Often when I am helping people declutter, we first work on a very basic sort – you know, the one that has boxes labeled “Keep in this room”, “Goes elsewhere”, “Donate”, “Trash”, “Recycle/shred.” Sometimes when I pick up an items and ask, “Where does this go?”, I’ll get one of the following responses:
Oh, it is used all over the home
I don’t know – wherever
Where do you think it should go
These are the homeless items. They are just left where they were last used or moved somewhere because they were in the way, but are never really put “away.” Some of the most frequent homeless items are:
laptops or IPads
Homeless items generate clutter and take up valuable time when one has to go on a grand search for it. These homeless items also lessen your awareness of your space.
Even if items “float” throughout your house, they should have a final resting place or “home” when you want to clean up or prepare for guests. Finding “homes” can be like working a puzzle. Some clues to the puzzle might be:
Where is it mostly used? (put it on a shelf or basket nearby)
Who needs this item unusually? (find out what makes sense to them)
Why is it getting dumped where we now find it? (maybe the logical home is too crowded)
There is no “right” answer to finding a “home” but it should be a logical place for the person who needs the item. everyone should know where to look for the items and where to put the items away. So if keys go on a hook or bowl near the door, or if mail goes on a landing pad near the door or into desktop folders, or shopping bags go on a hook by the kitchen door or back to the car, does not matter. Just have agreement and consistency.
You will find that your uncluttered home looks so much more spacious and relaxing. You will find that cleaning up becomes so much simpler. And perhaps, most importantly, you will find less stress and tension because you do not have to spend hours looking for your stuff.
Jonda S. Beattie Professional Organizer