Store All the Things!

A peek into a person’s home can be quite revealing. As a space that we typically have total control over, our homes may be the closest thing to a physical manifestation of the interior of our minds. So what might it say about someone’s personality if they have a home filled with knick-knacks, curios, and other odds and ends, rather than a more spartan environment?

We asked our readers whether they agreed or disagreed with the statement “Your home is cluttered with all sorts of things.” Upon analyzing the data, we found some potential links between this question and certain personality traits.

In some cases, there seemed to be no significant difference, such as between Feeling and Thinking personality types (60% and 59% agreeing, respectively). In other cases, however, there was a striking disparity – most notably between Prospecting and Judging types (75% and 43%).

Which groups tend to have the most cluttered domiciles? We look for answers to this question below:

Roles

Diplomats, Explorers, and Analysts (69%, 67%, and 66% agreeing, respectively)

Most Roles (Diplomats, Explorers, and Analysts) seemed to be in close agreement that their living spaces had things in abundance (69%, 67% and 66% agreeing, respectively). Of course, both the character of and reason for these possessions may vary widely. Diplomats might find themselves unwilling to part with any trinkets that remind them of the people who have entered their lives, be they store-bought gifts or handmade works of art. The impulsivity of Explorers might result in a haphazard collection of strange ephemera, each picked up on a separate whim. An Analyst’s home might resemble a workshop or laboratory, with tools and half-finished projects strewn about according to a system that only the Analyst himself or herself may be able to understand.

Turbulent Logicians (INTP-T) and Mediators (INFP-T) tied for most agreement with the statement (83%). Endlessly creative (both in their resourcefulness and in that they rarely finish anything they start), these two types’ homes are likely littered with all manner of projects. From poems and components to dreams and ideas to paints and [generic plastic interlocking building blocks], these personality types are on a quest to express what’s in their hearts and minds and have little desire to throw away hard-won manifestations of themselves.

Sentinels (35%)

And then there are the Sentinels. These personality types were the only outliers among the Roles, and few agreed that their homes could be considered cluttered (35%). Organization and practicality are a Sentinel’s watchwords, so it’s not surprising that they would be the Role most likely to abide by the dictum, “If one has no use for something, one has no need for it.”

Assertive Consuls (ESFJ-A) agreed least with the statement (27%). These personality types find strength in themselves and the people they share their lives with, like family, friends, and community – not in a pile of old costumes or an attic full of comic books. The things Consuls keep likely represent these values: pictures of family, a large couch for friends to relax on, and decent, hearty food – a home where people feel welcome, not where they have to wonder whether it’s safe to sit down.

Strategies

Constant Improvement and Social Engagement (66% and 65% agreeing, respectively)

The division among Strategies broke down along the Identity aspect. The Turbulent Strategies – Constant Improvement and Social Engagement – largely agreed with the statement “Your home is cluttered with all sorts of things” (66% and 65% agreeing, respectively). Turbulent personality types have more of a tendency to hold on to things for fear of what might happen if they part with something that they may end up needing. They’ll realize what that spare key was for as soon as it’s gone, and, whether the judgment is real or imagined, it may just seem insulting to throw away those old greeting cards.

Confident Individualism and People Mastery (53% and 49%)

The two Assertive Strategies, Confident Individualism and People Mastery, were about evenly split on the question (53% and 49%). This lack of strong feelings may imply that Assertive types might not have a particularly strong attachment to items that some would refer to as “clutter,” but neither do they have the overwhelming urge to dispose of them. Things aren’t anything to be worried about at all, which is really right in line with these personality types’ approach to the world around them.

Conclusions

One person’s trash, as the adage goes, is another’s treasure. Where we draw that line may have much to do with the particular objects that we value, but much of this decision also depends on what environment best suits us. Do we thrive more when everything is in its place, even if we sometimes run afoul of the realization that the thing we need now is the very thing that we threw out ages ago? Or do we have greater peace of mind in knowing that a needed item is close at hand, even if we may not always be able to remember where we put it?

There are arguments to be made for order and for chaos. And a peek into a person’s home may be the quickest way to see which side he tends to favor.

What about you? Is your home cluttered (and if so, do you like it that way)? Let us know in the comments!

You can see the full set of data, including correlation coefficients, in the Academy. Please also consider participating in our Member Surveys!

1 year ago
Technically I would have to answer "yes" to this, but it doesn't fit to me personally. I would like to get rid of many things and I already started, but it takes time. Over the next few years, I will get rid of probably about 50% of everything that I own, because it has no use just lying around in a box that I never look into. But for now, it's a mess. My data, on the other hand, is a projection of how my room will look like in the future: Everything is neatly sorted into a hierarchical scheme (like "Google Drive/media/picture/photo/cat/on_the_high_shelf.jpg") and it's only a tiny fraction of the amount of data I had before. Apart from this, jokes on you, my room is completely empty, because we're currently changing the floor. So there's again NOT much stuff in it, meaning nothing at all!
Ben
3 years ago
Haha, us prospectors do love our trash! We see value in lots of things. Minimalism, attractive though it may be, is not for us.
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