If you’re always losing your keys, wallet, phone, bag, glasses, remote… Congratulations, you’re just like everybody else.
It happens to all of us and in part of losing your keys or phone or wallet is because you move these things around the most. They go where you go.
But that is only part of the problem.
If you were always focused only on where you put your keys or wallet down, you would have no problem remembering where they were, even if they were in a different place every time.
You lose your keys or phone because you don’t pay attention to what you are doing when you put them down.
It's perfectly normal, you don’t really pay attention when you put your shoes on either.
They are both routine tasks that you do without even focusing on them, usually because you’re doing at least one more thing at the same time and you’re most likely paying attention to that.
Later, when you’re looking for your lost keys, you’ll remember the other thing, but you’ll have no idea where you lost your keys.
Like every other problem, losing your keys, wallet, phone and glasses can be solved in a few different ways and we’re sure at least one of the below tips will work for you too.
1. You don’t need half the stuff you carry with you
Start with your bag and declutter it to the essentials. 5 things are easier to keep track of than 10.
Next, declutter your head. Being distracted by hypothetical events in your head will mess with what you’re actually doing in the real world.
We bet half the things you worry about are things that might happen but will most likely never occur. So stop worrying and instead focus on what’s actually happening around you.
2. Bright colours are easier to spot
Matte black or sleek white do look cool, and neutral hues are easier to coordinate with your style, but they are also much more difficult to spot.
Dark neutral tones that look great in the light will become incredibly frustrating when you have to spot them in a dark corner or inside your bag.
Add a colourful keychain to your keys and get a colourful wallet, you might get a few odd looks, but you’ll also make your life so much easier when you have to look for them.
3. Double-check before you go
You subconsciously multitask all the time, juggling between your family, work, activities, grocery shopping, holiday planning... It’s no wonder you lose or forget your things all the time.
If you’re mentally dealing with too much stuff, add a physical component to your double-check to focus your attention on what you're doing:
- Pat your pockets before you step out the door, running through a mental list of all the things that should be in them.
- Create a short song about your keys, phone, wallet, glasses and other things to run through in your head or even sing it out loud if you dare.
If you need some help, the Head, Shoulders, Knees & Toes rhyme is perfect for this. Just replace the body parts with the things you want to take with you.
4. Don’t put your things down when you're outside
Misplacing your things inside your house isn’t really a problem, you’ll find them eventually. But that might not be the case outside. Outside, your stuff might actually get permanently lost.
There are two simple rules that will save you a lot of headache in the long run:
1. Don’t put your phone down on a shelf nearby or the seat next to you on the bus
2. Don’t put your wallet down on the counters in the shop of café when you pay
If you’re super-forgetful, just don’t put your stuff down outside your home, but immediately place them back inside your pockets or bag. Too many things can distract you and make you forget about your keys.
5. Tidy up
This is just generally good advice since everybody feels better in a clean, de-cluttered environment, but it comes in extra handy when you’re trying to find something as small as your keys.
They’ll be so much easier to spot if the surfaces around you aren’t covered in clutter.
6. Create a comfortable routine
How much time do you spend every day looking for things?
You probably spend at least 5 – 7 minutes every day, looking for your lost keys, phone, wallet, glasses...
Instead, you can spend that time creating a routine that will save you precious minutes when you need them most.
Studies have shown that it can take as little 66 days to form a new habit, so after about 2 months, you’ll not only have more time, you’ll also stop stressing about where your things are.
Start small and change how you handle the one thing you lose most often. For most that will be their keys or their phone.
Always in the designated place
At home, you can place a colorful tray near the door or put up an interesting key hook, something you won’t be able to miss.
In your pockets, make sure to always put them in the same pocket. You can make it more interesting by allowing yourself to only do it with your left or your right hand (depending on which pocket you choose). That will force you to become conscious of the action.
Whatever you do, make sure it’s hard to ignore.
Talk to yourself like a crazy person
Saying things out loud increases the likelihood that you will remember them later. Saying ‘I’m putting my keys in the inner pocket of my bag’ might make you feel silly, but you’ll thank yourself later when you don’t have to look for them.
It works the other way around too; loudly reminding yourself what you need to take with you will help you as well. Saying ‘I mustn’t forget my glasses again’ might just save you an unnecessary trip back.
7. Add to the routine as you go along
Let’s start with the obvious: If you always put your keys, phone, wallet or glasses in the same place, you’ll always know where to find them.
Try your best to do that (remember, it only takes 66 days to develop a habit), and actively think about each time you fail.
Remind yourself that you failed to put your keys in the right place when you pick them up next, you’ll only have to do it a few times before you start putting them in the right place without thinking about it.