How figuring out your tidying type can help you get organised in 2021

woman tidying up drawers and wardrobe

Get to understand your approach to organisation before you get started on decluttering (Picture: Getty/

It can’t be only us who feels an intense need to chuck out all our belongings and go minimal as the New Year hits.

Blame the concept of the spring clean or all the New Year, new me stuff, but come January we suddenly feel deeply ashamed of all our mess and clutter, and vow that we must become superior organised beings.

It’s a noble goal. Who doesn’t want to feel like they’re winning at life, especially if all that requires is correctly folding your underwear?

Before you jump feet-first into a decluttering mission, it’s worth taking an honest look at your habits – and revealing your tidying personality type.

Get to know your type and you can adapt your organisational technique accordingly and avoid any pitfalls.

After all, if you’re the type who hates rifling through boxes every time you need something, placing every personal item in its own distinct drawer might not be the best shout. These are things you need to consider.

We chatted with professional organiser Vicky Silverthorne, who’s currently working with Brabantia, to break down the organiser types more people fall into.

The practical

The practical organiser makes keeping things tidy look effortless. Everything in their home has a place and systems are uncomplicated and thought-through.

Tidying takes ten minutes, and while the practical organiser might not be super minimal, there’s no unnecessary clutter in the house. If people often comment on how organised your home is, you’re likely this type.

Tidying tips:

  • Keep doing what you’re doing, you’re nailing it
  • Invest in the right equipment and storage to make the most of your natural tidiness
  • Stick to a routine of regular tidying, as you likely don’t need a massive overhaul
Yes, you can sort out your home with minimal stress (Picture: Getty Images)

The show home

This is the next level up from the practical organiser. You love cleanliness and extreme organisation, and feel irritable when something is in the wrong place.

In your home, everything is labelled, from laundry baskets to tins in the pantry, and Instagram is the inspiration.

You’re the most organised person you know.

Tidying tips:

  • It’s great to live in a tidy home, but remember you need to be comfortable and relaxed too
  • If you find keeping on top of your show home aesthetic too much or too stressful, throw your rulebook out and give yourself a break
  • Don’t worry if your house is messy occasionally, you can always clear it up – tidying in an organised home doesn’t take long
  • Remember not to whisk away someone’s cup of tea the minute they’re done – it’s important to make other people feel comfortable, too

The try hard

This type really wants to be tidy and super organised, but they just can’t stop buying stuff.

The try hard has a bit of an online shopping habit. They fold and colour coordinate, but piles still build up and staying organised is an endless battle.

They find it hard to get rid of things they ‘might need one day’, and struggle to ignore bargains or cool items – even if they know, deep down, they have no need for it.

Tidying tips:

  • Your priority is to declutter. Dedicate a day (or a few) to going through everything you own and donating what you don’t really need straight to charity
  • Don’t buy storage – this won’t actually help if you don’t get rid of the clutter first
  • Before you buy anything new, declutter, clear, and see what you really, genuinely need
Take a proper look at what you already have (Picture: Getty Images)

The natural

Oh, lucky you.

The natural is a minimalist with minimal effort. They don’t have anything superfluous and so organising their home is easy.

This type always gets compliments on how tidy their home is, and has no issue clearing up or getting rid of things that aren’t needed.

Rather than doing big decluttering sessions, you’ll just do a bit of tidying every day.

Tidying tips:

The throw away

If you fall into this type, you have no idea if you’re messy or tidy, as the way your home looks depends on the day.

You’ll do a massive clear out every few months and go hard on the cleaning, but within a matter of days everything fills back up with mess.

Tidying tips:

  • Take an honest look at your spending – it’s likely you’re buying disposable bits that won’t last the years or that you don’t really need
  • Think about the environment and sustainability
  • Declutter first, then look at what products can help organise your life – if you like to buy, make sure you have great waste management.
  • It’s trial and error but work to a method that’s right for you – it doesn’t have to be a sea of clear containers and Instagram-worthy cupboards – it has to be functional for you and you only

Once you have an understanding of your type, you can get started with decluttering.

‘With our homes being used more than ever last year and as we face new restrictions across the UK, the subject of decluttering and organisation will continue to boom,’ says Vicky. ‘Often an unrealistic (Instagram-like) level of decluttering is implemented closely followed by a more realistic approach that is sustainable for your home.

‘Quirky storage is often quickly ditched and the understanding that not everything needs to be in a basket with a label on it – in fact sometimes this can hinder the organisational process. Quality over quantity and sustainability is most definitely the new trend and a very welcome one at that.

‘My advice is to declutter before you even begin to think about which storage to buy.

‘Think practically as well as visually and measure spaces. Storage should enhance not only the look but more importantly the practicality of an area.

‘Also, it’s important that you’re making decisions on storage and interior products that last – and buying consciously so it’s built to last.’

Vicky also provided some general tips everyone can use to get organised in 2021…

How to declutter in 2021:

  • Start with the kitchen.‘After Christmas, your kitchen often needs a good clear out, and the New Year is the perfect time to start,’ says Vicky. ‘Clear your food cupboards, give to the food bank and get the food looking like a shop shelf so you can see exactly what you have. Food that needs using up at the front and surfaces clear ready for healthy prep time.’
  • Chip away at clutter. With new toys and gifts that have come into your home it’s easy to just squeeze things into spaces but by sorting what you have cupboard by cupboard, room by room you can chip away and achieve a good clear out. Don’t overwhelm yourself by trying to do it all in one go.
  • Make a charity shop box. Vicky says: ‘Place a box or bag in your hallway (or hang on door handles) so when you spot something you don’t want / try something on you no longer want, you have somewhere to put it before it heads to the charity shop. Not having this often means we put things back and think ‘I’ll do it later’ and it often never happens.’
  • Ditch the rulebook. ‘Ignore any unnecessary rules such as have I worn it in the last year (you may not have seen it in the last year) and ask yourself the most powerful question of all (if you are decluttering to give yourself more space) “Can I live without this?”,’ says Vicky. ‘After the last year, what’s important and what is not will be clearer than ever.’
  • Think consciously. Vicky says: ‘The throwaway culture we have lived in needs to come to an end and placing appreciation on long lasting good quality items needs more focus and attention. Think about how you shop before you go spending. More guilt free shopping is the way forward!’
  • Declutter first, before buying storage. Make decluttering your priority before you buy more stuff. ‘Often once you’ve got rid of things you no longer want you’ll find your storage problem isn’t as bad as you first thought,’ Vicky explains. ‘Declutter, clear, see what you actually need storage wise and then buy what you need – in that order! Don’t go out and buy storage without a plan to use it somewhere perhaps – know what you’re buying, why and where it’s going to live.’
  • Be practical. Get rid of what isn’t working for you and replace it with practical equipment. This could be anything from a bin that is too small or a clothes dryer that annoys you every time you try and put it up. The right equipment will make life easier and reduce stress.

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