Do you lose the same things over and over again? What did you do about it?

I’m a serial donor of some things to the public good - primarily umbrellas and earphones. 2013 has been a bad year for me; the London Underground is richer to the tune of 3 umbrellas and 2 pairs of earphones, and in addition to this, I lost a set of keys in a taxi, and an Oyster card and my work pass in a bus on Christmas Eve. None of these things were recovered. I have now given up buying anything but ultra-cheap umbrellas and earphones, because I keep losing the nice ones.

I hope I’m not the only person who loses things serially; so I invite you to share your talents in this regard. It will help me feel like less of an idiot, and how can that be a bad thing? Also, any useful tips you have to not donate things involuntarily will be gratefully received (and probably written down and lost, but hey, it’s the thought that counts, right?). “Tie them to your hands” is not useful advice.

Pens. I learned long ago it’s a good idea to always have a pen handy, but sooner or later they inevitably disappear.

My best strategy, when at home, is simply to have a place for everything and put things back in their place as soon as I’m finished using it. This is often inconvenient, but ultimately it’s a lot less inconvenient to walk across the house to get (or put back) something I need but know exactly where it is than to search the entire house for something I need but forgot where I last left it.

My strategy for times I’m out of the house is 1) carry as few things as possible, and 2) pack what things I do need into as few containers as possible, preferably just one, e.g. a backpack. Then, see the paragraph above.

I’m constantly losing my f’n lip balm!! :mad:

Also, I had an extra pair of watch batteries that go to my meat thermometer. I distinctly remember thinking at the time: Okay, these are important. I’m going to put these somewhere special so I’ll know exactly where to find them when I eventually need them.

About a year or so later I’ve completely forgot where that “special” place is! :smack:

How do you lose earphones on the train?

Well… er… cough cough… shuffle shuffle… it usually goes like this:

At least, that’s how I assume it goes. Usually, I remember having my earphones with me, putting them in my pocket, and then finding them missing just shortly afterwards. I unplug them because I don’t always listen to music while reading on my phone, and I hate having them getting in the way.

I assumed that losing pens was a universal; just part of the human condition and not worth really mentioning. I’ve tried this “a place for everything and everything in its place” strategy before, but it’s really hard work to keep up with. There’s also the issue of things that are rarely used, which I keep misplacing and buying again. I think I have about 4 cans of WD-40 at the moment.

Ah, yes, the fabled “special place for special things” fallacy. I’ve tried this as well, with distinctly less-than-stellar results. I now have a drawer that I keep all sorts of general junk in, and most infrequently used things tend to gravitate towards that in time. It’s always a wonderful surprise to go through the contents of that drawer and discover, for example, eight packs of multicoloured Post-Its, or a set of fuses for an appliance I no longer own.

Pencils in my shop. I use them constantly and set them down instead of over my ear. A few years ago I decided they are cheap so i will just buy a box and hang it on the wall. Eventually I will have set down a pencil everywhere that a pencil could possible get set down. About 100 pencils later my shop still has not reached the pencil saturation level.

I use that system and, while it may seem fallacy to you, it works for me - especially if you read the OP, like I did, to refer to things lost outside the home as opposed to misplaced or forgotten inside the home (from the OP "I’m a serial donor of some things to the public good ").

I never have to look for my car keys, wallet, debit card, etc. because I always put them in the same place. If the items are not in use they are in a specific pocket on my person or they are on the vanity in my bathroom. Always. If my wife or kids borrow any of the above they know I expect it to be returned to my hand and nowhere else. Sounds more draconian than it really is, but considering how often other people lose/misplace common items it is well worth it.

I’m constantly losing my glasses or a better explanation, misplacing my glasses. This is all done at Home and not work. I simply lay them down somewhere and forget where I had put them. I need them to drive so I can’t leave home without them. The time I waste looking for them is unbelievable as I have been late for appointments on account of this stupid trait. I’ll lay them on the coffee table or lay them on my bed while undressing or changing clothes. One day I went absolutely crazy as I could not find them after looking in all the usual spots. Then I realized I put them where I was supposed to put them, In My Glass Case where they belong when not using them!

I don’t have this problem but unfortunately my wife does. In fact I almost started a thread one time titled “My wife is a real loser!” after she lost her third debit or credit card in as many months. (She wound up finding them all, but only after they had already been replaced by the bank.) She lost the spare key and key fob to my car, then found it, and within a week it was lost again, this time for good. She misplaces her glasses about once a week. I keep hoping that she’s just taking after her dad, who can also be absent-minded, and not after her mom, who is struggling with dementia.

