This Wednesday: a quiz–are you organized or disorganized?

Usually Wednesday is Tip Day, but surprise, today is a quiz instead.

Most people understand that it’s a pain to be disorganized. Disorganized people spend a lot of time hunting for their keys; they have to order a replacement birth certificate; they know they must have a dozen hammers, because it’s always been easier to buy a new one than to locate one in the house.

Often, however, people don’t realize how disorganized they are. Are you? Take this quiz.

At a minimum, you should know exactly where to find these possessions (assuming, of course, you own them—and you should):

 stamps
 your passport and if you’re married, your spouse’s passport
 a corkscrew
 Bandaids
 a safety pin
 a flashlight
 a functioning alarm clock
 paperclips or a stapler
 your phone charger
 a spare set of keys
 your doctor’s phone number
 cinnamon
 your tax statements from 2003
 fabric stain remover
 a pair of mittens
 spare AA batteries

Congratulate yourself for being well-organized if you can also say exactly where you’d find these objects:

 a tape measure
 your high-school yearbook
 a Swiss army knife
 a pencil sharpener
 a copy of Pride and Prejudice or The Da Vinci Code
 the instruction manual for your camera
 silver polish
 a vase the proper size to hold a bunch of tulips
 food coloring
 a tube of lip balm
 a cheese knife
 an extension cord
 a recipe for a favorite food your mother or father used to make
 a pack of playing cards
 a pad of sticky notes (Post-Its)

One observation: disorganized people often aim to put things away approximately. They’ll keep something “in a kitchen drawer” or “in my office.” It’s much more satisfying to put things away in an exact location—like a particular kitchen drawer. It takes some effort, at first, to decide where everything belongs, but once you’ve put objects in their proper places, it’s much easier to return them there.

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  • CBooker

    Ms. Rubin —
    By your measure, I’m extremely well organized, yet I rarely feel that way. It’s usually that I’m looking for something very specific or trying to remember where I put something.
    Your blog is very enjoyable and I look forward to reading more of your work, both online and in print.

  • lhstrachan

    My house is full of clutter, and my life feels completely chaotic, but I can immediately find every item on the list. Perhaps I’m not as disorganized as I convince myself I am.

  • I’m kind of like that last commenter. I knew where almost every one of those items were, but I know my house is cluttered. Hmmmm. TOO MUCH STUFF!!
    I found your blog from a post on the Neat Living Blog, a member of our BLOG VILLAGE TopList.
    I’d like to invite you to join our family friendly BLOG VILLAGE TopList. We have over 125 members, and we’re striving for a diverse group of blogs. I think your blog would be a great addition.
    You can find out more about it at .

  • I’m like the others. I scored well but frequently experience frustration beyond the edge of those lists.
    Of course, we don’t have mittens here in Sydney.

  • My place looks like a tornado hit it as I spend far too much time on the internet but funnily enough I know where everything is. I think it’s called organised chaos 🙂

  • Very good post on organization. Thank you for sharing. I would like to share Steps To Organize Your Home Office. It’s very long post so I am leaving the Link here.

  • theobromacrunch

    wow i never consider myself as a neat freak but i can find the things in your list. i guess having a place of your own always has a perks.

  • Taylor Kay Massanelli

    It is a great thing to have a website like this you must be very proud of yourself

  • Well, I guess I am pretty organized! Yay! I find it hard to believe though, but after reading the above, I’ve come to realize that the reason I feel so disorganized is because of my memory problems.
    I’m a veteran, so the VA is trying to help me, but so far’s we can tell – I suffer from short-term memory loss that covers a span of now to 2 weeks.
    Being organized (via a household notebook, my PDA with a million alarms/reminders, a set place for everything, etc.) has helped tremendously! Now I just need to remember to bring my PDA with me everywhere I go… 😉

  • Pamela Adkisson

    I know where 99% of the above list is …however I’m a “Piler”..not a “Filer”..I appear disorganized..and it’s on my bucket list to have a more clutter free environment, but by your list above, I’m pretty dang 😀

  • Line Dance Now

    I can tell the lady at work who thinks I am not organized how organized I really am thanks to you!