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What’s Your Decluttering Style?

What’s Your Decluttering Style?
Photo by Ron Lach on Pexels

Have you noticed that the same clutter-clearing techniques that your best friend swears by just don’t work that well for you? We promise there’s nothing wrong with you — you probably just have different decluttering styles! Learning about your own style and how to work with it, rather than against it, is one of the best ways to approach decluttering in our opinion. Not only is it more effective, recognizing our unique relationships to clutter also encourages compassion, rather than judgment, towards yourself and others. (This means no more getting down on yourself for having a home that looks less “perfect” than your mom’s, or judging your neighbor’s ultra-minimalist space!)

As you read through each of the five decluttering styles we’ve identified based on the five elements, pay attention to which one(s) resonate with you the most. Then, try our suggestions and notice if they help you shift your perspective or your relationship to clutter.

Wood Decluttering Style

If you’re a wood style declutterer, you probably start out with a lot of energy and enthusiasm. You might even get excited at the prospect of carrying boxes and shifting items around, because you love moving your body. However, you might find that after getting started you quickly lose interest and leave the project unfinished for a long time. Once the excitement of starting something new has died down, you end up moving onto the next thing.

If this is you, our advice is to make decluttering into a fun challenge, and keep it short and sweet. You might start with decluttering for just nine minutes each day. You could also hire someone who is naturally good at finishing things to help you. That way, you can balance each other’s energy and get the job done. If you enlist a friend to help you instead of hiring a professional, remember to be respectful of their time and energy!

Fire Decluttering Style

People who have a fire decluttering style tend to feel really inspired to purge unnecessary belongings, and it may even make them feel happy and warm inside. As you’re going through your things, you enjoy revisiting memories and emotions associated with certain objects, and you may feel a heart connection to many of the items you’ve collected. However, you might have a hard time actually getting much done, because you keep moving from pile to pile without actually getting rid of anything.

If you identify with this decluttering style, do your best to remind yourself that decluttering can be a fun activity. Think about the inspiration and warm feelings that will come from finishing this project. You might also want to listen to music or podcasts as you work, invite loved ones to join you, or find other ways to make the process more fun. Also, give yourself permission to get as emotional as you need to and really feel your feelings. It could be helpful to take photos of sentimental items as well, before giving them away to someone who could enjoy them.

Earth Decluttering Style

If you love things and have an especially hard time letting go of your possessions, you might be an earth-style declutterer. People with a lot of earth energy tend to love their homes. Filling your home with meaningful items brings you a lot of comfort and happiness, and you might even enjoy collecting certain objects.

One of our most important pieces of advice for people with an earth decluttering style is to not worry so much about what other people think. You might like having more things in your home than other types, and that’s okay. Just make sure that your collections are organized and displayed in a way that you love, and that they’re well taken care of. If you have items that are not organized or cared for, then it may be time to give some of them away. Give yourself permission to be slow and deliberate in your decluttering process. You might want to start by letting go of one item each week. It can also be helpful to remind yourself that each time you give something away, it is finding a new home in someone else’s space, and making their home more beautiful.

Metal Decluttering Style

If you have a metal decluttering style, letting go of items comes very easily to you. You are good at keeping your possessions under control, and you like everything to be carefully organized. You might describe yourself as a minimalist. Metal energy is sharp, efficient, organized, and connected to beauty, so people with a lot of metal energy are naturally quite good at decluttering. They might even be successful in a career helping other people declutter.

Our advice to people with a metal decluttering style is to watch out for over-purging, especially when it comes to other people’s belongings. Before you let go of an item, pause and allow yourself to tap into your feelings a little more. Ultra-minimalist homes may be clean and organized, but they can also be sterile and overly yin. Instead, you could try being a minimalist in the sense that you only keep things that are really meaningful and important to you. You might want to keep just a few objects that remind you of your connection to particular people and places.

Water Decluttering Style

If you tend to keep a lot of books and art, you likely have a water decluttering style. It might feel challenging to let go of items that hold a lot of wisdom and creative energy. You would probably rather sit and contemplate your clutter instead of actually decluttering. You also might get distracted and start reading your books as you try to go through them. People with a lot of water energy also might feel fear connected to letting items go.

If you identify with this style, we would encourage you to make sure that your book collections are organized and displayed in bookcases, and that your art is hung. Even if you end up moving a piece of art later, it’s better to hang it than leave it lying on the floor for several months. Books, art, and creative items are meant to be used and enjoyed. When you do find items that you’re ready to let go of, it might be helpful to remind yourself that other people will gain wisdom and meaning from them when you give them away.

We hope these tips help you declutter with more compassion and ease! If you’d like to learn more about decluttering and resetting your space, we encourage you to check out our 2022 Energy Reset Package. You’ll receive information about decluttering your home with the feng shui bagua, a guided meditation, a downloadable journal and checklist, and a live personal qi clearing on Lunar New Year’s Eve. You can learn more and join us here.