Is open shelving you organizing style?
Take our quiz and determine your organizing style at home.
When it comes to organizing, we all struggle with the balance of outward appearance and inner reality. Your cabinets may look clean, but are they cluttered on the inside? Your outfit looks pressed and polished, but did you pick it up off the floor this morning? You feel like you spend all your time cleaning, but does it ever really look that way? Add up your points as you answer our questions to find out your organizing style, from compulsively meticulous to fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants chaotic.
1 If we were to peek inside your fridge, what would we see?
A Leftovers from last week, expired milk, an empty jar of mustard, ketchup spilling down the sides of the bottle and that Tupperware at the very back? You’re not sure what that is. (4 points )
B A bit of everything, with just a few freshly expired or almost finished items and, more commonly, doubles of a lot of things. (3 points )
C Everything out of its packaging, pre-washed, ready to use and set perfectly in clear containers. (1 point )
D A well-organized, full fridge. You do an audit every week or two. (2 points)
2 What’s your entertaining style?
A You do takeout so you can get everything – cleaning, decorating and dinner prep – done on the same day. (3 points )
B Haphazard. Unless it’s a potluck, you don’t stand a chance of serving a full meal. (4 points )
C It’s as if Martha Stewart and Julia Child are guiding your every step. You plan weeks ahead and have very little to do the day of. (1 point )
D Things usually run smoothly, although you always forget a small detail or two. (2 points)
3 Quick, where’s that extra button for the fall coat you bought two years ago?
A Yeah right. You have no idea. (4 points )
B In the “extra button” section of your sewing kit, obviously. Where else? (1 point )
C Either your jewellery box, your sewing kit or your toiletries drawer. Or maybe you already used it? (2 points )
D Probably in one of your (many) “everything” drawers. (3 points )
4 What do you do with empty jars, tins and boxes?
A Save the best ones to repurpose into organizing tools. But, come to think of it, you barely use them and forget what you’ve got! (2 points)
B Feel guilty about it but usually just throw them out. You’re not really sure where your recycling bin even is! (4 points)
C Pile empty ones by the back door to recycle when you remember. (3 points)
D Recycle them. If you don’t have an upcycling vision for them, you don’t keep them. (1 point)
5 Your guest room is:
A Like a hotel, always ready for guests, with all but a chocolate mint on the pillow. (1 point)
B Your second bedroom, used for overspill from your closet. (3 points)
C Clean and ready for guests – provided they forgive a few boxes of old clothes you can’t part with. (2 points)
D Inhospitable. The only guests that should be staying here are the ones you don’t like! (4 points)
6 When friends lend you something, you typically:
A Return it within a few days, in the exact condition it was lent. (1 point)
B Your friends don’t lend you things anymore. (4 points)
C Add it to your pile of “stuff to be returned,” by the door for when you’re in that person’s neighbourhood. (2 points)
D Try to return it within an appropriate time but usually don’t get to it until your friends ask for the item back. (3 points)
Don't miss our other fun quiz questions on the next page.7 How often do you lose things?
A All the time. (4 points)
B You don’t like to call things “lost” – they’re somewhere in your home, you just have no idea where. (3 points)
C You only lose things when you’re in a rush – or when you’ve recently “reorganized.” (2 points)
D Never! If you return everything to its rightful place, you can’t lose. (1 point)
8 In terms of punctuality, you are:
A Often early because you give yourself ample time. (1 point)
B Consistently at least 20 minutes late because, well, you don’t know why. You just are. (4 points)
C Typically five to 10 minutes late because you often get held up or distracted on your way out or en route. (3 points)
D Always on time, give or take just a few minutes, depending on traffic and transit times. (2 points)
9 When it comes to vacation planning, you:
A Plan the first few days with openings for some spontaneous adventures (which you already have highlighted in one of the three guidebooks you’ve brought). (2 points)
B Grab your plane ticket and go! Flying by the seat of your pants is half the adventure! (4 points)
C Leave with stylish hotels booked and every day planned, right down to the restaurants you’ll eat at. You have emergency numbers in your purse, a money conversion chart in your pocket and a list of helpful phrases in your hand. (1 point)
D Book hotels and nothing else. As long as you’re secure on where to sleep, figuring out the rest in-country is fun! (3 points)
10 Describe the scene at home after hosting a big bash:
A It’s as if the perfect party didn’t even happen – you stayed up and cleaned everything the night before. (1 point)
B You’re pleased to see that the guests helped clean a bit before they left. And the rest? You’ll get to that later. (3 points)
C It’s a disaster, but to be perfectly honest, you’re not sure what part of the mess is a result of the party and what’s a result of your everyday surroundings. (4 points)
D It looks pretty good – you just have to do the big stuff like vacuum, wash the floor and take the trash out. You cleaned all the surfaces last night. (2 points)
11 Describe the state of your purse:
A It’s stuffed with anything and everything – you can barely find your own keys in there! (4 points)
B It has all the necessities – no more, no less. (1 point)
C You clean it out every few weeks and are always surprised to find some money or a receipt you were searching for. (3 points)
D It’s clean but stuffed – you cart around too many “necessities,” such as a nail kit, stain remover, sanitizer, a sewing kit, a notebook and pens, even though you barely use them all! (2 points)
12 Describe your linen closet:
A What linen closet? It’s an anything and everything closet! (3 points)
B The seasonal blankets are vacuum packed and each set of towels is tied with a coordinating ribbon. (1 point)
C The linens and towels are all there; you just wish you could perfect your folding techniques – fitted sheets in particular! (2 points)
D You don’t open that closet for fear of what might fall out. (4 points)
13 When you get dressed in the morning, you:
A Flip through your well-organized closet and try on a few outfits before deciding which to wear. You’ll have to tidy the discarded choices later. (2 points)
B Search the floor, hamper and chair beside your bed for a clean, matching, unwrinkled outfit - and only sometimes have success. (4 points)
C Pick out of last week’s pile of clean laundry you haven’t put away. (3 points)
D Simply put on the outfit you laid out for yourself the night before. (1 point)
