How Your Personality Affects Your Home’s Tidiness

A home well managed, a home that runs on autopilot, adheres to cycles and schedules that are based on the rhythms of nature.

There are things that need to happen every day, every week, bi-weekly, or every month – for a home to look good. Some things happen first thing in the morning and other things right before you go to bed. These are the routines that keep a home tidy.

But even the best kept home can get out of whack, and when it does it means you have abandoned the cycles that keep your home running.

If your home has never been tidy on a regular basis, it means that you have never properly tapped into natural cycles and you may need my program Declutter for Good.

If you work with nature, instead of against it, everything becomes easier.

Tuning in to nature is Step 4 in the Nine Steps to Feng Shui® System.

Your Element Influences Your Tidiness, or Lack Thereof

People’s personalities affect how they relate to the rhythms of nature. Some people love rhythms and some have to adjust to them. 

Step 5 in the Nine Steps to Feng Shui® System is to harmonize the five elements. As you harmonize the five elements, you set the intent to harmonize the personalities of the different people in your household.

Just like the five elements are represented by colors, shapes, and materials in your home, the shape and constitution of your body is also influenced by the five elements, with some elements more salient than others.

The five elements also come with different personality traits. Recently I shared an article about how moms’ personalities mark their attitudes toward messes in their homes. You can read it here.

How the Five Elements Fall Off the Housework Wagon

In this article I want to focus on what causes each element’s personality type to fall “off the housework wagon” and, more importantly, how they can motivate themselves to get back on track.


Fire Personality types let housework go by the wayside when there’s something more fun to do. Since fire people can always find something more fun to do, they have trouble keeping the house tidy all the time. Another factor against fire people is that they do love chaos a little bit.

How to Get Back on Track if You’re Fire

Fire personalities care a lot about what other people think of them. They are motivated by social life and parties. The best way for fire people to motivate themselves to clean the house is to invite people over. Because they want the home to impress in every way, that gets them on fire to clean!

If inviting people over is not a possibility, do something fun while you work on cleaning the home, like listening to an audio book or podcast you love. You can also have cleaning parties with your family on Saturdays, and then go do something fun together. When everyone pitches in, things get done faster and easier.


Wood Personality types abandon housework because there’s something more important to do. They think to themselves “I’ll get back to that,” but they get so absorbed with work, or working out, that house chores accumulate until they avoid looking at them at all. It really drains wood personalities to have an untidy home.

How to Get Back on Track if You’re Wood

Wood personalities always have projects pending and they never seem to find the time to do all the things they need to do. Their problem is that many of the things they think they need to do are not really necessary at all. Wood personalities keep themselves busy at all costs and have a hard time prioritizing.

If you’re wood go through your to-do list (you have long one) and see what you could delegate and also look for things that aren’t really necessary. Admit that there are limitations of time and energy.

Wood personalities thrive on schedules, so try to include some time in the day when you focus your energy on the home.


Earth personalities want to be useful to the people around them. But if they feel like they do a lot for other family members and get no gratitude, they get unhappy. They drop the ball at home when they feel unappreciated, or when other people’s needs pull them from home. For example, they’ll go clean their sister’s home, who’s recovering from a cold, and when they come back to their own home they’re too tired to continue cleaning.

How to Get Back on Track if You’re Earth

Earth personalities can get motivated to keep a tidy home by turning some of their focus back to themselves.

If you are earth and see your home as only work with no enjoyment, then you may get despondent. Rearrange your home to create spaces where you can do things you love. You won’t like hearing this, but you also need to make sure your family members help you out in the home.


Metal Personality types like to keep their homes clean because it is the right thing to do. They really believe that “cleanliness is next to godliness.” This doesn’t mean that all metal personalities keep their homes tidy, just that they like a tidy home. When metal people keep an untidy home, they beat themselves up about it every day.

How to Get Back on Track if You’re Metal

Metal personalities worry about germs, mold and pests.

A good way to motivate yourself if you have let your home go is to focus on the benefits of cleaning. Another thing that might help is to switch to environmentally-friendly cleaning supplies, so you know that you are contributing to the good of the planet as you clean your home.


Water Personality types give up on house work when they don’t have efficient methods to manage the home. They feel housework is never-ending, so “what’s the point?” They see life as a path that leads from point A to point B, without recognizing that our lives move in cycles.

How to Get Back on Track if You’re Water

Water personalities hate to get stuck, and they also hate to have to adjust their schedules because of the needs of others.

If you’re water, put special attention to halls and staircases, and the entrance door(s). Make sure that there are no obstructions behind your doors and keep hallways and staircases completely uncluttered.

Create flexible schedules for cleaning. Strict schedules don’t work for you. For example, decide that you’ll do the laundry “sometime on Saturday” rather than “Saturday at 10 AM.” Get really good appliances. With good quality machines, you can reduce the time it takes to clean, and do it better.

No Matter What Your Personality Type, You Need Help

Whether you find it easy or hard to keep a tidy home, other family members need to pitch in and help with house work. It’s not fair that you do it all yourself.

A recent study found that the work the average home maker puts into her home is equivalent to 2.5 full time job. You need help.

For your home to run on autopilot, every family member needs to be involved.

Let the Children Help

Children should help with house work, so that they feel like they are contributing members of the family. At the very least, they should keep their own bedrooms tidy.

When my boys were little, I developed a method to help them put their bedrooms in order. I wanted this process to be very easy to follow and fast so that they didn’t have to spend too much time doing this.

For years I wondered if it would work with other kids and not just my own. This summer, I decided to find out. And guess what, it does work! Every single child and teen that used the process I teach this summer was able to tidy up their room with no help. Go see some videos and before and after photos here.

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