Sounds simple no? Based on my experience if an item is dedicated to a home that is logical and is grouped with like items, it is more likely to find its way home again. Let me explain.
For years I merchandised retail stores of all types and sizes. The number one struggle, besides merchandising to generate sales, was to create a space where the staff would be able to maintain the set up and return items to their homes after a customer has tried them on. Sometimes that home would be dictated by category/commodity, lifestyle or colour, depending on the look and feel I was tasked creating. If the placement of product, or the home, made sense to the sales associates the store would look better and be easier to maintain. If the store is better looking and better maintained the customer reacts positively to it creating an increase in sales and productivity.
This same theory adapts perfectly to your own home. If something in your house is put in its perfect home everyone that lives there should easily be able to find it and return it that place. This is a big reason why I like to have all items that are the same commodity or type grouped together. For example all tools, like screwdrivers, should be kept together. When you need to quickly tighten or repair something you don't want to looking in several places for the what you need. Also if all tools are together and a family member comes to you looking for something you can direct them to that one location.
If only the merchandiser of a store knows where everything is that's bad business. A customer should be able to approach any employee looking for something and be pointed in the right direction, if not a sale will be lost. This loss of productivity can also be measured in your own house when items don't have a home. It can measured in something tangible like hours spent looking for things in more than one place. This can be measured in terms of money spent on buying multiples of items you already own but couldn't find when you needed them. Money can also be wasted when something is perishable and is in place where it is not accessible and forgotten. The proper home for something saves you not just time but money.
What is the proper home? Well that depends on you and what you own. How do you truly know what you own? The best way is to work through your home using the order laid out by Marie Kondo in her best selling book "the life-changing magic of tidying up" and highlighted in her Netflix program "Tidying Up With Marie Kondo". The basis of her method where you take the plunge, pull and pile all the items of a category into one place and decide what stays is the magic. You will never end up with things in multiple places again since all must be gathered from your space in one shot. You will know where it all is and where it will all be stored once you finish discarding. You will no longer lose anything in your space again. When someone comes to you looking for a screwdriver, item of clothing, document, book, photo, anything at all, you will know exactly where it is. It's a stress reliever that we could all use!
Now the accountability of putting things back in to their homes lies on you. It takes just a bit of self motivation to stay on track. It also takes a dose of discipline to hold your family members accountable to returning items to their homes. You will often hear "but I don't know where it goes!" when you ask someone to return something to it's home. You can either accept that or tell them where it goes. From my experience in training retail teams around the world; telling someone kindly and with the intention of training where something goes will help them learn its home. If they learn where the home is and they physically place it there once, it will support them in remembering where that home is, and return it again the next time they use it. Coach with kindness and patience and they will learn. You want to be the trainer in this situation, do not be the merchandiser in the messy store that cleans up after customers and sales associates alike, and is the only one who knows where things are and where they go.
If your space is frustrating you and you don't know what you own anymore or where it all is consider working one on one with a Certified KonMari Consultant. There are over 200 of us now, in over 2 dozen countries, and I am proud to be one of them. Having someone come into your home can be a bit scary, but they come with kindness and compassion. All the things in your home will have a home at the end of the journey. Time and money will be saved and how you spend that is entirely up to you.