us with an opportunity for change, and we often make resolutions to improve our lives to eat less, exercise more, be patient, work less (or more) or get organized. Now is traditionally a good time to clear out, minimize and declutter your home.

Years ago, I watched a design show and thoroughly enjoyed the professional organizer’s theory that there are five clutter personality types: the easily distracted, the bargain shopper, the procrastinator, the perfectionist and the sentimental saver.

In my many years of decorating, I have had opportunities to work with all five types and can relate to the challenges and struggles involved. I would identify myself as a sentimental type, as I find it especially challenging to get rid of things relating to my friends or family.

Obviously, identifying your personality type will not automatically transform your home into a clean, organized space, but on the other hand, it can’t hurt to ask yourself: which type (or combination of types) am I? After all, self-awareness can help when facing personal challenges or attempting to make changes.

The easily distracted, for example, have the best intentions; he or she may have dozens of bins, baskets and files that aren’t being used to their potential, because before any organizing process is finished, the attention has been pulled away by another interesting project … or two.

The bargain shopper cannot pass up a good deal. The problem is, all those bargain purchases are rarely used and cannot fit comfortably into one home. I have a favorite client who stores her many bargain purchases in the garage on assembled shelving, and I rest assured that if I need a decorative trinket, I can find it there.

The procrastinator finds the process of organizing a space overwhelming, as it can be a physically and emotionally exhausting experience. I imagine this tendency to procrastinate is evident in other areas of their lives, too; these people find it easier to just postpone any less-than-urgent activity.

The perfectionist has every intention of getting organized; that is, when she or he has all the cool tools, free time and assistants available (in other words, never). Until all the planetary influences align, it’s not the perfect time. “When I do it, I’ll do it right,” these people tell themselves.

And those of us who are sentimental savers put value on every photo, handmade card and small gift that was given to us from someone we love. The problem is, if we are lucky enough to have a full life, this eventually creates a very cluttered home.

I experience this struggle whenever I clean out a closet or repurpose a room at home. In doing so, I am bombarded with pictures, paintings, cards and old clothing that inundate me with good memories. Sorting through these items is time-consuming and emotionally challenging.

When beginning a decluttering job, it is advisable to start with a small space, like a closet or bathroom cabinet. Give yourself an hour, and you will be rewarded with the immediate gratification of a cleaner, more-organized space. Most likely, you will then be encouraged to begin another project.

For 2020, consider this: What is your clutter style, and how might you create room for fresh possibilities in your living spaces?

Linda Lawrence is the owner of HouseCalls for Redesign. Contact her at, 728-2732 or visit


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