Is Your Home Helping You Thrive or Dive?

The way you live in your home and the items you use to decorate, improve and clean it can have a significant impact on your well-being. Discover how to identify the good from the bad and how to create a home that is supportive to your goals, mood, health and day-to-day tasks.

Break out a pen and notepad and jot down your answers! They’ll be scored below as you make it through all three sections.

Section One: Symbolism

1.  Which answer best describes your decorating to-do list?

A.   It looks like I just moved in: bare walls, no décor, belongings are still in boxes.

B.   I have completed a few decorating tasks such as placing furniture, rugs or lighting but have numerous  unfinished projects.

C.   Most of my home is decorated how I like, but there are always a few things I need to do.

D.   My home is complete. There is nothing left to add, fix or move around.

2.Which answer best describes the artwork in your home?

A. Inspiring, Beautiful, Uplifting

B. Ordinary, Neutral, Typical

C. Dull, Lifeless, Lackluster

D. Shocking, Jarring, Provocative

3. The photographs in your home make you feel:

            select from either Column A or Column B

A                  or           B

1. Happy                      Sad

2. Nostalgic                Regretful

3. Connected              Alone

4. Joyful                      Depressed

5. Secure                     Insecure

4. True or False:

___1. Most of the décor in my home represents my personality.

___2. When people visit my home, I hear comments such as, “This house is so you!”

___3. When given a decorative item that I do not like, I have no problem giving it  away to Goodwill or someone else who might like it.

___4. When I look around at my home, I am pleased with how it looks.

___5. My family (or roommates, friends, etc.) eat together at the dinner table nearly every night.

___6. I make my bed every day.

___7. I update or refresh my home décor every so often.

5. When you first walk into your home, how do you feel?

A. Very anxious, agitated, highly uncomfortable.

B. Somewhat irritated, ill at ease.

C. Mostly calm. It depends upon what is happening in my life.

D. Extremely relaxed, comfortable, peaceful.

Section One Answers:                                Total for section one: _____

1.       A= 1 B=2 C=3 D=4

2.      A=4  B=3  C=2 D=1

3.     Every A chosen = 2    Every B  chosen=0

4.     True = 2 point  False= 0                                     

5.     A=4  B=3  C=2 D=1

Section One reveals what the symbolism in your home is saying to you. Every object you choose to surround yourself with is energetically imbued with a meaning. Your artwork, photographs, collectibles and décor choices can either support and uplift your mood or subconsciously bring you down.

11 or below: Time to Re-Evaluate

Look closely at the meaning behind your surroundings. Are you holding on to furniture or decorative items that you do not like but just cannot part with? Learn to let it go. You will feel lighter and love your space more. Does your home represent your interests and those who live there? Involve all family members in some way with the decorating process. If you have not updated your surroundings in a while, ask yourself if you are living in the past. Go room to room and try to look at every item with fresh eyes. If each piece does not uplift, inspire or motivate you, it’s time to let it go and replace it with objects that do. When you begin to notice the connections and implement these changes, your home will start to feel more positive, supportive and inspiring.

12-24: You Are On Your Way

Your surroundings could use a little boost. Go room to room, closely evaluate every object and determine exactly what it means to you. Keep only the decorative objects that strengthen and fortify your spirit. If it does not serve a purpose, support a goal, inspire a good thought or recall a positive memory, let it go. Learn to surround yourself with objects that make you happy and hold a special meaning.

25-36: Living in Inspiration

Well done! Your home appears to be an encouraging oasis of inspiration and support for you and those who live there. Keep in mind, however, that it is okay to have some incomplete decorating tasks because much like ourselves, our home is an evolving work in progress.

Tip Box: Remember, it is not only the significance of the items that you surround yourself with, but also the way in which you live with them. By making the bed every morning, you are setting the tone for a prepared day. When the family eats together often, you are creating better household communication. By implementing meaningful domicile routines, you are creating habits of a happy home.

Section Two: Organization

 1.How organized are you?

A. Extremely disorganized. Clutter is everywhere. I tend to hoard everything.

B.  Fairly disorganized.

C. On the surface, I look organized, but hidden areas are a mess.

D.  Somewhat organized.

E. Exceptionally organized. Everything has a place. I have no clutter.

2. How often do you lose essential items like keys, cell phone or paperwork?

A. Several times per day.

B. Once a day.

C.  Once a week.

D.  Once every few weeks.

E. I rarely lose important items.

3. Mark every organizational system you have in place to do the following:

Pay bills

File paperwork


Schedule appointments

Reminders for events

Mail sorting



___1. I tend to procrastinate, arrive late or forget appointments.

___2. I could tell a stranger where to find anything in my home.

___3. I often feel overwhelmed, stressed and that my life is chaotic.

___4. I tidy up messes as I go along through out the day.

___5. I tend to have to frequently pay late fees

___6. I make sure to put items back in their designated place after I use them.

Section Two Answers

This section reveals how organized you are and how efficiently you are dwelling in your home. When we cannot find certain items, we waste time, and become more stressed and frustrated. When we have systems in place for day-to-day tasks, designated places for frequently used items and clutter at a minimum, simply put, life is easier.

