WHAT'S YOUR O.Q.?
As a Professional Organizer, I find many people exaggerate how disorganized they are. What they’re really telling me is how frustrated they feel.
About half of the people I visit think their home is the worst I’ve ever seen.
They also think they are more disorganized than their friends with beautiful living rooms. But I have been in their friends’ basements, attics, offices and junk rooms and I know that even the most immaculate homes have some areas that are disorganized behind closed doors.
The reality is most people have areas of their home and office that work great and other areas that do not function at all and are very disorganized.
Where do you rank among the disorganized?
Take this short quiz and find out your Organizing Quotient.
This test will help you determine when you need professional assistance and when you can do it yourself.
1. Space and Time: I can find important papers I need within a few minutes
A. All the time.
B. Most of the time.
C. Rarely. I have them but they’re not in any order.
D. Never. They’re scattered all over.
2. My clothes are
A. In order and I can get dressed easily. I rarely get behind on laundry.
B. In order most of the time, but the laundry sometimes stacks up.
C. In stacks waiting to be washed or ironed or put away.
D. In piles all over, getting stepped on.
3. The clothes in my closet and drawers
A. Fit me and have been worn within the past year.
B. Fit me but I haven’t worn some of them in a long time.
C. Some fit me and some do not. I don’t wear many of them anymore for various reasons.
D. I have no idea what is in my closet, if it fits, or the last time I wore the clothes.
A. Gets read and sorted daily.
B. Gets read most days. Then it sits on the counter or desk waiting for me to make decisions.
C. Doesn’t get read sometimes and gets piled up until company comes. Then it goes into another room until I can get to it.
D. Some is in the house, some in the car. I don’t really know.
5. Bills get paid
A. On time every time.
B. On time most of the time, unless there is an oversight.
C. Late sometimes. I don’t have a routine for paying bills.
D. Often they are late and I pay many late fees.
6. In the Kitchen
A. I can make a meal easily because I can find all the utensils and my pantry is stocked.
B. I can usually find everything, but sometimes I’m out of things I need.
C. I don’t cook much. It’s too much trouble to put a meal together.
D. I eat frozen meals, order in or eat out most days because I can’t manage my kitchen.
7. My photographs
A. Are all arranged in scrapbooks, albums, or boxes.
B. Are mostly arranged but some are waiting until I get to it.
C. Are all together, but in no particular order.
D. Are somewhere in the house.
8. My Desk
A. Is always clear on top so I can work.
B. Is messy while I’m working, but I put papers away regularly.
C. Is messy almost always until I toss everything in a pile on the floor.
D. Is somewhere under that big pile of stuff.
9. The attic and basement in my home
A. Are orderly and are used for storing things I don’t use very often.
B. Are somewhat in order, but sometimes things get lost.
C. Are cluttered with junk I never use and would probably earn me a great deal of money at a garage sale if I ever cleaned it up.
D. Are big black holes. Stuff goes in and never comes out.
10. My Calendar
A. I use it daily to remember appointments and prioritize tasks.
B. I use it to write down appointments and hardly ever miss one.
C. I write down appointments most of the time but forget to check it regularly.
D. I don’t have a calendar I like so I don’t use one.
11. I get distracted when trying to organize.
12. I feel overwhelmed by the size of my organizing projects.
13. I know the logical spots where things in my home should be put away.
14. I feel confident that I can pick the right containers for the things I need to organize.
15. I am able to purge items from my home when I no longer love them or need them.
A. Always. I don’t hold onto things.
B. Often. But I have some emotional attachments.
C. Sometimes. I can but I struggle with it.
D. Never. I don’t even try anymore.
16. When I start an organizing project, I finish it.
A. Always. This is not a problem for me.
B. Often. I usually finish, but sometimes get bored or distracted.
C. Sometimes. But I sometimes get bored or distracted by something or someone.
D. Never. I love the idea of organizing but am often too distracted to see it through to the end.
17. My family helps keep the home in order and running smoothly.
A. Always or does not apply
18. My home makes me feel happy and comfortable.
19. Being at home and seeing my clutter makes me feel stressed.
20. On a scale of 1-4 with 4 being the most cluttered, my home feels like a:
You are very organized and get to enjoy your life because you are not ruled by your possessions and distractions. Sometimes you may take it too far though and spend more time organizing than is necessary, and forget to spend time doing other things you love. Be sure you are taking time to relax and enjoy life. Many people in this category are perfectionists or just born organized.
Have you considered becoming a professional organizer? Look into Organizer U.’s programs!
You’re reasonably organized. Most people in this category know how to organize but sometimes life gets in the way and things slip. Don’t let that get you down. Give yourself a break for being human. You may be able to get some tips from a professional organizer or from reading an organizing book. You are more likely to be a do-it-yourselfer. Read our online tips, sign up for the Organizine newsletter, and check out our books and audio class recordings and live classes.
Somewhat disorganized and probably frustrated. You haven’t figured out systems to get you through daily routines and have trouble taking the time to clear out your clutter. Find an organized friend who can help you out, or call a professional organizer to motivate you and teach you some new ways to stay on top of life. Reading books on the subject may help, but you will likely need someone to work with you to keep you on task long enough to finish the job. Learning to organize at this point is critical so you do not fall deeper into trouble.
Disorganization rules your life and you are likely to be very stressed out. Your job may even be on the line. Your possessions own you instead of you owning them. Your time management is keeping you from enjoying life the way you want to. Seek out a professional organizer who can help you implement systems, teach you basic organizing skills, and keep you on task so you can finish what you begin. You may also benefit from reading books about organizing as a way of life (not just tips books). See our Frequently Asked Questions page to learn more about a professional organizer.