About a week ago I helped my husband declutter his clothes. For those who know me, they know that is a big deal because he is not a fan of decluttering. The process got me to thinking about his decluttering personality type.

Everyone has unique experiences and personalities that are reflected in how they declutter as well. Today, I’ll talk about some of the different decluttering personality types I’ve worked with.

Read the descriptions to see which resonates with you the most. You may find it is more than one.

How your decluttering personality type helps

What is the first feeling you have when you hear the word ‘decluttering’?

Your initial reaction will help you identify your primary decluttering personality type.

Your type helps you to know what to look out for that can derail you. Once you understand your decluttering challenges, you can work on addressing and overcoming them.

Find your decluttering personality type

decluttering personality type

1. Olivia/Oliver:

When you think of decluttering, you are overwhelmed. Getting started feels impossible because there is so much stuff and you don’t even know where to begin.

Even thinking about decluttering can feel overwhelming at times as you can’t imagine the piles being gone. You often feel paralyzed and unable to take action because it feels insurmountable.

You tend to avoid dealing with your stuff, but it still weighs heavily on you knowing that you need to deal with it at some point.

How to move past your decluttering challenges:

If this is your decluttering personality type, the key to your success is starting with small steps. Take the focus off the mountain in front of you and instead focus on clearing out one drawer, cabinet, shelf, or flat surface.

Set a timer and try a 10-minute task to get you started. Action helps to lessen the overwhelm and focusing on small sections will help get you there.

2. Samantha/Sam:

When you think of decluttering, you feel sentimental. You think about who gave you each thing and where you were at in your life when you bought it.

Decluttering is an emotional process for you which can make it feel a bit intimidating. It can be a challenge to separate people and memories from stuff.

Letting to is hard because of your sentimental attachment to your items. You feel things deeply and many of your belongings are treasured because of what they represent to you.

How to move past your decluttering challenges:

Start by decluttering easy items from your home that don’t require a lot of thought and that you’re not emotionally attached to.

Declutter sentimental items last and focus on what you want to keep instead of what you’re letting go of. Work on separating people from things and know that the memories are not gone because you let go of some things. Take pictures of items before donating if you find that helpful.

decluttering personality type

3. Isla/Ivan:

When you think of decluttering you worry about making all of those decisions. You tend to be indecisive by nature. Making decisions about many things in life is a challenge for you.

When it comes to decluttering, the idea of having to make that many decisions seems exhausting. You tend to second guess yourself and are unsure if tomorrow you will regret the decisions you made today.

You may avoid getting started because it feels too draining and tiresome.

How to move past your decluttering challenges:

Similarly to the previous decluttering personality type, you’ll want to start with items that are easy to declutter. These items don’t take a lot of thought and are ones without an emotional attachment.

Decision making gets easier as you practice it. As you force yourself to make decisions, you gain strength and the process becomes less difficult with time.

4. Fiona/Frank:

When you think of decluttering, you think of money. You are frugal to the core. Decluttering is challenging for you because you feel like you are giving money away.

You may overvalue your possessions and are surprised that your collector’s items aren’t actually worth what you thought. Letting go of items you paid good money for feels painful and wasteful.

You may either prefer not to declutter as you want to hang onto all of those valuable items or try to declutter and find yourself stuck with trying to sell them all.

How to move past your decluttering challenges:

If you haven’t started the decluttering process because you are hyper-focused on the money you spent, it first takes an acceptance that the money is gone.

Keeping expensive items that you aren’t using is not going to put any money back in your pocket. Typically, it just makes you feel guilty knowing you aren’t using something you spend a lot on.

Allow yourself to let go of those feelings and stop holding onto items no longer serving you. If you want to try and sell your unwanted items, try it but make sure you’ve considered the extra effort it takes. Also, give yourself a deadline so that decluttered items don’t sit around for too long.

decluttering personality type

5. Gretta/Greg:

When you think of decluttering, you are overwhelmed with feelings of guilt. You’re concerned that letting go of items gifted to you will hurt someone’s feelings.

It’s possible you have friends or family members who will notice the items are gone and that’s what you’re afraid of. You don’t want to be asked about the gifted item and no longer have it.

How to move past your decluttering challenges:

First, take ownership of your own home and space. Realize that the gifted item was intended to benefit your life, not burden it.

If the item is no longer serving you, gift it to someone who would enjoy it. With family heirloom items, check to see if other family members are interested.

Keep in mind you are under no obligation to keep, store, or display gifted items. Release yourself from the expectations of others and don’t make decisions driven by guilt or fear.

6. Diane/Dave

When you think of decluttering, you get nervous as you consider all the potential scenarios for when you may want those items. You are a dreamer and imagine when you will live in a different house or wear a different size.

You hang onto items from your past that you think you may use again (even if you haven’t used them in quite a long time). It’s also possible you acquire things hoping to use them in the future when some circumstance changes.

You get stuck in the decluttering process because you are worried you will regret letting go of something you may want later.

How to move past your decluttering challenges:

Part of working through the challenges for this decluttering personality type are focusing on your life now and realizing the excess impacts your life.

Letting go of someday and what-if clutter is a process of embracing the here and now and getting really honest with yourself. It’s accepting your circumstances and not holding onto to excessive amounts of stuff for low change probability scenarios.

7. Carla/Carl

When you think of decluttering, you worry about all the changes it will cause. You don’t like change and want to keep things just the way they are.

You might really love your stuff, so the idea of parting with any of it isn’t motivating for you. Anxiety and stress may be part of your experience with decluttering as well as change does not come easy.

