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Chapter 1: Twenty Questions

Enquiring minds want to know, right? I'm a Queen with a mission -- to help you find out what will work best to keep your life clutter-free and organized. Just go down this list and answer these twenty questions. And be honest. We don't give out demerits. This isn't about right and wrong. It's about identifying your strong points-knowing what you're good at, what you have a knack for -- as well as finding out where you need to improve your clutter-containing skills. Just remember: No matter how big your home, the biggest room is usually room for improvement!

1. Are you constantly running late?

· Never · Sometimes · Often

2. Do you have trouble letting go of objects that have long outlived their use?

· Never · Sometimes · Often

3. Are you using eyeliner and lipstick to write down messages because you can't seem to find a pencil or pen in your drawers?

· Never · Sometimes · Often

4. During the last six months, have you had to search for your car keys...

· Never · Sometimes · Often

5. Do you organize and reorganize, but always end up with the same amount of stuff?

· Never · Sometimes · Often

6. Have you ever run the baby's formula through the automatic coffee maker because the microwave is used for storage and you couldn't find a pan?

· Never · Sometimes · Often

7. Have you ever missed a doctor appointment or social engagement because you just plain "forgot" all about it?

· Never · Sometimes · Often

8. Is your closet filled to the rafters with clothing and shoes? Does it contain clothes of all sizes?

· Never · Sometimes · Often

9. How many times during the past year have you given unneeded items to charity?

· Never · Sometimes · Often

10. Have you ever tucked in a pile of clothes because there is so much stuff on the bed you can't tell if your child is in there or not?

· Never · Sometimes · Often

11. Have you ever found an item you needed -- after you'd purchased its replacement?

· Never · Sometimes · Often

12. Do the kids think that everybody turns their underwear inside out on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday to get an extra day's wear out of it?

· Never · Sometimes · Often

13. Are there papers on your desk that you haven't looked through for over a month?

· Never · Sometimes · Often

14. Do your neighbors come to your house first every time there is a scavenger hunt?

· Never · Sometimes · Often

f0 15. When you start cleaning and organizing your house, do you tend to get sidetracked and start another project?

· Never · Sometimes · Often

16. Do you generally know what time it is, or do you usually need to consult your watch?

· Never · Sometimes · Often

17. Is your idea of clearing off the countertop sliding everything off it into the wastebasket or drawer?

· Never · Sometimes · Often

18. Does your car sit outside because you need your garage for storage?

· Never · Sometimes · Often

19. Are you able to shut all of your dresser drawers without clothes hanging out the sides?

· Never · Sometimes · Often

20. Do you have to remove dirty pots and pans from your oven before you can use it?

· Never · Sometimes · Often


Now it's time to check your responses. For each time you answered NEVER, give yourself 1 point. For each SOMETIMES answer, give yourself 2 points, and give yourself 3 points for each time you answered OFTEN. Now add up your score and let's see how you did.

If you scored 20 to 35 points, you are indeed a royal organizer. Good for you! Use this book to help you hone your best organizing instincts and make yourself the Queen of your own castle. You probably have a lot of the basics in use, so now's the time to pay attention to the small organizing details you may previously have overlooked. Fine-tune your storage systems and banish clutter once and for all, and make sure you are spending enough time on evaluating and eliminating.

If you scored 36 to 45 points, you fit into the largest group of clutter conquerors. Constantly trying to improve, you nevertheless feel like you are running on a treadmill as the clutter continues to grow...and grow....You're not part of the remedial organizing group (see the next paragraph), but you still have a ways to go to get your palace organized and clutter-free. Why don't you start with the chapters that pertain to your biggest problems? You'll make great strides if you really question and take stock of the areas you want to conquer -- find out what's not working before you come up with solutions. Take it in small stages and work through your clutter crisis area by area.

If you scored 46 to 60 points, then, yes, let's just say it -- you have a clutter problem. A BIG ONE! But we're not going to lock you in the dungeon and throw away the key (there probably wouldn't be room for you, anyway). Chances are you look at the clutter accumulating around you and feel defeated before you begin, and so haven't begun. Until now. Let me walk you through this book.
Select a small area to start your clutter busting so that you can step back and appreciate your efforts almost immediately. Once you begin and get a feel for conquering clutter (even in the smallest way), you'll begin to believe in order again. Remember, it took time to collect all of that clutter, so it will take time to remove it. Read on to elevate your royal status in your home and eliminate some of the stress that you deal with every day. And don't get discouraged. Rome wasn't organized in a day!

Copyright © 2002 by Linda Cobb

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