When uncluttering a space, you typically find a handful of objects that belong someplace else in your home, or don’t even belong to you. In your kitchen you might find a tape dispenser that should be stored in your office, or you’ll find a tool in your garage that actually belongs in your neighbor’s garage.
There is a temptation when you find these out-of-place items to stop what you’re doing and return the object to its far-flung location. Unfortunately, abandoning your work can often result in you sitting on your neighbor’s back porch enjoying a beer and procrastinating instead of keeping on task with your uncluttering activity.
Instead of leaving the room, simply put the out-of-place item into a clean clothes hamper. Then, after you’re finished clearing the clutter and organizing the space, you can attend to the significantly out-of-place objects.
Take care of the items that belong in your home first. Group the items in the hamper by area of your home. Next, starting on the top floor of your home, work your way down to the basement, or, if your home is all on one level, work clockwise from the main entrance. Maintaining this pattern will help you to do as little back-tracking as possible.
After the items in your home are returned to their storage places, you’ll need to create a plan of action for items that belong to other people. If there is just one item, take care of it right then (if it’s a decent hour — but if it’s the middle of the night, you may want to wait). If there are multiple items, pull out your calendar and schedule the times when you’ll return the objects to their owners. Resolve to have all items returned within five days so the objects stop cluttering up your home.
The same thing can be done in an office environment, but instead of a clothes hamper you can just use an empty cardboard box. After you’re finished with your office uncluttering project, walk through your workplace and deliver items to your co-workers.