Clutter Quiz

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Low-Maintenance Living

If you are still a little uncertain about your clutter quotient, grab a pen or pencil (if you can find one) and take this quiz.



It’s divided into categories so you can see clearly which clutter department presents the biggest challenge for you.

CLOTHES HORSE

1. Do you often have a problem figuring out what to wear even though your closet is full of clothes?
YES_ NO_

2. Do you hang on to clothes that haven’t fit in years or are hopelessly out of date?
YES_ NO_



3. Do you have an Imelda Marcos situation breeding on your closet floor (i.e., piles of shoes dating back to the platform era)?
YES_ NO_

4. Do you own shoes that hurt your feet?
YES_ NO_

5. Do you have a collection of hats you rarely, if ever, wear?
YES_ NO_

6. Do you own more than two pairs of eyeglasses dating back several prescriptions?
YES_ NO_

7. Does your handbag or briefcase weigh more than five pounds?
YES_ NO_

8. Do you own enough earrings, necklaces, bracelets, rings, brooches, cufflinks, and stick pins to rival a pirate’s treasure, the bulk of which you never wear?
YES_ NO_

9. Do you save makeup that has dried up, caked over, or dissolved almost to dust?
YES_ NO_

10. Do you own enough cosmetics to supply the cast of the floor show at Caeser’s Palace for a month?
YES_ NO_

PAPER-NOIA

11. Do you keep piles of newspapers and magazines you haven’t read because there’s something that you must read in each paper or magazine?
YES_ NO_

12. Do you have more than one hundred copies of National Geographic?
YES_ NO_

13. Do you keep junk mail for weeks or even months at a time? YES_ NO

14. Do you have mail-order catalogs dating back several seasons?
YES_ NO_

15. Do you have so many books that you’ve started storing them in-boxes?
YES_ NO_

16. Does the top of your desk look like the national archives? Is it so cluttered with piles of paper that you don’t have any space left to do your work?
YES_ NO_

17. Have you ever filed something on Monday and been unable to find it again on Wednesday?
YES_ NO_

18. Do you have more than one calendar for the current year? Do you save calendars from years gone by?
YES_ NO_

19. Has your telephone, electricity, or other utility been turned off, or have your credit cards been stopped, simply because you lost the bill, and not because you didn’t have the money?
YES_ NO_

20. Do you have a bulletin board with more than one layer of papers on it? Are you always running short on push pins?
YES_ NO_

21. Do you sometimes miss phone messages because whoever took the call couldn’t find a pencil to write it down with?
YES_ NO_

22. Have you ever missed an important meeting or social event because you misplaced the invitation?
YES_ NO_

23. Is the information in your address book or Rolodex current? (Are there any names that you haven’t the foggiest notion who those people are?)
YES_ NO_



CHEF-O-MATIC

24. Do you own appliances, gadgets, or gizmos that you never use?
YES_ NO_

25. Do you have uncounted brown paper bags lurking in a closet somewhere or squished into the corner between the wall and the refrigerator?
YES_ NO_

26. Did the pots and pans stage an outright revolt the last time you opened the kitchen cupboard?
YES_ NO_

27. Do you have enough plastic containers to store an entire month of leftovers, and then some?
YES_ NO_

28. Do you own more than two sets of dishes?
YES_ NO_

29. Do you have more than one can opener or spatula? Do you have other duplicate kitchen utensils?
YES_ NO_

KID STUFF

30. Do your kids own enough toys, games, and stuffed animals to outfit a toy store?
YES_ NO_

31. Are you still saving baby clothes and toys that your children Outgrew years ago?
YES_ NO_

32. Do you have two tons of papers that your child dragged home from kindergarten through high school?
YES_ NO_

JUST WANT TO HAVE FUN

33. Do you have craft supplies and half-finished projects stashed all over the house?
YES_ NO_

34. Are you a budding artist who gives art supplies squatter’s rights in every room?
YES_ NO_

35. Do you have material and Patterns you haven’t used in years?
YES_ NO_

36. Do you have hundreds of photos that still haven’t been put into albums?
YES_ NO_

37. Is sports equipment stashed all over your house, from the hall closet to the basement to your bedroom?
YES_ NO_

COLLECTOR

38. Do you have a collection of figurines, matchbooks, stuffed animals, rocks, hats, bottle caps, salt and pepper shakers, or Star Trek memorabilia? (HINT: It doesn’t matter what you collect, we’re interested in the acquisitive urge here.)
YES_ NO_

