Cleaning: A Necessary Evil for My Brain to Work

I once told a friend who has a degree in psychology that I’d always considered myself a type A personality, but my housekeeping methods does not support that theory. The natural state of my home is messy.

My friend explained that actually most type A’s houses look the same as mine. Apparently, we are not able to clean just one room. To us, the whole house has to be straightened out at the same time, which makes it such a time-consuming and overwhelming project that we decide to save it for another time. So there you have it, I am just too much of a perfectionist to clean my house. 🙂

The exception to this rule however, is my office and my desk. In the middle of a project, my desk share the appearance of a war zone. It looks completely disorganize, but I actually know where everything is. The reason it looks messy is because everything–and I mean EVERYTHING–has to be within reach. I don’t want to interrupt my thought process to go search for a resource or a note. This is my method whether I’m writing, preparing lessons, or grading.

At my teaching job, this past week was the one leading up to finals. To the students, that means a lot of studying and little sleep. For the faculty, that means TONS of grading and no sleep. Here’s what my desk looked like at the start of Friday:


I stayed super late that day and did indeed complete all the grading and the test preparation. You’d think I’d drag myself to my car so I could use my last ounces of energy to drive myself home, but this is where my type A personality comes out in full force. I can’t leave a messy desk. And I can’t start a new project until the desk is uncluttered and clean. It’s like the act of organizing and putting away my last project spring launches my focus on the next one.

So here’s what my desk looked like half an hour later, at which point I took a deep breath, closed my office door, and finally drove home to my comfy bed.


What’s your relationship with messy vs. clean and cluttered vs. organized?


About Asa Maria Bradley

2016 Double RITA finalist, romance author, news junkie, physics instructor, and diver. Loves Norse mythology, ranch dressing, and cop shows. Lives with husband and rescue dog of indeterminate breed in Pacific Northwest. Represented by Sarah E. Younger of the Nancy Yost Literary Agency. Writers about sexy modern-day Vikings. More at and @AsaMariaBradley.

Posted on March 21, 2016, in Auth: Asa Maria Bradley and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.

  1. Definitely Type A. I am capable of keeping every room in the house tidy EXCEPT my office. Part of the reason the rest of the house is tidy is because my DH is a neat freak–he does help with housework. We have both agreed he is not to look in my office and complain. 🙂 I do a massive organization and office cleaning at least twice a year. Once just before the end of the year so I can start a new year fresh. And once somewhere betweeen May and July when my mess even gets to me.

    When I was in Academia, my office at the university was like my office at home. Piles. However, I had an organized backup–my secretary–who always kept me straight. Now, if I could just afford a secretary in my author life. 🙂


  2. I’m a neat freak. My husband is cluttered. Yet he finds everything within minutes. Different styles, same results. Nice job on your desk.


  3. I’m definitely type A, and my house is a freaking disaster! But I’m like you with the desk thing. My first two years of teaching, I used to stay late every Friday to clean my desk.


  4. Wow. I’m beginning to think I might be a little Type A, myself! I can’t get things done unless they’re done right… which includes cleaning up. Just looking at that second photo calmed me. And now, looking at my desk… I think it’s time for some tidying!


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