Forever Losing Things? 5 Tricks for Keeping Track of Your Stuff


By Janet Ashforth

Are you losing your mind over losing your stuff? Your keys, your cell phone or even your car? It happens to everyone occasionally. But if you find losing your stuff is a time-wasting and frustrating daily occurrence, you may be wondering what that’s all about. There is an explanation for why you’re losing items, and there are some easy ways to stay organized.

Why You’re Losing Stuff

The human brain is not designed to multitask. Yet that doesn’t stop us from trying when faced with the demands of modern life. If you find that you misplace things frequently, it could be an indication that your brain is simply trying to cope with too many things at once. If you think about that phone call you have to make as you walk in the door and lay your keys down, your brain does not make a note or encode where you put your keys. Your mind was someone else. Do your brain a favor and simplify your life as much as possible. You can train your brain to remember things by playing games designed to increase your ability to remember. Try to be more mindful and pay attention to what you’re doing in the moment. It’s not easy, but with regular practice, you’ll find it gets easier to focus on the moment. While you’re training your brain, keep track of your stuff with these easy ways to stay organized.

What Do You Lose Most?

Before implementing these easy tips, identify what you lose the most. What is it that you search for daily that makes you lose precious minutes or run late? Once you have a list of the most likely culprits, focus on those first. Then add other items that go missing frequently, but aren’t making you pull your hair out daily.

A Place for Everything

You have a new motto. A place for everything and everything in its place. Give each of these key items on your list a place where they live. It can be a bowl by the front door, your backpack, a purse or a work bag. Once you assign your stuff a home, that’s where those items live. Then they will be there every time you need them.

You’ll be forming a new habit which takes time, so be patient with yourself. Repeatedly put items back where they live every single time you come home. It’s okay if you forget once in a while. Just try not to slip back into your old habit.

Front Door Container

Place a basket or bin by your front door and place items in it that you take with you every day. In winter, maybe it’s your gloves, scarf or umbrella. In summer, it might be sunscreen and your refillable water bottle. Anything that you are going to bring with you the next day will go in the tub the night before. Got a backpack, dog leash and a laptop to remember? Just grab the bin and go.

Only One Bag

If you’re carrying more than one bag, purse or briefcase, consolidate. You’ll have fewer items to remember and only one bag to find a home for. Your bag can go in the tub or basket by your front door at night along with your other items. That way, you don’t leave without them in the morning.

Schedule a Reminder

Schedule a reminder on whatever tech you carry to alert you right before you are about to leave and head elsewhere. List the stuff that you need to remember to bring with you so you don’t leave anything behind.  

Stay Hands-Free

If you carry your stuff in your hands, you’re eventually going to put something down and forget it. Commit to keeping your hands free of smaller items like keys and cell phones. These items should be in your bag or clipped to your belt until you need them. If your stuff has a home even when you’re on the go, you’ll be less likely to lose it. You can tag items with a Cube tracker to ensure you know their location when your hands are free.

If you take one lesson away from these tricks, it’s to practice being more mindful. Stay in the moment as often as you can. Part of the reason you lose things may be because your life is too busy and your brain is working overtime. Either simplify or make a concerted effort to improve your abilities to remember.


Janet Ashforth is an ACE certified Personal Trainer and licensed Massage Therapist. She first studied to become a Personal Trainer in 1997 and  has since worked at several popular gyms and owned her own fitness company. She’s helped countless individuals maintain or regain their health and wellness. Janet also writes about food, nutrition, cooking and baking and is a “real food” advocate.