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Do you read Oprah’s magazine? I do. I count myself among the millions of Oprah fans and read her magazine cover to cover almost every month. One of my favorite articles is on the last page of every issue. This page has an editorial from Oprah in which she talks about a topic. Typically, the article uses this phrase “what I know for sure”.

I was thinking about this the other day. There are so many things right now that none of us knows “for sure” about the global pandemic. This corona virus has us all spinning in circles.

Conflicting Information

There is a lot of conflicting information flying about regarding the corona virus.

Earlier this spring we were told that the virus can attach itself to cardboard and other material. This had many people wiping down mail order deliveries and boxes of groceries from the store before bringing them inside.

Some of my friends have space in their home to quarantine these boxes, even after wiping them down, before bringing them in to the kitchen or living area. Click here for a news story telling us that the virus cannot attach itself to cardboard and the like. What’s a person to know for sure?

Stay Safe

The news tells us how to stay safe. We are to wear a mask when we go out in public, to wear gloves and to wash our hands often. I have always known for sure that washing hands is a good idea. I did not know that the length of time is equal to the time it takes to sing “Happy Birthday”. We are told not to shake hands or to hug, or even to visit with our friends. Keep 6 feet apart whenever possible.

I understand and generally follow these safety rules. But how much longer are we going to be following these precautions? Does anyone know for sure?

Scattered Thoughts/Confusion/Disorganization

I find all of this confusing. As I said before, it’s hard to know what to believe and who to trust. When I’m confused my thoughts become scattered. As a professional organizer, I know for sure that this can lead to disorganization.

When our thoughts are scattered, we lose track of what we’re doing and forget to follow through to put things away. That is how the piles start and the clutter accumulates. It is comforting to have solid routines and habits to support you in your home when the outside environment is disrupted.

What do I know for sure?

I started thinking about things that I know for sure. These are some of the habits which support me.

I keep my keys and my wallet in the zippered section of my handbag. Even when I switch bags, which I do often because I love handbags, there is always a zippered section. My keys and wallet never get misplaced because I always keep them in the same place.

At night when I’m ready to turn out my light and go to sleep, I take off my eyeglasses and put them on the table beside my bed. I know for sure where to find my eyeglasses in the morning. They will be right there, where I left them, on the table beside my bed.

My phone also serves as my alarm clock. I plug it in at night to charge it. My phone is also on the table beside my bed. I know for sure when I my phone alarm rings in the morning that my phone is charged and that it is right there on the table beside my bed.

When I go downstairs and let my dogs outside, I know for sure that my coffee mug is in the cupboard above my coffee pot in the kitchen. I don’t have to search around the kitchen for the correct cupboard to find a cup.


There is so much out of my control right now. It is reassuring and calming for me to be in control of my environment. I love knowing for sure how to find the things that support me and make my day run smoothly.

What do you know for sure? What can you count on in your immediate environment? Reach out to me if you would like some guidance in setting up a few comforting routines to follow.

Diane N. Quintana is a Certified Professional Organizer®, Certified Professional Organizer in Chronic Disorganization®, Master Trainer and owner of DNQ Solutions, LLC based in Atlanta, Georgia. Diane teaches busy people how to become organized and provides them with strategies and solutions for maintaining order in their lives.


  • Seana Turner says:

    I completely agree that the conflicting information has been both abundant and stressful. We seem to have more data than ever, and it isn’t making anything clearer. Carrying around this uncertainty is more stressful than I believe we even realize. I imagine the impact of this time on our mental health will be a big topic in the future! Taking control of what we can, such as our environment, is probably one of the most effective ways to regain a bit of confidence. I have been very thankful for technology, providing me the certainty that I can check in each day with family members, be available to clients who are not ready for in-person work, and continue with many things that matter to me, such as networking groups and worship.

  • Diane- With the phrase, “what I know for sure,” you are offering us great comfort in a time of uncertainty. Because along with that phrase is the other one, “I have NO idea!” And these days, there is more not knowing than knowing. In terms of the pandemic, the news and advice continue to morph and change daily. That IS the new normal.

    But learning how to find our own sureness and calm in the face of uncertainty, won’t change the unknown. But it will provide us with footing in this unsettling time. You’ve brought up some basic things that any of us can do and derive calm and pleasure from- knowing where to find your coffee mug, keys, or glasses. I love that!

    Along with those, for me, some surety comes from the start and end of each day. All the constants in between are the icing on the cake.

    • Diane Quintana says:

      Thank you, Linda. Someone I know always replies, “I woke up today, it is a good day.” when asked how he is. I love that one other constant is that we get to try again each new day.

  • How right you are. The pandemic has been such a fluctuation of information even if you remember it clearly. (At least I see you’re wearing your sunglasses. As this is a new one, the virus can enter the eyes.)
    Here’s what I have completely learned. I thought I knew it but it’s become very real the last three months. Everything can change in the blink of an eye. It can and it has.
    Having control over your own environment does give you a sense of comfort and calm. There’s no place like home.

    • Diane Quintana says:

      How right you are, Ronni! There’s no place like home – let’s make it the best it can be!