What does a messy room say about your personality? Experts weigh in

Does a messy room speak volumes about your personality type? Expert organizers weigh in on this controversial topic

Bedroom with blue headboard
(Image credit: Brent Darby / Sims Hilditch)

While we are all prone to the occasional mess in our homes at times, some have constantly messy spaces in their homes. As much as we try not to, this mess can quickly lead to judgments about a person. So, what does a messy room say about your personality?

Given that everyone is different it can be difficult to implement blanket home-organizing ideas. Whether decluttering and tidying is overwhelming, or you simply find that you function better in a more chaotic space, there is a multitude of reasons for mess. 

Here, experts offer their opinions on what a messy space says about your personality, and what you can do to change your habits if the mess is affecting you. 

What does a messy room say about your personality?

There is a general consensus that having a messy room does not indicate your personality type, but experts believe it can say a lot about your current frame of mind. 

'A messy room can mean many things so I don’t think we can attribute a personality type to it,' begins Gill Gudgeon, APDO member and founder of Restore the Calm.  'Apparently, creative people benefit from living in spaces that are somewhat messy as it fuels the creative process, but it doesn’t mean that they’re not organized.  At the extreme of this are people with mental health issues, hoarding tendencies, and depression, making it difficult for them to deal with it. Conversely, a mess could simply be a sign of a busy family who doesn’t have the time, or of a home that just contains too many possessions and needs a good old declutter.'

Here are four reasons you may live with the mess, and what it may say about your current living situation.

1. You may not have systems that work for you

A laundry hamper in the corner of s bedroom

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If you find yourself listening to decluttering tips but still end up struggling with messy rooms, it may be that you have not yet implemented systems that work well for you such as the bin system, for example, which involves leaving catch-all baskets like these from Amazon around your home to collect clutter and make tidying easier. 

'A room can say a lot about a person and so a messy room can easily lead to someone being judged. However, things are not always what they seem and so it's important not to jump to conclusions,' says Vickie Farrell, APDO member and founder of Declutteright. 'It could just be that the person is super busy right now with work and/or family commitments. It might be that the person isn't a naturally organized person and may need help to find systems and routines that can help them to be more organized.'

'Some people (I am one of them) can very quickly create a mess,' says Jane Fern, a Spark Joy Collective member, and KonMarie consultant. 'I need very simple systems that help me to stay tidy. If something takes more than a couple of steps to get something out or put something away then I will avoid doing it.  I don’t think you can categorize personality types by how messy they are.  We are all so individually wired which makes us all so interesting.'

2. You may simply thrive in 'busier' spaces

bedroom with floral, william morris wallpaper on walls and ceiling, finished with accents of red paint, maximalist bedroom decor

(Image credit: Archive by Sanderson Design)

'I wouldn’t label anyone who has a messy space,' says Craig Hoareau, APDO member and owner of A Tidy Mind - London. 'What I do know is our physical environment is a manifestation of what is going on in our heads. Some people thrive in a chaotic space. Some prefer complete order to focus.

'Sometimes a very disorganized environment can indicate feeling overwhelmed or in extreme cases other mental health issues,' Craig explains, 'however, I always say that mess is okay if the person who the 'mess' belongs to, is okay with it. 

'If it bothers them then that is where there is a problem and if it affects others living with them then some compromise has to be made.'

If this sounds like you, then trying out the maximalist decor trend may be for you with its focus on collated clutter and visually busy spaces.

3. You are struggling with time management

Someone making a to do list

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When it comes to messy rooms, it often accumulates when we find ourselves busy with other things. This does not necessarily speak volumes about your personality, but about how you prioritize tasks and manage your time. 

'There’s a difference between mess and clutter, Laura Pearson, APDO member and founder of Intentional with Laura explains. 'Clutter is too much stuff. Mess is disorganized. I wouldn’t say that mess says anything about your personality, but it might suggest that you are short on time or would benefit from taking the time to reset your space with a good tidy-up. A tidy space can often equal a clear mind and an easier life.'

If you struggle with time management, listening to advice such as closet decluttering tips from professionals that you may be able to apply around your home, or learning techniques such as how to declutter clothes fast, can help you make a plan of action to add to your busy daily routines. 

'I do know that if you are messy, tidiness is a skill that can be learned (I’m living proof of that),' says Victoria Nicholson, KonMarie consultant and Spark Joy Collective member.

4. You may be overwhelmed 

An unmade double bed

(Image credit: Unsplash)

'Mess can mean different things to different people. A messy space could indicate creativity or someone who is too busy but a messy space could also indicate further issues like anxiety or ADHD. Clutter and mess can consciously or unconsciously affect you mentally,' warns Jamie Hord, CEO, and founder of Horderly Professional Organizing.

'It’s not about your personality as such. Some of us have different qualities that support the way we live – like order, rhythm, and ritual others – some of us, other qualities,' begins Jenny Hayes, KonMari consultant and member of the Spark Joy Collective. 'Being ‘messy’ is often a reflection of the messiness inside our heads or in our lives in general. How we behave with the things in our homes is a greater reflection of how we are in life at large. Are we tending to the little things? On top of the bills? Chaotic in our friendships? Gently, and lovingly we can make a change to these things across the board.'

Luckily, there are plenty of ways to slowly declutter your home when you feel overwhelmed, but it is always a good idea to speak to a professional and help treat the cause at its root if you feel like you are struggling mentally.

Are people with messy rooms more creative?

While there is no direct link, studies have shown that in many cases people with messier rooms tend to have more creative ideas than people with perfectly tidy rooms, although this is by no means universal.

Why do I prefer a messy room?

Some people may feel more comfortable in their room when it is in a state of 'organized mess', where the owner knows exactly where everything is despite it not being sorted into organizers. The idea of controlled mess can make a room feel like your own independent space that is structured in a way that only you can understand. So long as messy does not also equal dirty, there is often nothing wrong with this. 

Chiana Dickson
Content Editor

Chiana has been at Homes & Gardens for two years, having started her journey in interior journalism as part of the graduate program. She spends most of her time producing content for the Solved section of the website, helping readers get the most out of their homes through clever decluttering, cleaning, and tidying tips – many of which she tests and reviews herself in her home in Lancaster to ensure they will consistently deliver for her readers and dabbles in the latest design trends. She also has a first-class degree in Literature from Lancaster University.