The Secret to Getting (and Staying) Organized Might Be Choosing a System Based on Your Personality Type

organized cream living room
organized cream living room

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Your personality type says a lot about who you are—and even plays a role in the things you're drawn to, from the paint colors that make you calm to the hobbies that bring you joy. It has a practical application, too: Better understanding your personality type can help you tidy up at home. According to our experts, the secret to getting and staying organized involves creating a system that speaks to your personality traits—which is good news for anyone who has struggled to follow more conventional methods in the past.

Related: Our Best Storage and Organization Ideas

Determining Your Personality Type

One of the most common personality classifications is the Big Five, also known as OCEAN; the system is broken into five main categories, including openness, conscientiousness, extroversion, agreeableness, and neuroticism. You can find out which group you fall into by combing through our in-depth Big Five guide.

woman organizing books
woman organizing books

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Home Organization Tips by Personality Type

Staying organized can be a challenge, especially for those who are short on time, low on space, or dealing with sorting and storing other people's stuff (like parents and caregivers). Picking an organizational style based on your personality type may make it a bit easier to keep it all together, say our experts.

Openness: Creative and Personal Systems

If you scored high on the openness scale, you may benefit most from organizational methods that are unique, novel, or go beyond mainstream practices. "You would expect to see someone high in openness organize by creative and artistic methods—such as coding by movie characters or literary genres," says Christine Karper, Ph.D., LMHC., QCS (FL)., the program chair at the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences at the University of Phoenix.

This unique, personal approach speaks to an open person's desire to express themselves, adds Shantae Duckworth, a professional organizer. If you score high in this trait, consider setting up a storage system that allows you to put your interests on display—installing a shelving unit that shows off your favorite collections (as well as practical items), for example, might make you more inclined to maintain it.

Conscientiousness: Detailed and Specific Systems

Unsurprisingly, people who score high in conscientiousness benefit from highly-detailed, tried-and-true organizational methods. "They use time-tested methods or organize by traditional means; [they make] printed lists on legal pads or [place items in] clearly labeled plastic bins or boxes," Karper says.

Conscientious people also benefit from a dialed-in approach to organization, adds Duckworth. "If you're organizing your pantry, for example, this would look like organizing the cans by food type—instead of simply just cans," she says.

Extroversion: Colorful and Visual Systems

Those who score high in this department are drawn to vibrant, visual storage solutions, says Karper—which is why they often organize by color and pattern. "You would expect to see someone high in extroversion to have busy, lively methods of organization," she says.

And since people with this personality type love to be with others, they need a system that helps them get out of the house fast—which means focusing specifically on areas that assist with those types of transitions. That's why their closets, in particular, need to be in tip-top shape. "Are their clothes organized by season, style, and occasion?" says Duckworth. "These are often the types of clients who like to grab an outfit and head out, so it helps when their clothing is organized by the type of situation they may need it for (for example, a night out, work, or the gym)."

Agreeableness: Systems That Work for Everyone

Good news for folks who align best with the agreeableness category: In the organization department, anything goes, Karper says. Agreeable people might try out a new organizing trend or find solutions that meet their (or their family's) needs. "These folks might also take on the organizational style of anyone they are working with," she says.

Duckworth agrees, adding that people who fall into this category might be better served by picking a method that works for the entire household. "Often, these clients want to make sure that everything is organized for the greater good of the family," she says. People with this personality type want their kids' markers to be sorted and easily accessible, the kitchen cabinets to be easy for the whole family to navigate, and so on.

Neuroticism: Structured Systems That Problem-Solve

Similar to those in the conscientiousness group, people who rank high in neuroticism benefit from time-tested organizational methods—but with a twist. "These individuals often go the extra mile to alphabetize or further organize by color code," Karper says. They'd benefit from tracking their organizational method as well, with the help of something like an Excel spreadsheet or structured list, she adds.

And while all of that may be true, the thing that may help these types of organizers most has more to do with peace of mind than storage space, explains Duckworth. "I have found that when clients are neurotic about organization, it is most likely that they are anxious about other things—are they worried that they won't be able to find the paperwork they need for their doctor appointments? Are they concerned they will lose something in the junk drawer?" she says, adding that identifying and solving these concerns can calm the mind and make organization a smoother process overall.