"Wanderers" are the Enemy of a Clutter-Free Home; Here's How to Handle Them

"Wanderers" are the Enemy of a Clutter-Free Home; Here's How to Handle Them

Taryn Williford
Sep 28, 2017
(Image credit: Marisa Vitale)

We're close to the end of the month, and close to the end of the September Sweep decluttering plan! All month long, we've been working through our homes to find things that are out of place, currently messing up spaces where they don't belong. All those things — from the bedroom or the basement or the living room or the attic — were either put away, set aside to find a new home, or found themselves in a box I like to call the "wanderers" box.

The wanderers box we designated on day one became the month's temporary home for things that don't have one. It was the "this-stuff-gotta-go-somewhere-I-just-don't-know-where-yet" box, to use a phrase coined by reader BYvonneR. So we're dedicating today to giving those wanderers some roots.

You can borrow the wanderers concept any time you're taking on a big clean. Give yourself the space and permission to hit "pause" on things that you're just not sure about yet. Then, when you're ready, revisit this post to help you sort through the stuff.

Today's Assignment

Go through your wanderers box.

Item by item, pick up the things in your wanderers box and decide what you want to do with them. There are a few options:

I don't want this anymore.

Easy! Toss it out to the trash or recycling, or set it into your "sell" or "donate" boxes. (We'll handle those tomorrow on the final day of the Sweep!)

I still want this.

Find a home for it. Easier said than done, I know. But answering these questions might help:

  • Where will I be when I use this?
  • Where will I look for this the next time I need it?
  • How often will I use this?

Things that don't get used very frequently can be stashed in clever spaces — tucked in the backs of cabinets and closets or stashed in rooms where you might not think they belong. Think about a roasting pan in the bedroom closet. Sure, it's a strange location, but if you only need to get at it every other Thanksgiving, maybe that's the best spot?

I'm... I'm not sure.

This one is the toughest spot to be in, to be sure. But you've been such an ace all month at deciding what to keep and what to toss, that you should proceed through your wanderers with clarity. Use the 5 questions if you need to. But ultimately, remember this: Did you miss it all month long? No? Feel good about saying goodbye.

And don't forget...

Today, grab that one last thing from the monster zone and set it into the "sell" or "donate" boxes, or straight to the trash or recycling. Tomorrow, we wrap up the sweep with one final task!

Want to catch up with Apartment Therapy's September Sweep decluttering plan? You can see all of the month's assignments right here.

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