I grew up in California, so the first time I ever needed to have warm winter gear was when I went to college in Boston. I equipped myself with a big puffy warm coat, and a nice pair of black gloves. Shortly after the cold weather began, one of my gloves went missing. I told my Mom, and she sent me a nice pair of blue gloves. It wasn’t long before one of the blue gloves went missing. Again I told my Mom, and she sent me a nice pair of red gloves.

One day I went to the movies with my friends. As we were leaving the theater, I reached into the pocket of my big puffy coat and pulled out…a black glove. This struck me as odd, since my gloves at the time were red. I reached back into my pocket and pulled out…a blue glove. Now I was wondering if I had discovered some kind of glove wormhole. A little bit of investigation revealed that there was a sizeable hole in my pocket that lead straight down into the lining of my big puffy coat. So I never really lost my gloves at all – I had been carrying them around with me every day for months.

In spite of the fact that the missing glove mystery was solved, I continue to lose gloves regularly. Most recently, I had an unusual occurence when a complete pair of favorite gloves went missing. I searched everywhere (including coat linings), but eventually gave them up for lost. Then I was packing to visit my family for the holidays, and unzipped a side pocket of my suitcase…there were my missing gloves.

I keep a drawer dedicated to the gloves I have leftover when one goes missing. There are always five or six lonesome singles in there.

Don’t get me started on umbrellas. I consider them to be single use items, and count myself lucky any day I make it home with the one I started out with.

I think you need to start pinning your earphones to your shirt, like a mom would do with mittens that keep getting lost :slight_smile:

I do this too with my everyday things. And yes, it works just fine. But what do you do with those items you know you’re not going to use for months at a time? Because it’s THOSE types of items where the “special place” system falls apart.

I used to love fancy, relatively expensive wrist watches. No Rolexes, or Bulovas, but some nice and functional wrist jewelry. But I lost them quite often.

To solve this, I just started buying cheap Casios or Timexes. This didn’t solve the problem I had of losing watches, which still occurred with alarming frequency, but it sure made it easier to handle.

Now, I don’t buy wrist watches anymore, and just pull out my smart phone when I need to check on the time.

So I guess advancing cell phone and related technology solved this problem for me.

And so far, I’ve not lost a cell phone since I bought my first one 4-5 years ago.

I swear I’ve lost the same 15-20 pounds at least twice (working on losing them again, matter of fact). But no matter how obscure the place I left them, they always find me again…


The ‘What pocket do you keep your wallet in’ thread made me think about this. I found it VERY weird that some people did not always keep their wallet in the same pocket. I do this with wallet and keys. And sunglasses are either on my head, on a bookshelf at work, or in a bowl at home. Always. I’ve never lost any of these items.

No one has mentioned socks. Never in my entire life have I acquired socks other than in pairs–yet I seem to have quite a few singles. My solution is to standardize on colors: black for normal socks and grey for wool socks–so it’s hard to notice they don’t match.

I frequently misplace my keys: my solution is to have three complete sets.

In terms of special places for special items and the inconvenience of traveling from one room to another to do this, one solution is to have a specific place in each room–so your glasses might be in place x by the bed, place y by the computer desk or place z in the living room–so you have at most 3 specific places to search rather than the very frustrating whole house search.

I’ve mentioned before (to much apathy) that I pin my socks. I keep a dish filled with safety pins on my nightstand. In the morning, when I put on my socks, I unpin them and drop the pin in the dish. In the evening, when I remove them, I remove a pin from the dish, pin the socks together, and drop them in the laundry hamper. They go through the laundry pinned, and then back in the drawer pinned and ready for wearing.

I’ve pretty much given up on explaining this to people, because they just look at me funny and continue to complain about lost socks. Even my landlady says “Oh you’re the person with the pinned socks!” as if she’s saying “Oh, you’re the person who left dirty underwear in the hallway!”

I think this is a pretty common problem, since at any time on Kickstarter there is at least one campaign for tracking tags. If you lose expensive things or like gadgets you could look at these - they pair to your phone over Bluetooth and your phone warns you if they go out of range.

The solution is to learn to enjoy having things in their place. You have to learn to look at an organized space and get a little thrill. You have to learn to feel a little thrill when you go out of your way to put the scissors in the scissors drawer.

I have managed to learn this for some things and not for others: I enjoy being organized at work much more that I enjoy it at home. I enjoy being organized with laundry (I never lose socks!) but don’t enjoy it with paperwork. I can’t explain how to do it, but I can say I’ve slowly expanded the range where being systematic pleases me.