'You can't organize clutter!'
I have lost the thread where another forum member said this, but it is (one of) my new mantras. Or, I hope that if I keep saying it, it will sink in.
It is just so true. One of the methods of tidying up and surface-clearing or even drawer-clearing that often works for me is to remove everything and put it in a shallow box, so the surface area is immediately "clear," which gives a good feeling, and then I think what goes back and I do the put-5-things-away-each day from the box.
Then I begin to notice that after a flurry of putting things where they belong, the box is left with a group of things, the "messy bits". I've sometimes looked at them for days. Of course sometimes there is an important item and it needs a home, and the task is then to decide or create the place it goes, so it can go there, and you have to be careful not to throw out a bit that you don't recognize but turns out to be a key part to your expensive whatever.
But many times these bits are simply the clutter, and they've been circulating around for weeks or days because that's just what they are, and they need to GO.
One of my 2012 goals is to be able to "see" these messy bits for what they are more readily and get rid of them.