52 Weeks: #40 Create an I’m Outta Here Shelf

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Reading AlexisAnne’s blog post last week about how she went around her home and collected all the things she’d borrowed from others and made a point of returning it all is my inspiration for today’s 52 week’s topic.  It reminded me of tip #39 in my book, Clutter Rehab, where I talk about creating a space or shelf in your home as a designated spot for all the things that need to leave your home.  I like to call it my “I’m Outta Here” shelf and here is why I think it’s so important to have one:

Without this shelf I would be lost!  This is a shelf near my entryway that I use for all the things that don’t belong in my house but need to go somewhere else: items that need to be returned to the store, a friend’s plate leftover from the last dinner party, magazines I want to pass along to someone else, letters to be mailed, etc.  The trick is to get into two habits:  to put stuff on the shelf that has to go out and to actually check the shelf before leaving the house to see if there’s an errand that can be run on your route.  I’ve made it part of my before bed “ten minute tidy” to round-up these misplaced items and add them to the shelf so they’re ready and waiting for me the next day when I head out to do my errands.

In other words even other people’s stuff you have needs a home in the interim.  This week’s challenge is to collect all these items from around your home that need to go somewhere else outside of your home.  Make it a point to return everything and then create a space/shelf somewhere near your entryway as a designated space for future items that need to leave.  The less places you have to look as you are going out the door, the more likely it will be that you actually follow through with returning them.

Now get going!  Don’t forget to come back here and let me know in the comments what types of stuff you found that need to be returned! 🙂


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17 Responses to 52 Weeks: #40 Create an I’m Outta Here Shelf

  1. 2
    Betsy E says

    Does this include even husband’s tools he leaves in the basement, when they belong in the garage? 🙂 When I get home, it’s tops on my list!

    • 2.1
      Bethany LeBedz says

      HAHAHAHAHA, Betsy!!! I’d love to see the answer to this one, too!!

    • 2.2
      Laura says

      LOL…as long as he is okay with it 🙂

      • Betsy E says

        You two are hilarious! No, he doesn’t care. And he doesn’t even realize where they are! He has tools EVERYWHERE. I organize them and he just puts them wherever he has time to put them. (SO organized with his business, but NOT SO with his work at home.)

  2. 3
    Bethany LeBedz says

    OK, question for Laura: My door is in my kitchen and the only spot right beside it is my kitchen counter. I hate clutter on my counter! I have hooks behind the door for our keys (ok, just mine; hubby won’t use it!), but that’s it. Where could I put a shelf or a basket?

    • 3.1
      Laura says

      Maybe you could utilize the back of your door better. Depending on the items you have to go out perhaps a cloth magazine holder of some kind (hung with command hooks) would do the trick.

      • Bethany LeBedz says

        That’s a thought, but it would have to be short so that it could be hung underneath the glass insert in the door. I’ll have to look at holders.

  3. 5
    Tammy M. says

    I have been working on this since September~! When I was preparing for the boys to go back to school. I always have a bag of donations I am filling up to take weekly, and a bag of resale clothing, then a bag of give to family members. I use the brown grocery bags, which do not fit on my shelf by the door, so they are always in the way in front of the coat closet door right next to the front door.
    But at least I am getting things given away! : )

  4. 7
    [email protected] says

    Thanks for the shout out! I feel so much better now that all of my “borrowed” things are out the door- and the way I accomplished it was exactly as you suggested- I made a place near the door to put everything so I couldnt’ ignore it any longer!

  5. 8
    raven says

    I had one of these for the longest time, and it’s a really sad reason why we don’t have one anymore.

    The only person I routinely borrowed stuff from was my mom, and she passed in June. For the occasional borrowed or left items now from others, I have a small basket by the garage door. It’s been empty since July though, so I’ve started using it as a “mail out” basket for packages/returns.

  6. 9
    Martha (MM) says

    I’m giving a little tour of some area in my new home today. I would love feedback from your readers.Thanks for hosting Laura 🙂

  7. 10
    Messy Wife says

    I have to admit, I have so much stuff which is supposed to be somewhere else that one shelf would not be enough for 1/10 of it, LOL! But not to worry, I have plan to remove them in stages. Perhaps, on Monday, I can link to my next post on what I think need to be done before that.

  8. 11
    Laura says

    I have a section by my front door. Unfortunately, nothing ever goes out. It actually only has stuff that needs to go out though, so that’s a good step for me.


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