It’s a bird, it’s a plane, no wait…its clutter!

Clutter. It creeps up on you when you least expect it. It lives in corners, closets and countertops. Just when you thought you were rid of it, it comes back. Will there ever be an end to all this clutter?

Let’s face it. Clutter happens to all of us, some more than others. Research has shown that about 1% of our population are known as hoarders, while the other 99% suffer from some sort of stress due to clutter at least once in their lives. Clutter can cause lost paperwork, missed deadlines, unnecessary storage rental, lost valuables or even duplicate purchases.

So how do you conquer all this clutter? Start by looking at yourself. What personality type are you? What is your way of thinking when you clean, sort and organize? Figuring out which clutter personality you might fall under just might help you solve your organizational issues and improve your habits.

The Deceiver. Your home seems to be in order, but don’t look too close. You live the “out of sight, out of mind approach.” Instead of decluttering, you store items in hidden places, like the garage, the closets, and the laundry room. My advice: Make time to clean by creating a chore schedule. Stay abreast of clutter by organizing regularly.

The Supplier. “You never know when you are going to need it,” are the words you live by. Your home is filled with all kinds of “extras,” from large rolls of twine, plastic containers, spare pieces of wood, spare parts of old electronics and Keeping old air conditioners, televisions, cracked planters or dishes that you plan to fix in the near future are scattered throughout your home. Having a house full of “spares” that you might need someday is a true sign of the Supplier. My advice: Only buy what you need. Learn to say “no” to extras. Limit your storage space to a few storage boxes only. Donate the rest.

The Storage Closet Keeper is a lot like the Supplier but on a different level. The Storage Closet Keeper has multiples of everything. You don’t have one hairbrush, you have three. You don’t have one type of moisturizer, you have four types, not including the facial moisturizers. There are at least four bottles of shampoo and conditioner in your shower. The Storage Closet Keeper keeps multiples of common household items where one is only needed. Look around. Do you own five pairs of scissors, have multiple sheets sets or an abundance of dishes? You live for the “buy one get one free” sales. My advice: Donate, donate, donate! Learn to stay away from items on sale that you don’t need. Lessen your shampoo bottles by using only one in the shower at a time.  

The Frugal Deal Hunter. Buying in bulk is the only way you shop. You see nothing wrong with having a year’s supply of pizza sauce, toothpaste, and toilet paper stocked up in your home. You always shop with coupons and never pay full price. You buy things just because they are on sale and you got a great deal. You are proud of your inventory! Saying no to a good thing is not your personality. You hunt for the best deals, discounts, freebies and sales and keep everything. You’re an accumulator. My advice: Limit your purchases to only what you use. Try not to overwhelm yourself. Keep your pantry organized to prevent canned food from expiring before you use it.

The Can’t Let Go Memory Keeper holds on to anything with a story. All the kids’ art projects, cherished items, photos and baby clothes are neatly tucked away. You have trouble letting go of a loved one’s items, even if the items are not your taste. You have boxes of special mugs, collectibles, love letters, or clothes that remind you of the past. You tend to keep things just because of the way they make you feel. My advice: Keep only treasured items that remind you of your most cherished memories. Instead of saving all of your items from the past, take a photo of each and display them in a memory book.

The Electronic Guru. When it comes to anything electronic, you’re the “go to” man. You keep bins filled with old devices, gadgets, cords, cases, and cables, even if they are outdated and you won’t use them. My advice: Label and store what you really need for the future. Since you will not use every device, charger, or remote you have collected, donate them. Recycle used electronic boxes after the warranty has expired. Store cords by wrapping the cord with a label specifying the gadget they belong to with masking tape. This way you can find exactly what you need quickly and easily.

The Unorganized Perfectionist. You have too much stuff but it’s all organized to perfection. Your collection of 75 clown figurines and 100 silver spoons is gleaming, dust free and perfectly displayed. Your 20 photo albums are arranged chronologically. Your three bookcases of fiction novels are sorted in alphabetical order. Your collection of books makes you look smart, even though you never read any of them. You keep running out of room for all of your new collections. My advice: Keep only the books you love to read and donate or give the rest away.

The Good Intentioner holds onto things until the right time. You have a stack of newspaper clippings for a friend. You have a pile of stuff in your laundry room you’re saving for your next yard sale. You have to find the other shoe before you can donate the pair to a thrift store. You’re waiting until you find the time to sell it on ebay or craigslist. My advice: Don’t hold onto items that you plan on giving to someone longer than one week.

The Scattered Brain. You have too much stuff and it’s scattered everywhere. You bring in the mail and drop it on a stack of papers on your kitchen counter. Your clothes are neatly stacked and stored on the floor. You can’t find your favorite DVD, only the case. You tend to lose things on a regular weekly basis. You seem to buy a new version of something you already own because you need it right now and can’t find it anywhere. My advice: Fold and put laundry away right after washing it. Lessen the amount of clutter on the countertops by finding a place for each and every item. Donate the rest.

As soon as the task of cleaning up the clutter is mastered, it no longer is an issue. Understanding why your clutter is happening in the first place should motivate you enough to maintain good organization skills that will help you lead a clutter-free life.