How to stop losing things, from your keys and textbook to that one sock that always disappears
Six tips to help you keep track of those things that “grow legs” and can no longer be found
When our belongings “disappear”, many of us refuse to take responsibility for the fact we’re to blame for misplacing it. But there are some easy ways to get organised, and stop losing your things once and for all.
A place for everything
Take five minutes to write a list of the things you lose most often. Then assign each of the items on your list a home and make sure you always return them to that home after you’ve finished using them. That way you know exactly where to look when you need them.
You can keep multiple items together, but remember, the more items you add to one place, the harder it will be to find them again.
Trick your brain
Keeping your things in the right place takes a lot of self-discipline and is easier said than done. It takes about three weeks to form a habit but you can speed up the process by repeatedly visualising yourself placing each item where they belong.
This self-deceiving trick will fool your brain into thinking you’ve practised the habit longer than you actually have.
Minimise losses when you change your routine
We usually lose our personal belongings when we experience a change in our daily routine, like when we wake up late or go somewhere new. It is important to stay extra aware of your things during these times, but the truth is you are often too distracted by the novelty to do so. For this reason, you should try to gather and prepare your things the day before when your head is in a better place.
A useful tip for those of you who change your bag often is to keep all your important things in a smaller bag that you can easily move from one bag to another in one go.
Make a checklist of things you tend to forget at the end of the day and set an alarm on your watch or phone to remind you to pick them up before you leave. For example, if you always leave your umbrella in the lecture theatre, set an alarm around the time classes end so you can be reminded to grab it before you go home.
There might be times when your alarm won’t work so it’s good to make a habit of always checking an area before you leave it to make sure you haven’t left anything behind.
Reduce your clutter
Clutter is one of the main reasons why we lose things or have a hard time finding them. Try to build a routine of tidying your room or dorm and desk so that they can be clear of any unnecessary items. Not only will this help to reduce losses, but it will also help to clear your mind.
For those who like working in organised chaos, you might want to at least help yourself keep track of the items most prone to getting lost stand out; for example, by adding a big neon key chain to your keys.
Better safe than sorry
In this digital day and age, the things most precious to us are usually not physical objects. We’re talking about that 8,000-word thesis you’ve been working on for the past few months or that album of photos you took on your last trip. Remember to always save your work and make a backup (and backup your backups).