Clutter Personality Types

We are minimalists, and although to date we have not shared with you what that means to us and how it all works – we thought we could share with you what we have observed in people who’s homes are filled with junk. 

Clutter personality types can fall neatly into any of these categories and in some cases two or more:

The Hoarder:  “This might come in hand someday!”

Hoarders need to remind themselves that resources will always be available.  Reassure yourself! Stuff will be with us always. Find magazines indexed at the library, kitchenware marked down at yard sales, and every small appliance known to man can be found (cheap!) at the thrift store.  Think of these off-site treasure troves as alternative household storage areas – costing less then storage space rental!   Go ahead and dare to dump it!

The Deferrer:  “I’ll think about that tomorrow!”

Deferrers need to be reminded that tomorrow has no more time or energy than today–and that deferring decisions drag down each new day with yesterday’s unfinished business. Since this behaviour is grounded in procrastination, apply the best remedy:  ACTION.  For Deferrers, simply making a start creates the momentum needed to finish the job.  Remember, it’s easier to keep a rolling stone in motion, than it is to pick it up and start it rolling the in the first place!

The Rebel:  “you can’t make me!”

Rebels need to remind themselves that the war is over.  They don’t live with Mom and Dad anymore–and they and/or their own family deserves an adult on the job, not a sulky child. Tell that inner Rebel, “It’s okay–I’m the parent now, and I want a house that’s nice to live in”. By switching places with the old authority figure, the Rebel can find a way out of ” You can’t make me!”

The Perfectionist:  “Next week, I’ll do everything … perfectly!”

For example, plastic food containers may be overflowing their cabinet, but the Perfectionist Clutterer won’t tidy up until he or she can purchase the perfect shelf paper, lid holder organizer, and color-coded labels.  As a result, the massed and crowded containers stay put, falling down onto the feet of anyone hapless enough to open the cupboard door.

Perfectionist Clutterers need to remind themselves of the 20-80 rule:  20% of every job takes care of 80% of the problem, while fixing the remaining 20% will gobble 80% of the job.  By giving themselves permission to do only 20% the Perfectionist Clutterers can finally get going.

The Sentimentalist:  “This is so cute!”

Problem is, there’s so much to remember that the truly endearing items get lost in a flood.  The Sentimental Clutterer needs to reduce the mass of mementos to a more portable state, changing mindset from an indiscriminate “Awwww!” to a more selective stance.

Ideas for reining in Sentimental Clutterers include scrapbooking the very best photos and papers, or photographing surplus sentimental clutter before letting it go. Sort it out, choose the best, keep the memories and dump the rest!

The Gadgeteer Lover/Collector:  “It’s so cool!”

The Gadgeteer lives mostly for the new and latest “thing”. So the old are never looked at or truly enjoyed.  It is unrealistic to tell a collector or gadget lover to stop buying the new “stuff”.  It’s not in their nature and it’s doomed to fail.  Financially you may want to look at selling the old stuff on Ebay or pass on these collectables to someone that is truly a fanatic and your electronics to such organizations as Computers for schools and such.  You will be doing someone else a favour and freeing up your own space to enjoy the newest “it toy”.

Note: The Queen/King of knickknacks. Close relative to the Gadgeteer/Collector. A visitor to the Decorator’s home may develop stimulation overload. A Tosser would simply feel faint.

Accumulator-Tosser: “Now you see it all – now you don’t”

As unlikely as it seems, some people combine the seemingly opposite Accumulator and Tosser traits. A person with this hybrid clutter type generally let’s clutter build up until it’s no longer tolerable, and then jettisons it in a frenzy of tossing. Periods of clutter buildup and clutter tossing alternate in an endless repeating pattern.

Solution? We don’t have one.  It’s really a case of knowing that it’s a pattern and committing to doing a little every week instead or not allowing the “stuff” into the home in the first place.. 

The Dropper

The act of removing clothing so weakens the Dropper that they can’t possibly move that additional 2 feet to dispose of the item(s) in question properly.

Research indicates that children are most likely to be Droppers, and are the offspring of Tosser parents. A child reared by a Tosser probably never learned to pick up their toys, because the Tosser parent was right there behind them doing it on their behalf. Droppers, as adults, frequently marry Tossers, who are sometimes responsible for enabling the Droppers’ behavior.

Pay attention to your home dynamic, if this is you – then don’t enable the Dropper.  Sit down with them and let them know that they are now responsible for their own things.  There should be consequences for not being neat, tidy and respectful of their things and for not throwing out such things as old greeting cards, broken items etc. If they can’t take care of what they have – they don’t get new “stuff”.

Do you see yourself in any of these?


1 Comment

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One response to “Clutter Personality Types

  1. Ohhh…I think I fall into every one of those categories…depending on the day or week. It’s a very difficult cycle to break especially when not everyone in the house is working toward the same goal. I’m moving toward being the Incineratorer…I’m building one in the backyard. 😉 Thanks for a great post…now I must blindfold myself before walking through the house.

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