Manage Your House

“I Misplace at Least One Thing a Day.”

Are you tired of losing keys, the remote, and important papers? Learn how one woman stopped hiding things in “special places” and started keeping a notebook of reminders to help get organized — all while keeping a sense of humor.

Sunglasses, wallet and car keys belonging to person with ADHD
Sunglasses, wallet and car keys belonging to person with ADHD

In life, losing things is a frequent occurrence. For someone with ADHD, though, it’s guaranteed — money back, if you surprise yourself (and everyone else) by somehow keeping track of your stuff.

When I wake up, I’m aware of the fact that I will misplace at least one thing that day. I just pray that I will find it again. I am, in a sense, notoriously good at losing and finding things I’ve lost. I always lose something, find it, lose it again, and, if I’m lucky, find it again before I have a chance to lose it one more time — or fall asleep, whichever comes first.

The remote control I just used, that little piece of paper I’m convinced I can hold onto, the keys that I could have sworn I left in my purse, or even the purse itself — I lose them all. Why lie? If you have ADHD, you’ll feel like there’s virtually nothing you can do to avoid misplacing something.

I find, though, that following a few simple rules have helped me stop losing things and made managing my home a little easier:

1. Put “waiting to be lost” items in the same place. This includes classics like the remote, keys, and small but important pieces of paper. Once I had the pleasure of searching 30 minutes for keys I was holding in my hand. Hey, readers with ADHD! Anyone beat that?

2. Don’t try to hide it … you’ve tried to hide it. I always hide things in “special places” so that I won’t lose them. But guess what? I lose them anyway. I can’t remember the special place, and then spend hours looking for something that I hid myself.

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3. Keep a notebook and tape those small but important papers inside. This will work until you lose the notebook.

4. Don’t use sticky notes for messages that you’ll need longer than a day. Reason? Sticky notes evolve into un-sticky notes after 24 hours. I recently moved my desk and found about 20 reminder notes that had become “unstuck” and fallen out of sight. Use sticky notes as a “to be done today” reminder system.

5. When it comes to other people’s stuff, just don’t lose it. Something as common to ADHD as losing belongings might be enough to end a valued friendship if the belongings belong to someone else. So take special care to keep track of anything that isn’t yours.

6. Don’t rely on memory. Everyone thinks they’ll be able to remember where they’ve parked their car. With ADHD, however, if you don’t write down “Level 5, Section G,” good luck finding the car. Just hope you don’t have to be someplace anytime soon.

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I’m aware that the new “key finder” gadgets are supposed to revolutionize the world of ADHD. With a simple click, you can find your keys, the remote, your cat, and so forth. I do find it ironic that they’ve decided to give the person with ADHD another thing to keep track of. “You say you can never find your remote? Let’s give you another one to help you find it.”

But wait — what if you lose that remote? Will you then need a remote to find the remote that helps you find the remote? But what if …

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