A Place for Everything: Where to Keep Often-Lost Items
Many of us have certain items that often turn up missing. Different people tend to lose different things, but some common items include glasses, keys, the remote control, the cellphone or cordless phone, phone chargers, pens and pencils, and batteries. Have you spent precious minutes searching for any of these things in the past few weeks? If so, you are not alone! The key to not losing small items is twofold: First, you need to have a place for everything. Secondly, you need to get into the habit of actually putting everything in its place. The second part is usually harder than the first part; we all know where our keys are supposed to be, after all! Here are some ways to not only find spots for all of these items, but also to get into the habit of putting them away.
- Go on a decluttering mission Sometimes we lose things because we have too much clutter distracting us. Set aside a few hours or, if necessary, a whole weekend, and get those hotspots decluttered. How do you know if a surface area is a hotspot? If you have stacks of paper that you plan to go through “one of these days,” if you find things like broken crayons and dead batteries in a certain spot regularly, or if your heart sinks when you know that you have to find something that is buried on the kitchen counter or end table, then it’s fair to assume that it’s a hotspot. Since your keys, the remote control and handfuls of pens might be lost in the mayhem, it’s good to get these areas cleared off. Throw away the junk and put away the things that are not junk. Once it’s cleaned off, spending 10 minutes decluttering the area every evening or so will help to banish the mess forever.
- Think logically when it comes to finding places for everything Where do you use your pens and pencils? Probably in your home office, near the phone, and wherever the kids do their homework. The television remote should have a home on the coffee table or an end table. Wherever you charge your cellphone should be where the phone as well as the charger is stored.
- Find containers of some sort for these items Simply tossing your keys on the counter almost guarantees that they will end up under something. Having a bowl or basket for them, however, means that they have an actual home. Place a basket on your coffee table to hold all of your remote controls. Instead of throwing new batteries in the “junk drawer,” find a small bin that will fit inside of the drawer, and label it “batteries.” Set up a phone-charging station near an outlet; this could consist of a tray, a plastic shoebox or anything else you can think of that will hold both your phone and your charger.
- Set up a fine system if you live with others You could do this if you live alone, too, but it’s more effective when you have someone to “catch” you not putting your items away. Whenever a family member does not return something to its designated place, charge them a quarter. Put the quarters in a jar or can, and plan on going out for ice cream (or for dinner, if you are all habitually forgetful!) in a week or a month with the money. This is a lighthearted way to remind yourselves to put your items where they belong, and will cut down on lost belongings.
- Put it in writing It sounds silly, but writing down where things go can help you to remember not only to put them away, but where to find them again. Post your most-often lost items on a piece of paper, along with where they should go. Put this up on the refrigerator or even on your bathroom mirror. Remind yourself via post-it note to put your items away each evening. It has been said that it takes 21 days to create a habit, so just think: In three weeks, you won’t have to remind yourself to put your keys in the bowl on the counter or to put all of the pens away in the jar on your desk.
Losing items is something that affects people of every age and in every circumstance. Even the most organized among us occasionally lose things. Creating systems in order to set up good habits will go a long way in helping you to remember where your possessions belong.