Organising things that have a permanent home isn't that difficult. Assign a space and be disciplined about returning the item. What about transient, outgoing items like library books, loaners from friends, and so on? Create a station for them.
The items themselves aren't permanent, in fact they'll all be on their way soon enough to the library, the video store, the donation bin at the local charity store soon enough. In the mean time however, you'll be able to keep a much tidier home if these homeless items aren't roaming free.
At design and organisation blog The Red Chair, they advocate creating a permanent station for your transient items. Their solution is to use some basic wire storage cubes and cardboard banker's boxes which keeps the total cost of their station at around $US25. You may opt to go for a more elegant solution for your home or to stash your station in the hall closet out of sight.
If you have a similar station already, we'd love to hear about it in the comments.