How many times a week do you forget or lose your keys, your wallet, your phone or even your whole bag? If losing our keys is so common and it happens to almost everyone, why haven’t we found a permanent solution yet?
The problem doesn’t seem to be the losing itself, it’s what you do to make it happen. Since your day-to-day life doesn't change that much, you do most of your daily activities half automatically, and usually, more of them at the same time too.
Ever come home while you’re on the phone, and have no idea where to find your keys? Ever park your car in a parking lot and then almost immediately forget where you parked?
While we multitask, the things we do aren’t always done consciously and later, we have no recollection of what was done.
10 Lost Key Searching Tricks (that you can also use for other lost objects)
Figuring out where your keys are takes time that we usually don’t have and it’s almost always stressful. Here’s a few hacks you can try to make finding lost keys short and sweet.
1. Calm Down
Stop whatever you are doing and take a few deep breaths. Clear your thoughts and focus on looking for your keys instead of letting your emotions get the best of you.
Think about what you were doing when you put the keys down or think about what you were feeling to add some memory-jogging context.
2. Check Your Pockets
Make sure you didn’t unconsciously put your lost keys in a different pocket. Check the pockets on your jacket, pants, your backpack and any other bag you had on you when you lost your keys too.
3. Retrace Your Steps
Don’t just think about what you were doing, actually go through the motions and retrace your steps. You could find your misplaced keys or at least remember where you put them.
4. The Eureka Zone
Michael Solomon, a self-proclaimed findologist and the author of How To Find Lost Objects notes that some objects are actually in the immediate vicinity of where you left them, but ‘[...] have undergone a displacement—a shift in location that, although minor, has served to render them invisible.’
He claims that most objects are within 18 inches of the original spot, and calls this space the Eureka Zone. All you need to do is determine this zone and then check through it meticulously.
5. Check Messy Spots First
A study from the University of Aberdeen concluded that we prefer to check tidy places because they’re easier for our mind to process, even though chances are the lost keys or wallet were misplaced in a more cluttered area.
Focus on the cluttered areas instead and use your peripheral vision to check the tidier areas as you go along.
6. A Different Perspective
Don’t stand in the middle of the room, like you usually would, instead change your perspective; sit down, crouch or stand on a chair. A change of perspective will force you to concentrate on what you’re seeing and make keys easier to spot.
7. Be Systematic
If you’re sure that your keys were lost in a certain spot, check through that entire space, section by section. Make sure to look closely and check under furniture, inside drawers or under heaps of clutter. Clear your head and really concentrate on what you’re doing.
8. Clean Up
If you’re not in a hurry, take time and clean up. You’ll probably find your misplaced keys, wallet or phone in the process of clearing away the clutter.
9. Give Up
Just temporarily, give up and let your keys stay lost. Chances are that as soon as you stop actively looking for them, the answer will pop into your head without even trying.
10. Ask Your Family Or Roommates
You’re not crazy – sometimes things actually do move on their own or rather, with the help of other people living in your home. Ask the people living with you if they saw or moved your keys and you just might save yourself some time searching.
Bonus: Prevent Losing Your Keys
When we lose and then find our keys, wallet or phone, we usually swear to never do this again and to always leave our things in the same spot from now on. In all honesty, you'll probably make the same mistake the next time around again.
The below suggestions will take a little conscious effort but try and see if either of them work for you:
Make yourself put things in the exact same spot every time instead of somewhere approximately in the same area.
Become mindful of your daily activities. Before you leave your home, office or car, take an attentive look around and see if you can spot anything you forgot.