You’d be happy to keep things just as they are and are comfortable with large amounts of stuff.

How to move past your decluttering challenges:

It’s possible that you don’t have a need to declutter if you are truly happy with your home and your things. However, if you’ve found clutter to be negatively impacting your home and life, you can work through it.

Decluttering is especially for people who love their stuff because it highlights your favorite things by removing the excess and the distractions. Take decluttering one small step at a time and the change becomes easier to adjust to.

8. Elizabeth/Elliot

When you think about decluttering, you are super excited and enthusiastic. Anything that isn’t nailed down is fair game in your eyes. Decluttering doesn’t scare or intimidate you, but family members may be intimidated by your zest for it.

You may get rid of more than you intended in your flurry of decluttering and have to repurchase a few items. It may also be a challenge for you to relate to people who want to hold onto items for reasons you don’t understand.

How to move past your decluttering challenges:

It’s great to be motivated to declutter but it’s also important to thoughtful about it so that you aren’t having to replace much.

It is also imperative to be respectful towards other family members who feel differently about decluttering. Don’t declutter their items unless you have expressed permission.

9. Simone/Steven

When you think about decluttering you feel frustrated. You’ve done all the decluttering many times over, but the stuff keeps coming back.

You love shopping, celebrations, and gifts. Your traditions are sacred to you and considering doing anything different is difficult. You may also have family members that are contributing to the cycle of clutter in your home.

How to move past your decluttering challenges:

The first step for this decluttering personality type is to notice where the clutter is coming from. If you want to end the clutter cycle, you need to identify what’s causing it.

That may mean adjusting your own shopping habits as well as having open and honest discussions with family members. Be willing to change behaviors and consider alternative traditions to end the frustration and keep the clutter out.

Your decluttering personality type

So, what’s your decluttering personality type? Perhaps you related to more than just one of them. Understanding your unique challenges will help you to make more progress.

Curious what mine is? I started as a Fiona and still have many of the same frugal tendencies, but over the past few years, I’ve become more of an Elizabeth who has had to learn to tone it down with less excited family members.

I realized in helping my husband with his clothes that he is a Dave. He creates all sorts of scenarios for when he might want something. He’s also concerned with not wanting to regret getting rid of anything later.

Here’s the good news. No matter which of the decluttering personality types most resonated with you, there is hope. You can overcome the clutter in your home regardless of where you’re at now and what your past experience has been.

Want more help with decluttering?

Check out the Your Home Decluttered products I’ve created to help walk you step by step through decluttering your home.

Want to stay up to date with The Simplicity Habit? Sign up on the form below to get weekly decluttering tips. You’ll also get the Your Home Decluttered Jumpstart which includes 100 easy items to declutter and 12 high impact areas to declutter in 10 minutes.

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6 Comments

  1. I’m a combo of #1-4 (Olivia, Samantha, Isla, Fiona) all wrapped up in one package!! My biggest challenge is with paperwork and life memorabilia (e.g., photos, albums, scrapbooks, etc.). Having had a career as creative writer/publisher, I’ve kept all my articles, publications, grad school work, etc. I do continue to reference some of it in my current role as a freelance writer/researcher; so I’d hate to get rid of something that isn’t replaceable or found online. However, I HAVE let go of several monthly financial documents/bills that I can find online.
    It’s definitely a process, though!!

  2. I am definitely a Fiona and Diane. I have a hard time “throwing away money” and the fact that I may need it someday and will have to buy it again.

  3. This is a useful one. I would say I’m a cross between Olivia and Elizabeth. I actually get excited about it and enjoy it. My husband has caught on and whenever I get the chance either to declutter something, or we just finally get a “garbage day” when we haul a pickup load to the transfer station, he’ll often ask me if I’m happy. ‘Cause I am.

    But I also am a low energy person. I have an underactive thyroid (not enough to be diagnosed with anything, but enough to struggle with big tasks). That I grew up as a chronic procrastinator is not helpful. So, I often feel overwhelmed.

    I always had a bit of a problem with clutter, particularly paper clutter, but it was always manageable when I lived on my own (it was a small enough that I could just hide it in the spare room and the rest of my apartment looked pretty decent). But then I married a man who was a borderline packrat (I’m pretty sure he’s a Frank/Dave combo) and had a three bedroom mobile home filled with stuff. You should have seen it when I first came here…

    I think one of the biggest helps to anyone, especially after they have begun the journey, is to remind themselves of how far they’ve come already. Whenever I remember just how bad it was before and that the home is actually quite livable now, it helps me keep moving forward.

    PS: I was surprised there was no associated word for Simone/Steven! Maybe a comment like “You feel *stuck*”? Just an idea. đŸ™‚

    1. PPS: I just thought of another personality type you might consider. You could call it Patricia/Peter. Or maybe Pamela/Pat. It would be the procrastinator.

      This is the person who wants to declutter, has no particular attachment to their stuff or fear of letting it go. They aren’t even overwhelmed by it, necessarily. But, there always seems to be something else more important to do, so it never gets done. The regular daily grind, appointments, special events, etc. There’s always something in the way.

      The solution would probably be twofold: First, motivation, because obviously, it may be that they need to see the importance of getting rid of clutter more clearly and that it’s worth putting off some other things. Second, it may be that they are over-committed in their life and just aren’t allowing themselves to have adequate free time, so they should consider dialing back on life in general. This is a good idea, even if they don’t have a big decluttering job to do. Or maybe they need to learn to use one of those “baby step” methods of gradually decluttering.

      What do you think?

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