QUESTION OF THE WEEK: I like to keep things because I am sentimental. My friend has clutter because she is too lazy to clear it out. My other friend has a lot of stuff because she doesn’t like throwing things away. The bottom line is we all have clutter for different reasons. What do you think?

We all hold onto things for different reasons. Over the years, I’ve found that people fall into certain “clutter personality” types.

The sentimental one


The sentimental personality type has a hard time letting go of anything, because he or she attaches sentiment to every meaningful event or cherished person. If this is you, think of what to discard by asking yourself what you would grab if your house were on fire.

Advice: Everything you own should have value, because it is truly functional, beautiful or cherished. For example, instead of keeping every drawing your child has ever done, save the best drawing of the month and then digitally store any surplus sentimental clutter by taking a digital photo of it.

The deferring one

The deferring personality type tends to put everything off, not just clearing clutter. Those who defer things — paying bills, cleaning the house, returning emails or phone calls — figure they’ll do it later or the next day, never really getting around to it.

Advice: One way to overcome this is to schedule it in your calendar. Have someone hold you accountable. Once you get started, momentum will kick in.

The gathering one

The gathering personality type fears that future resources will be scarce. They keep everything from pieces of string and old plastic bags to clothing from 30 years ago believing these items might come in handy one day.

Advice: The first step is to assure yourself that you will always be able to get what you need. Start today by looking for all the items you have more than one of and start letting go from there.

The perfectionist


The perfectionist personality type puts off decluttering until he or she has time to do it perfectly, ensuring that all the tools and such are in place. This “all-or-nothing” attitude creates a barrier to decluttering, because living with anything less than perfect is intolerable.

Advice: Give yourself permission to complete your clearing in stages. Break the job at hand into bite-size pieces, and look at each piece as a whole. For example, you may choose kitchen drawers as one project and shelves as another.

What is your clutter personality? Do you relate to one? If so, embrace who you are and use the advice to yield your greatest clutter-busting success!

Do you have a question for Alice? If so, send it to Alice Inoue owns Happiness U, a lifestyle studio located at SALT Kakaako where anyone can find positive inspiration and high-level guidance to minimize stress and optimize modern day life! Visit YourHappinessU.comm.