“How to Stop Losing Things — 6 Straightforward Rules”
Learn how to get better at finding lost items (and stop misplacing them in the first place) with these ADHD-friendly tips.
“I can’t find my phone!”
“Where are my keys?”
“Has anyone seen my wallet?”
We all misplace things every now and then. But what if it happens multiple times a day, every day? That’s the case for many of my clients with ADHD, who experience frustration (and countless lost hours) searching for lost items they need on a daily basis. Disorganization is often to blame — not to mention a lack of focused attention on items and where they are set down.
To help my clients stop losing things (and get better at finding missing items), I recommend following the six Hs:
There’s a reason why “everything has a home” is an organization mantra. If you designate general areas for categories of items, it’s easier to find them. Designate a specific place in your home or office, for example, to store your families of essential items. Preferably, keep similar items in the area where they are used. Take a few minutes each evening to return items to their home.
Like the “home” concept, a hub is the place within a home to set your most-used, essential items. For example, set your phone, wallet, and keys in your bedroom hub. Make your hub noticeable; set your items in a fun bowl or basket that draws your attention when you exit or enter the room.
Make it a habit to visually scan the space that you are leaving to check for items. This will help you collect your stuff and avoid leaving things behind.
Make commonly misplaced items stand out. Some ideas include:
- Put reflective tape on the TV remote
- Use a brightly colored phone case
- Attach your keys to a large and unique key chain or key ring
Bright colors and unique shapes make it easy to detect an object when scanning a room for misplaced items.
Use mindfulness to notice when you put something down. Say to yourself, “I’m putting my ______ here.” Look at the spot, pause, and give yourself a moment to take in the location. This method will help you remember where you placed an item.
Consider investing in trackers – especially noise-emitting ones — for important items that you repeatedly misplace. There are several brands and varieties available such as stickers or plastic chips that can attach to keys, phones, wallets, and other small items. When you misplace an item bearing a tracker, you can send a signal to activate it, which will emit a noise revealing its location.
Frequent use of these hints will diminish your likelihood of losing items — freeing up more time for doing the things you love rather than searching for that misplaced phone.
How to Stop Losing Things: Next Steps
- Free Download: Organize Your Home By Working With Your ADHD Brain
- Read: “My Keys Were in the Fridge!” ADHD Stories of Wildly Misplaced Items
- Read: I’m Not Irresponsible — I Just Lose Things!
Thank you for reading ADDitude. To support our mission of providing ADHD education and support, please consider subscribing. Your readership and support help make our content and outreach possible. Thank you.