Today’s organizing question is from a participant of Quick + Simple Clutter Control.

Question mark What I’ve found during my first attempt or two at a quick surface de-cluttering is that much of the clutter comes from “homeless” items. I have items that I know don’t belong in the room in which I find them but, the area where they should reside is not accessible because it to is filled up with stuff. Consequently, I move things from room to room. I know I need to perform a deep de-cluttering of these areas. I would like some suggestions on what to do about these homeless items until I can create a home for them?

This is a great question and one that comes up often in my online classes like Quick + Simple Clutter Control  and The FUNdamentals of Getting Organized. The strategy I suggest (and I do this when I work with clients, too) is to move the items closer to where they belong. When working with clients I try to hone in on where this item will ultimately live once we are able to carve out homes for everything. So if we come across a screw driver, I’ll ask if there are other tools elsewhere in the home. If there aren’t other tools elsewhere (or they’re all over the place) then the client will decide where she ultimately wants the tools to live. As we encounter tools while organizing, we start moving them to this room.

While this approach can create a bit more clutter while the organizing project is in process, we are taking steps forward to get the whole home organized and decluttered. So it is progress…even if it doesn’t look that way on the surface.

A second option is to create a transitional space, one area in your home that becomes the temporary home for the homeless items you find while decluttering. You could use a table or some shelves in your basement, for example, as your transitional space. What I suggest with this approach is that you keep the transitional space as organized as possible. Take the time to group all the tools together, and all of the books together, etc. This way you can remember what is in the transitional space and carve out homes for these items as you continue with your organizing projects.

How do you handle homeless items when you declutter and organize? I’d love to hear your ideas!

The following two tabs change content below.
Aby Garvey is a creative organizing expert and simplify 101’s founder. She has created 14 online organizing classes, which she has been teaching since 2007, helping thousands of people around the world get organized. Aby loves to help people create positive change in their lives through her online classes and organizing eBooks.

Latest posts by Aby Garvey (see all)