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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6 Comments & Reviews

  1. I’ve tried to teach my daughter some “failsafe” strategies like look back at table before leaving restaurant to see if left something, or tie sweater around waist instead of putting it down in the first place. Also we have designated spots for things like her backpack- the spot has to be out in the open and easy to access(it needs to be on the way to where she’s going- not somewhere that’s out of the way or requires an extra trip)
    When we are out in the world we try to keep all shopping in one big bag so we only have to keep track of one thing- it helps if bags have shoulder straps so not as easy to put down.
    Hope this helps

  2. After spending a lifetime misplacing and forgetting, life has taken a wonderful turn for the better. No I didnt develop super powers. I have survived this condition so long that all the normals my age are just as flummoxed. In fact they now turn to me to learn how I manage to find my keys ( almost always hung on the hook near the door) My ADHD has been the greatest preparation for the senior years one could ask for
    . Who knew?

  3. I cracked up out loud a free times servile reading your article. I spent about 20 minutes searching for my phone, trying to get out the door to an appointment for which I was already running late, until I realized that I was talking on it! I do just about everything you mentioned. I try to always put my keys with anything I need to remember to bring with me, including in the refrigerator with documents. The struggle is real; I’ve just learned to laugh at myself and slow down. Thanks for a little comic relief.

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