User Post: How organized are you? Take this quick quiz.

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 -- and also what a demand it makes on their time and mood to be hunting for things. Outer order contributes to inner calm.

To see how organized you are at home, take this quiz. At a minimum, you should know exactly where to find these possessions, right this minute (assuming, of course, you own them-and for the most part, 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 2007
  • 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
  • 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)
Being able to lay your hands on exactly what you want, when you want it, is very satisfying. One observation: I used to aim to put things away approximately. I'd keep something "in a kitchen drawer" or "in my office." I've found, however, that 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.

* Want to read more about clutter and happiness? Check out my blog, The Happiness Project.