Tuesday Tip: Lose Fewer Items by Putting Organized Systems in Place
By Yehudit Garmaise
Instead of spending the 60 hours per year and $2.7 billion that most Americans spend looking for and replacing lost items, according to a survey conducted by Pixie Technologies, we can put some systems in place to easily find what we need.
1. Choose regular homes for as many things as possible when they are not in use: In your front entryway, hang a small rack with hooks for keys and larger hooks for kids’ backpacks. Place a small basket or a glass bowl on a table near the front door to store items you grab as you rush out the door. Always return your passport and other important identification and documents to the exact same place. Instead of allowing messy piles of papers to accumulate around the house, sort and file all papers daily or weekly.
2. Before heading to sleep, take a few minutes to return any objects lying around to their homes, so everything will be where you can easily find it in the morning rush. To prevent clutter, which makes necessary things harder to find, throw into the recycling bin: any junk mail, old papers, newspapers, and magazines.
3. Put things away immediately as soon as you are done with using them. Get out of the habit of just dropping things wherever you are when you are done with them. For instance, never leave rings and bracelets on kitchen counters when doing the dishes. Instead, get in the habit to return all jewelry right back into jewelry boxes before doing anything else.
4. Organize your seforim so that each type of book has a particular place: So when you need or want a particular kid’s book, a good fiction read, or a particular sefer, you know just where to look.
5. Take a photo of your parking spot number and location to help you find your car later in crowded parking lots or streets. You can also take photos of other things of which you frequently lose track.
6. Say things out loud to remind yourself where you put things down. If you have to get up quickly at work, for instance, tell yourself quietly, “I am leaving my tape recorder right here.” Saying things out loud helps you remember thoughts much better than just thinking them. People who forget things in the stress of going through airport security, can say out loud, “I will remember to grab my phone [belt, or other things.]
7. Choose bright colors and easy-to-grab holders that help make your belongings easier to spot. Choose your favorite color, like bright purple or yellow, or a particular theme, like colorful birds or a photo of your rebbe, to which you can attach to things you need every day to help you spot them easily in your home or office. Keys, for instance, can easily vanish in purses, pockets, and bags, but keys attached to colorful key chains with something to grab: are easier to spot.
8. Some technological gadgets, such as Apple AirTags and Bluetooth Tiles can provide apps for people to locate items that are often misplaced. Also available are fobs that you keep in your wallet or purse and will ring like a phone when you press a button on either another fob or a phone app.
9. Make a dedicated document in your computer, or use the Notes app on your phone to store all passwords, and lists of where you keep things if you forget locations. For appointments or meetings, set your phone’s alarm to remind yourself you have somewhere to be. Also use your phone’s calendar to pop up for appointments, meetings, birthdays, anniversaries, and other important dates.
10. Slow down for a minute, and take a few breaths if you’ve lost something. Don’t beat yourself up, get frustrated, let your thoughts negatively spiral. Instead of panicking, simply ask yourself where you last saw the object. Try to calmly sit for minute to allow your brain to focus and recall your last interaction with the object. Calmly ask Hashem to reveal the lost object, and say a perek of Tehillim, before looking around. Be kind to yourself. It’s not the end of the world to lose something.