No matter how organised you are, at some point in life you will lose your keys, wallet, glasses, phone charger or favourite earrings somewhere within your own home. Undoubtedly, you put them down ‘somewhere safe’, and for the life of you can’t remember exactly where that safe place happens to be.
While technology now makes it possible to find your iPhone or track keys with GPS or wifi, not everyone has enough forethought to anticipate losing odd bits and bobs in the future. If you’re sick of losing stuff, here are a few cognitive tricks that should help you remember exactly where you left your stuff.
1. Actively commit the items location to your memory
Actively committing the location of a thing to your memory is more than simply plopping down a set of keys on the nearest surface and assuming you will remember it later. Next time you put down an object you know you will need to find later, stop, take a moment to really look at the item and its location, then say to yourself “I have left my XXX on the hallway table.” Take a moment to absorb the information, and move on.
2. Make it catchy
If you’re someone who can remember song lyrics from 10 years ago, but struggles to remember where you left your wallet, then a mantra might be for you. Think about where your wallet is, then make a catchy rhyme or mantra you can commit to memory, such as “the keys are on the rack, the key are on the rack…”.
3. Hack your memory
Try creating designated places for various paraphernalia. Try a key rack at the front door, a charging station for digital devices in the kitchen or a tidy-up basket in the living room for remotes and related tech. Force yourself to always use the designated places so you never misplace your things again.
4. Be mindful
When you’re doing a good clean-up of the house, such as trying to get the laundry back into the cupboards, toys packed away and paperwork filed, it can be easy to throw things into whatever storage is available without thinking too much about it, only to have no idea where you’ve packed away that utility bill or sheet set when you go looking for it. Next time you’re engaged in a cleaning frenzy, take a little more time with your tidy-up and mindfully store things away, taking the time to rearrange a cupboard to fit in that extra sheet set nicely, or checking that the toys you’re packing away aren’t missing any pieces. Being more mindful will help you remember.
5. When all else fails
When all else fails and you truly can’t remember where you out something, cast your mind back to the moment you last had it. Think about what you were doing, what you were thinking about, what you might have been talking about and how you felt at that time. Recreating those emotional cues and thought-pattern at the time you put the object down will help you remember where you would have placed it.
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