A basic principle of organizing is to assign homes for all our things: papers, shoes, tools, sports equipment, photos, clothes and so on. The same is true for crucial items like keys, phones or store/gift cards. Not only do these items need homes but we must be consistent about returning them to their rightful places. How to do this?
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Keys: assign a location and, you guessed it, ALWAYS put keys there. At home, that might be on a hook by the door, a blue bowl on the countertop, or in your purse. Wherever feels comfortable. Away from home, ALWAYS put keys in a purse, workbag or coat pocket. As a backup plan, use the “tile” locator technology, or make a spare set of keys (kept in one location).
Wallet/purse: ditto, assign a consistent location. At home this may be on a dresser, in a drawer, or on a hook. Immediately place the wallet/purse in this location immediately upon returning home barring fires and floods. Away from home, place your wallet/purse in a desk drawer, keep in jacket or pants pocket, or stash in vehicle glove box. Whatever location makes sense as long as it is consistent.
Phone: can be a little tricky. Most of us keep our phones nearby for obvious reasons. However, we absentmindedly set them down in strange places. To avoid a crisis, choose ONE location in each room and stick to it. For example, in the kitchen the phone is ALWAYS placed on the island, in the dining room on the table, in the bedroom on the nightstand, in the basement on top of the washer. When the phone is missing a quick rundown of these specific places should yield results. In the car, the place may be in the cup holder. At work it may be on the corner of your desk.
Glasses: even prescription glasses can be lost or forgotten. The prevailing rule applies here as well. Establish a home in each room where you might remove them. Try to catch yourself putting them in an unlikely spot. Reading glasses can be especially elusive. Purchase multiple pairs and keep one in each room where you are known to go. Otherwise, use a glasses cord to keep them around your neck.
Store/gift cards: keep them all in one place. I’ve gotten many a new client who finally became fed up with misplaced gift cards! Keep store/gift cards altogether in a pouch, special wallet or Ziploc bag in your car. Chances are good that you will be in your car when you need them. If you go out in your spouse’s vehicle simply grab the bag from your car. Yes, you must remember to do this or enlist your spouse’s help to remind. At any rate, the cards will be organized in one place.
Once you have established “consistent locations,” the tricky part is to use them. Be mindful of the consequences for losing critical items. Whom will you disappoint? Will you be late again? Will you waste money and time? Be conscious when you’re about to go astray. If possible, have someone in your life help reinforce your actions. Feel the pride when you’ve made headway. Give yourself a reward when you notice the training is working. Be kind to yourself when you backslide, learn from the situation, and then keep trying.