Mental Math

Most people who know me know I am not a math person.  My older sister will attest to this based on long, frustrating hours spent with me on GMAT math reviews. After all, is there anyone out there, other than those NASA geeks, who really use the Pythagorean Theorem?

There is one exception to my lack of math skills.  A ratio I use when helping my clients scale down their belongings. The ratio is a universal truth in organizing. It applies to everything from clothes to garden tools to kids’ toys. It’s the 80-20 rule. In economics it refers to the division of wealth, in the world of organizing it refers to your “stuff.”

Bottom line, you use 20% of your stuff 80% of the time. And the other 80%? You guessed it…not useful.

I think I can best illustrate this with a quick look at the contents of my friend’s kitchen drawer.

Let’s divide it into two piles “useful”and “never use/ broken/done its duty, etc.”

 

Here the ratio at work:

Contents:  approx 60 items

Items useful:   12-15

Items never used/broken/done duty: 48ish

Result:

 

Think about it the next time your closet is bursting at the seams, your garage is so full you car can’t fit, or your basement is overflowing.  Take a minute and do a quick assessment. More than likely 80% of the stuff needs to go and 20% is useful.

I sure hate it when math is right.


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