1. A=1 point.  B = 2 points.  C = 3 points.  D= 4 points. E = 5 points

2. A=1 point.  B = 2 points.  C = 3 points.  D= 4 points. E = 5 points.

3. Two for every answer selected.

4. Tally 3 points for every True that is even numbered. Zero for everything else.                          

                                               Total for Section Two______

2-10 points: Domestic Disarray

Now is the time to implement some order into your life. Start small by cleaning out a junk drawer, establishing a routine of putting your keys in the same spot everyday or purchasing the right organizational materials for filing paperwork. As you accomplish these tasks and set up new habits, become aware of the sense of order you have created and how that translates into less anxiety in the household. Gradually move on to bigger projects and know that an organized house is a happy house.

11-22 points: A Household of Hits and Misses

You have some systems in place, but they are not completely serving you well. It is normal to have messes or misplaced items on occasion, but when they impede you from functioning optimally, you are making your life much harder than it has to be. Although it takes some effort to implement initial orderliness into your home, the rewards are well worth it. By clearing the clutter and employing effective systems for day-to-day tasks, you are decreasing anxiety and increasing time spent on better activities than looking for misplaced items.

23-35 points: Order in the House!

Good job! Your home is shining in efficacy. You know the value of a well organized home. Keep in mind however that an overly controlled household can be stifling and no fun. If occasional messes occur, learn to go with flow and allow for a little creative chaos now and then.

Tip Box: Instead of continuing the clutter cycle by giving others “things” as gifts, try giving experiences such as tickets to an event, a restaurant gift certificate or registering them for a class.

Section Three: Health

1. Choose answers that best describe aspects of your home from either column A or Column B.

A                            or                    B

Cotton, linen, silk, jute              Acetate, nylon, polyester

Plants or flowers                         No live foliage

Reclaimed materials                  Press board, plastics

Appliances High Efficiency      Antiquated

Well ventilated, clean air          Mold, radon or asbestos

2. The shoe policy in my home is:

A. I never wear shoes in the house and I ask guests to do the same.

B.  Most of the time I remove my shoes before entering the house and so do others.

C.  Only if shoes are very dirty or wet they are removed before entering.

D. I wear shoes all the time in the house.

3. Cleaning products in my home are mostly:

A. Labeled with warnings such as Danger, Poison, Toxic or Flammable.

B. Store bought cleaning supplies that may contain bleach or ammonia.

C. “Green” cleaning products that I buy.

D. Mixtures that I make myself using baking soda, lemon juice, hydrogen peroxide or white vinegar.

4. True or False

I use the following in my home:

___1. A HEPA filter vacuum.

___2. Vinyl shower curtains, vinyl cushion covers or vinyl flooring.

___3. Furniture that is mostly second hand, recycled, reclaimed or refurbished.

___4. Carpeting and/or upholstery treated with an optional stain resistant treatment.

___5. Paint with low VOC’s (Volatile Organic Compounds).

___6. A great deal of plastic, PVC, plywood, pressboard and synthetic materials.

5. Possible electronic devices in the bedroom can be an alarm clock, television, cable box, cordless phone, cell phone charger, DVD player, MP3 player, stereo, computer (lap top or tablet), printer, scanner, fax portable heater, air conditioner, electric blanket, etc.

What is the number of electronic devices in your bedroom?

A.   Zero to one.

B.   Two to three.

C.   Four to six.

D.   Seven or more.

Section Three Answers

1.     Column A answers are two points. Zero for column B answers.

2.     A = 4 points. B = 3 points. C =2 points D=1 point.

3.     A= 1 point B= 2 points  C=3 points  D=4 points.

4.     Every even numbered False equals 3 points. Zero for everything else.

5.     A = 4 points. B = 3 points. C =2 points D=1 point.

Total for Section Three____

0-10: Destructive Domicile

Hazardous, stagnant, toxic and chemical ridden are not healthy elements in the home. Start by removing your shoes before entering the house, then remove airborne particles with a HEPA (High Efficiency Particulate Air) air filter and use a HEPA vacuum. If you are low on natural light, increase the wattage in your light bulbs. Synthetic fabrics, stain resistant treatments, particleboard and vinyl all emit levels of harmful gases. Try to choose sustainable wood and natural fibers such as linen, cotton, jute, silk or hemp. Bleach and ammonia are highly hazardous, especially when mixed together which can cause permanent lung damage. Either purchase eco-friendly cleaning products or make your own. (See “So-So Surroundings” below for home remedies)

11-21: So-So Surroundings

Ensure that ventilation is adequate; buy low or no VOC products. Houseplants are an effective way to clean the air (particularly snake plants, philodendrons, spider pants, ivy and rubber plants) while adding a source of vibrancy and life to your home. Making your own “green” cleaning supplies is easy and cheap. Use hydrogen peroxide instead of chlorine bleach to disinfect. Use a tablespoon of lemon juice or white vinegar in a quart of water as an all-purpose household cleaner. Use a teaspoon of lemon juice in a pint of vegetable oil for furniture polish.

21-31: Robust Living

Your home is a sanctuary, safe from the pollutants of the outside world. The clean, green choices you have made are not only making your home a healthier and happier place, but the planet too. Keep challenging yourself and ask how you can continue to make this world safer for future generations. There is always more that each one of us can do.

Tip Box: Our shoes track in an estimated 85% of the dirt in our homes. Remove them before entering and you are also cutting down on 60% of lead dust levels in your home according to the Environmental Protection Agency.

Add all three section totals together for a grand total.

Section One _____

Section Two _____

Section Three_____

Grand Total: ________

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