14 It’s Sunday night and your in-laws are making a surprise visit in an hour. What do you do?
A Not much – everything looks tidy, but maybe the mirrors and floor could use a quick wash. (2 points)
B You feel guilty about the mess, but know you won’t get it under control in an hour. And, hey, they’re family, they already know you’re messy. (4 points)
C You take your standby hors d’oeuvres out of the freezer and then continue whatever it was you were already doing – your place looks perfect. (1 point)
D You run from room to room sweeping any surface clutter into drawers, cupboards and closets. You’ll worry about finding it all later. (3 points)
15 When it comes to holiday time:
A You’re a last-minute shopper, but you always get it done. Your thank-you cards may go out months later, but they always get there. (3 points)
B You try to hand-make your cards and gifts – and although you start early, you’re always frantically finishing right before it’s too late. (2 points)
C You still owe people Christmas gifts from last year. And thank-you cards? Not since you were a kid. (4 points)
D Presents are bought and wrapped months ahead of time; thank-you cards go out within two weeks of receiving gifts, like clockwork. (1 point)
WHAT YOUR SCORE SAYS ABOUT YOU:
1 The over-the-top organized (15 to 24 points)
In Courtney Cox’s character on Friends, you saw yourself; you’re so clutter conscious and storage smart that you’d make Martha Stewart jealous. You obsessively organize, compulsively clean and are reckless only in your expectation that others maintain that same standard of spotlessness.
Everything has its place and your blood boils a bit when an item isn’t where you left it. Ruled by discipline, schedules and lists, your routines run like clockwork, even on the weekends. But in a world where not everyone marches to your impeccable drum, you’re left to compromise with whomever shares your home.
So how can you cope with other people’s clutter? Create zones that allow you to keep your order away from others’ chaos and, in shared spaces, use labels to help your family remember where things go.
2 The clean clutter conscious (25 to 32 points)
You’re a collector, a curator, a crafter and a saver (we’re singing Steve Miller’s The Joker as we say this). People call you the new space cowboy (at least they should) for your constant jockeying between surrounding yourself with the knick-knacks you love and eliminating clutter for a crisp and clean home.
As a result, you’re almost a pro at repurposing your dishes, vases, cups, jars and trays to display your favourite collectibles. You’re an organizing product junkie and, admittedly, your systems are sometimes more numerous than the possessions you were trying to simplify at the start.
In short, you over-organize. Keep it straightforward and, when you can, opt for two-in-ones (all-purpose cleaners, shampoo/conditioner, day-to-night creams) to cull down the clutter a little further.
3 The state of controlled chaos (33 to 51 points)
Like the age-old saying about beauty being skin deep, organization is only surface deep for you. Your home is never ready for an impromptu visit and you fear the thought of people peeking into your disastrous drawers.
In fact, you dread digging through them yourself, as you’re bound to find anything, from batteries (used or unused, you don’t know) and stale chocolate (why couldn’t you find it during last night’s candy craving?) to an open lipstick container (that’s smeared all over the drawer) and kids’ toys (whose kids!?).
Nothing looks like it’s in its place, but, mark your words, you know where everything is and the only time you lose it is when you’ve “put it away.” You’re a visual person, so if something isn’t in sight, you’ll forget it’s there. Clear containers, open storage and colour-coded filing are key for you to visualize the path to an organized home.
4 The stylishly scrambled (52 to 60 points)
Quelle disaster, Pigpen! You might not be followed around by a proverbial cloud of dirt (like our favourite Peanuts character is), but you’re trailed by a wake of disaster, with any closets, drawers or cupboards you just looked through left open and whatever you’ve recently used left out on whatever surface you last used it.
Of course a stylish home is important to you, but the trinkets you collect are never really tidy, and you’re pretty sure your loved ones are ready to sign you up for A&E’s Hoarders.
Spotlessness may be a bit of a stretch, but by setting aside 15 minutes or a half hour every few days to tackle a task (clean out a closet, organize your desk, tidy your purse) from start to finish, the seemingly insurmountable mountain of chores slowly dwindles. There’s no simple solution – it’s about taking on tasks you can finish, and making the time to do so.