In my 15 years as a professional cleaner I’ve been in a lot of homes. I’m not exaggerating when I say I’ve set foot in at least 5000 unique dwellings across Sydney.

I’ve seen every kind of mess there is and had the pleasure of leaving each home better than when I arrived. Throughout that process I’ve learned a few things, not just about cleaning but people too.

You see, a home is a reflection of those living in it. I believe that by looking closely at how someone lives you get a good understanding of their personality. The good, the bad and the ugly.

Here are the seven cleaning personality types I’ve come across and how to identify them.

1. The Procrastinator

It’s believed that 20 per cent of people are chronic procrastinators. They have difficulty getting simple tasks done even when it’s in their best interests. This can result in a very messy living space. Here are a few ways to identify a procrastinator:

  • Piles of mail on bench tops
  • Comments like “I’ve been meaning to clean this”
  • A bin not quite overflowing but full to the brim
  • Homes aren’t filthy but there is a lot of clutter
  • Often embarrassed by the mess and try to justify it.

2. The Clean Freak

These people are on the opposite end of the spectrum. A clean freak’s home is immaculate and I’m often left wondering why they even bother hiring me. Some ways to identify them are:

  • Homes professionally cleaned regularly (sometimes every week)
  • Zero clutter or dust on bench tops or on shelves
  • Dedicated rooms no one can use because they have to stay clean (yes, this is really a thing)
  • No dirty washing or dishes out in the open.

3. The Consumer

Some people place a lot of importance on “stuff” and no one more so than The Consumer. They love to buy things and hate throwing them away. There’s no gender bias here either. For example, last week I cleaned a single guy’s apartment and he had no less than 30 pairs of shoes. These are the identifiable traits:

  • Piles of shoes by the front door
  • Wardrobes full to the brink with more clothes than anyone could possibly wear
  • Empty boxes from their latest gadgets in corners of the house
  • No time to clean because they tend to work a lot.

4. The Minimalist

These people make cleaning a delight. I don’t come across too many because with less items and space there is less to clean. Some common traits of someone with a minimalist attitude are:

  • Not much furniture so it’s very easy to clean around things
  • Often have tiled or hardwood flooring
  • Zero clutter which makes for minimal dust
  • “Clean as you go” mentality so things don’t build up.

5. The Hoarder

Research conducted by the ABC showed that 400,000 Australians hoard to the point of it being a problem. I’ve witnessed first hand the devastation this problem can cause people. It’s quite easy to spot a hoarder but not all the signs are obvious.

  • Every room of the house is full of stuff
  • Refuse to throw anything away because they “might need it some day”
  • Often reluctant to use a professional cleaner (usually booked by a family member)
  • Extremely dirty to the point of being unhygienic​.

6. The Control Freak

The Control Freak has an obsessive love for their homes. Their houses are typically spotless, like the person themselves, and they usually have gardens to match. The main difference between The Clean Freak and The Control Freak is that the latter wants to be involved in the whole cleaning process.

  • Regularly watches me while I clean
  • Always concerned about something being damaged
  • Will typically clean the house before I arrive (yes, this is also really a thing)
  • Asks a lot of questions to “make sure I’m doing it right”
  • Everything matches and nothing is out of place.

7. The Apathetic

Apathetic personality types aren’t typically bothered by mess at all. I’ve found these people to be very agreeable and fun to be around. They are generally less stressed and more carefree.

  • Not usually home when the cleaning takes place
  • Very regularly associated with an end of lease clean (it’s the only time they care)
  • Lots of carpet stains because they don’t usually clean them quickly
  • Don’t negotiate on price at all.

The Apathetic type is typically not bothered by mess at all. Photo: iStock

So there you have it. These are seven types of people I’ve come across in my years of cleaning. Some people fall into multiple categories of course. We are complex creatures and very few of us fit into only one box. To conclude this article I invite you to perform a little experiment.

Look around your home, see what level of mess (or cleanliness) you’re living with and ask yourself; What type of personality am I and am I happy living this way?

For over 15 years Michael Brooke has been serving the residents of Sydney through his company Carpet Cleaning Sydney. No matter your personality type he will be happy to clean your home and is certain to leave it better than when he arrived.