. If you never clean your refrigerator shelves EVER, yes, bacteria will grow, crumbs will build up, and something will eventually start to smell bad in there.

Really bad.

If you never move your bed and vacuum under it, EVER, in a few years, you’ll be sneezing and sniffling every time you walk into your bedroom, and it’ll be a mystery to you WHY that is.

If you never clean the outsides of your windows, the dust and pollen WILL build up, and your home will get less and less natural light.

So many things are obvious “must-dos,” if not daily, then often. Dishes and laundry are the big ones, with other “regular” things like dusting, vacuuming or sweeping, and disinfecting counters following close behind.

But other things? Well, if we’re not careful, they can slip through the cracks.

So it’s important to create some kind of cleaning schedule, to make sure those types of things don’t slide for too long.

How you handle the schedule though? It all depends on your personality. As long as you get it done, there’s no wrong way to do it. There are only wrong ways for YOU. Trying to conform to someone else’s idea of a perfect routine is likely to frustrate you or cause you to fail, when you could succeed if you only listened to your habits and preferences.

So let’s figure it out. What is your cleaning personality?

Which of these sounds most like you? (Or which do you aspire to, and want to actively work toward?)

Cleaning Style: All or Nothing

What does it mean?

You tend to save things up for a big “spree.” Maybe you let the dishes pile up throughout the day, and then wash them all in the evening. Or, you might be like my husband and I used to be… having a big cleaning catch-up day every Saturday. Or if you have a house cleaner come, you spend the day before or the morning of the cleaner’s visit “picking up” everything so that she can actually CLEAN.

What should you do?

If you like doing things this way, there’s nothing wrong with that! Be sure you have a checklist so that nothing gets overlooked. Your weekly checklist might get done in its entirety each Saturday, while you do all of your monthly tasks on the first Wednesday of each month. Maybe you have quarterly “cleaning parties” that last a couple of days to get all of those periodical things done, and Spring Cleaning is a huge annual event in your home.

Cleaning Style: Focus Blocks

What does it mean?

You have focused periods of time set aside for cleaning each day. You like to do little surges or sprints of cleaning here and there throughout the day, and probably love using a timer. You might feel like you need a bit of guidance sometimes though, when you realize you’re always doing the same tasks; you don’t want to accidentally leave anything out!

What should you do?

Develop a great morning routine and a quick evening routine which include your non-negotiable daily chores. A couple times throughout the day(maybe when the kids are down for a nap, or right when you come home from work), have a 15 or 30 minute block of time to really focus on getting some other tasks done.

Using a timer is great for maintaining focus and keeping yourself from getting distracted, and a checklist will keep you from doing the same few tasks over and over while forgetting others completely. Since your daily tasks are all part of your morning and evening routines, the other focus blocks can be used for whatever weekly, monthly, or less-frequent tasks you need to do.

Cleaning Style: Daily Zones

What does it mean?

You prefer to clean by location. You want your entire living room to sparkle at once. Your kitchen to be deep cleaned top to bottom all in one go. Your bedroom to be cleaned from ceiling fan to carpet before you tuck yourself in at night.

What should you do?

Make yourself a weekly schedule that includes working on a different “zone” each day. When you write your overall plan, make sure to separate tasks by room or zone. Kids’ bedrooms might be one zone, and all bathrooms may be another. You might combine the laundry room with the entryway, while leaving bigger spaces like the kitchen on their own as a stand-alone zone.

Cleaning Style: Task Batching

What does it mean?

You’d rather vacuum the entire house in one go and be finished with it than to haul it out every day to vacuum individual rooms or zones. And you think people who do a load of laundry every day are crazy… you’d rather have one big laundry party once a week!

What should you do?

Make sure to hit the whole house with a certain type of cleaning each day. You may do all floors in one day, surfaces and dusting another day, clean all glass, do all of the laundry, and scrub all sinks/toilets/tubs on other days. This is great for general maintenance, but for the less frequent tasks that don’t fall into those categories, be sure to use a written checklist so they don’t fall through the cracks, forgotten over years or decades.

Cleaning Style: Habit Cleaner

What does it mean?

You clean as you go, and barely notice that you have to do any chores at all, but it all gets done. You utilize your “waiting moments” well (so when you’re waiting for your coffee to brew, you’re tidying up from making breakfast without even thinking about it).

What should you do?

Keep up the good habits, for sure, but also start a list of small tasks you can do in those few moments here and there. Otherwise, you may keep doing the same thing over and over (how many times every day does your kitchen counter need to be wiped down?) when you could be doing other tasks that aren’t as obvious, but which are just as quick.

Also, since you’re less likely to need to schedule time to do regular cleaning, it might be unnatural to make time to do the less frequent tasks. Start making THOSE a habit too, by implementing one focus block a day (see the Focus Blocks type above), with a clear trigger time. So, maybe as soon as your kids get home from school (your trigger), you’ll spend 30 minutes on Monthly chores while they work on their homework or have a snack.

So which type are you?

What’s your cleaning personality? And do you feel ready to implement a plan that fits you and your lifestyle?

Use this free cleaning planner printable to make a cleaning routine that works for you each day, week, month, and year.

Grab my free Annual Cleaning Planner Printable now, and take the first step by writing out the tasks you don’t want to forget! Then, use your cleaning personality to embrace a routine that will work the best way for you.

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  1. Cleaning styles may change with the seasons of your life. When I was teaching and raising four children, I was more of a combination of all or nothing combined with cleaning zones for the kids on Saturdays. Now that I’m retired & tutor part time after school, I’ve had to change my cleaning style. In my mid-seventies, I no longer have the energy for all day binge and must break my time into smaller blocks. So, I’ve become a combination of a focus and zone style. It’s been a learning process and a challenge for sure!!

  2. I’m definitely all or nothing. Usually after a week or two I go on a crazy cleaning spree. I’m happy to see you were once there. There is hope for me yet! I usually go on a crazy cleaning spree before the cleaners come over. Or when the house is completely out of hand and we have company coming.

  3. I am definitely a zone cleaner. I think this is really savvy. Knowing how you like to clean does affect the planning. Really cool, thanks!

  4. Great post, I agree with you on having rules for people to follow in certain facility or situation, because we all have different perception so what is green to you might be red to me. On the other hand not having rules in certain situation is needed as well since we all do things differently. Loved this post it shows variety in what we do

  5. I’m an all or nothing type of person. I straighten up during the week and then Sunday is mega cleaning day.

  6. I’m an all-or-nothing type of person except when it comes to cleaning! I like to straighten up throughout the day and clean as it comes up.

  7. Oh dear, I think I’m the all or nothing type, which is terrible. I’d like to get to a point where I do a room a day or small batches. Sometimes I get overwhelmed with toys all over then shut down and ignore it. My hubby is awesome and will do the massive sweeping of the floors.

  8. I have to say I’m the Habit & Focus Block cleaning type. I like to get one of everything done – so that I can cross it off my list!

  9. Thanks for this helpful post Emily!
    I am a combination of 3 types – Habit Cleaner, Task Batching, Focus Blocks.
    I make the most of my ‘waiting moments’; like to deep clean my bathroom weekly as it gets so dirty with dust, etc, even though I wipe it down daily; love to use a timer for cleaning also. I find a checklist so useful both as a motivational tool and just as a way of monitoring what has been done/what needs to be done. Oh, and I NEED music. It makes cleaning so much easier and fun.
    It is so interesting to see other people’s cleaning styles.
    Happy cleaning!

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