39. Do you have boxes of heirlooms—china, table linens, quilts, furniture, knickknacks—stored somewhere on the premises?
YES_ NO_

DO-IT-YOURSELFER

40. Can you lay your hands on a screwdriver or hammer within sixty seconds?
YES_ NO_

41. How about hardware — can you find the right sizes of nails and screws as well?
YES_ NO_

42. Do you tell everyone not to touch a thing in your shop because, in spite of the apparent mess, you know exactly where everything is?
YES_ NO_

43. Do you save odd scraps of lumber because they’re perfectly good, even though you have no immediate use for them?
YES_ NO_

44. Do you know where your extension cords are right now?
YES_ NO_

45. Do you ever save almost-dead batteries “for an emergency”?
YES_ NO_

HOME SWEET CLUTTER

46. Do you have enough candles to outfit the whole neighborhood in case of a power outage?
YES_ NO_

47. Are your linens stacked in precarious piles that inevitably topple over, so the neatly folded towels and sheets and placemats and pillowcases all end up in a jumbled mess?
YES_ NO_

48. Do you have old prescriptions or outdated over-the-counter remedies in your medicine chest?
YES_ NO_

49. Have you ever had to rewash clean clothes because they hadn’t been put away and someone threw dirty clothes in with them?
YES_ NO_

50. Are you saving the box the stereo or microwave came in, along with enough gift boxes to provide for an entire hospital ward next Christmas?
YES_ NO_

51. Are your holiday decorations presentable when you get them out? Or are they broken, smashed, crumpled, or otherwise woebegone, so every year YOU end up replacing them?
YES_ NO_

52. Does your hail closet burst at the seams with clutter like Fibber McGee’s?
YES_ NO_

53. Is the furniture slowly staging a hostile takeover of your house? Do you feel like you can’t turn around without bumping into something?
YES_ NO_

54 Do you have things that have needed to be repaired, mended, or cleaned for months?
YES_ NO_

55. Do you have more than one “junk drawer”? YES._ NO_

56. Is there more than one clock in any given room of your house (all showing different times)?
YES_ NO_

57. Is your attic or basement full of spare bed parts, broken lamps, old yearbooks, suitcases, uniforms, trophies, heirlooms and what else you aren’t sure?
YES_ NO_

58. Do you have maps for all fifty states in the glove box of your car?
YES_ NO_

59. Is the trunk of your car so full of junk that there’s no room for the spare tire?
YES_ NO_

60. Is your garage so full of stuff there’s no room for the car?
YES_ NO_

61. Do you have piles of things in your home or office? Are things stuffed under the bed, stacked in boxes, or packed in bags, all Waiting until you have time to sort everything and decide where to put it? (You keep telling yourself if only... if only I had the time... if only I had more closet space...if only I had a bigger office. Do you have the “if, only” excuse?
YES_ NO_

62. Do you routinely lose or misplace things amongst your clutter?
YES_ NO_

63. Have you ever bought a new version of something you already own, simply because you couldn’t find it?
YES_ NO_

64. Do you hold on to things just because someone gave them to you as a gift, and not because you actually like them?
YES_ NO_

65. Do you have so many possessions that you must rent additional storage space to store them all? YES — NO

66. Is the clutter in your life so overwhelming that you don’t know where to begin?
YES_ NO_

SCORING:

In an effort to keep things simple, give yourself one point for each YES.

IF YOUR SCORE IS:

1-10 Good. You’re probably not overwhelmed with clutter, but chances are you’ve got a few hot spots. Just turn to the category of clutter in this guide that describes your problem, and nip the clutter in the bud.

11-30 Uh Oh. Clutter is probably starting to put a permanent crease in your brow. You’ll need to study more than a few sections of this guide and make a real commitment to change.

31-50 Red Alert. You’ve got a clutter crisis on your hands. Chaos is probably a way of life for you. Read this entire guide and train yourself to live by the guidelines for conquering and controlling clutter, or clutter will certainly continue to control you.
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