Organizational Expert, Peter Walsh, defines the 4 Types of Clutterers

Photo/Peter Walsh Design

On today’s Good Morning America show, Peter Walsh, contributor to Oprah’s  O Magazine, and host of Extreme Clutter on OWN TV, talked about finding out what type of clutterer you are.

Because of the popular A&E TV show, Hoarders, people often confuse clutterers with hoarders.  Peter wanted to quickly clear up that misconception.  He said, “Hoarders represent about 1.5% of the population.  It’s a very small group and usually there’s a huge mental health issue.”   He added that 80% of couples argue about the clutter in their house and that’s who he deals with.

In the March 2012 issue of O Magazine, Peter Walsh defines the 4 types of Clutterers:

1) The Behind-Closed-Doors Clutterer – You know the one – she has an immaculately neat and “organized” home, until you open up a closet door, or the door of the “guest room”.

2) The Knowledge Clutterer – This person hoards information in magazines, books, journals, etc. and can’t throw any of it away because there might be something important in it.

3) The Techie Clutterer – This person keeps every cord, cable and wire known to man.  I see this in almost every home where a male resides.

4) The Sentimental Clutterer– The extreme cases include people who keep every school paper their child brings home, every gift they’ve been given since childhood, and is unable to part with anything that has been inherited.  They also believe their children will want all their stuff when they leave home (or die), so can’t get rid of any type of memorabilia.

Peter also said,  “People worry that if they lose the object, they’ll use the memory”  He says to “display and frame it“. Examples of this may include: taking a photo of your children’s artwork, creating photo books etc.  It’s so easy and affordable to create photo books today.  Try it at an online website like Snapfish and Shutterfly,

To learn more about the 4 types of clutterers, pick up the latest issue of O Magazine, and go to page 151 to read the article, “What Kind of Clutterer Are You”.  Also, look at the bottom of page 154, and you’ll see my name mentioned as a source in the footnote titled “Jeepers Creepers!”

So, what type of Clutterer are you?  

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About Jacquie

Jacquie Ross is a professional organizer, a Certified Life and Family Coach and award winning owner of CastAway the Clutter! A busy person's expert, Jacquie works with professionals, seniors, empty nesters and families to develop strategies to reach their goals, identify any road blocks, and find more meaning in their lives. Learn more about Jacquie’s life coaching and parent/youth/family coaching here at the CastAway the Clutter Blog, and for organizing services, visit CastAway the Clutter! Jacquie can also be found on Facebook
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10 Responses to Organizational Expert, Peter Walsh, defines the 4 Types of Clutterers

  1. Danielle S says:

    Let’s see: I’m a 2, 3, and 4, but I don’t keep everything! For No.4, who doesn’t want to keep their kid’s stuff? Who could part with their child’s first pair of shoes, the hospital bracelet from when she/he were born, and other sentimental items like this?
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    • Jacquie says:

      Thanks for your comments, Danielle. Of course, no-one is saying you shouldn’t keep anything. We’re talking of extremes here, e.g. moms who keep EVERY piece of paper their child brings home, resulting in dozens of containers collected over the years (per child).

  2. Trisha G. says:

    I’m a little bit of 1 and 4 lol. I’ve gotten better with throwing things out or donating.
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  3. I am more of the professional clutterer in that I believe in reading and reading a lot so all three of our kids have great collections of books and so do i!
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  4. melissa says:

    I am definitely #2. I keep magazines all over my house along with books! It is crazy how messy my nightstand looks!
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  5. Kecia says:

    I am #2 and #4. I have a shelf in our bookcase dedicated to old Weight Watchers and parenting magazines. I keep thinking I will use those recipes or crafts one day! I am also very sentimental and have lots of things saved from when I was in school/college. I am sure it will become worse once my kiddo starts school. My husband is #3…he has a bag full of old cords and wires, and I think he’s started a collection of chargers! 🙂
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  6. Susan Case says:

    Yes, my husband definitely keeps everything – then wants to know what I did with it! I’ve tried and tried to get his tools & electronics organized but he keeps buying and bringing home more – or there is some new gadget on the market. Why would we ever need those old phones? Who knows. My house looks neat except my closet is an “organized” wreck. What do you expect from a retired teacher? May need those crafts some day (and do!). Have a good one. Interesting post.
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    • Jacquie says:

      Thanks for sharing Susan! Yes, men and their tools! 🙂 In case you haven’t done so, I would recommend that you label everything clearly, and ask him how best to display it. That way, he won’t assume he doesn’t have it or it’s lost. Unfortunately, with new gadgets, I can only suggest that when he brings something new in, something goes out! It’s worth a try, anyway. 🙂 Oh, by the way. Unless you no longer have a landline, keep one corded phone available for emergencies. When the power’s out, they work when nothing else will. Good luck!

  7. Lillea says:

    I appreciate how he made the distinction between clutterers and hoarders. I knew someone who was a hoarder and yes, he wasn’t just disorganized or messy or a collector of lots of things, it was something that was a much deeper problem and he was reluctant to talk about it. Eventually he committed suicide.
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  8. Rose Wendy says:

    I am kind of #2and #4, interesting to know this!