Never Lose Anything Again
Never Lose Anything Again!
You’re trying to get out the door in the morning. You do one last check for everything you need when you realize your keys are missing. Several coat-pocket pat-downs later, you’re running late—and are incredibly frustrated. “Most of the time we lose things because we don’t put them back where we found them,” says professional organizer Stacey Platt, owner of DwellWell in New York City and author of “Everything needs a home. You can always find a fork because you always put them back in the same spot.” Here are 10 commonly misplaced items and where to store each one.
Keep house and car keys together on a single ring. When you come home, hold your keys (don’t tuck them in a pocket or set them down) until you place them on a hook by the door or in a bowl in the fridge. “It sounds crazy, but you’ll remember to grab them in the morning when you get orange juice or cream for your coffee,” says Geralin Thomas, a certified professional organizer specializing in chronic disorganization and owner of Metropolitan Organizing LLC in Cary, NC. Until you’re in the habit of putting keys in their designated spot each day, find them before bed so you don’t have to hunt them down the next morning, suggests Thomas.
Stash a pair of shades in an easily accessible visor clip in the car and another pair in the house in a drawer in the kitchen or entryway. Keep pairs of reading glasses where you need them: at your desk, on your nightstand, in the kitchen and in your purse. “I don’t usually recommend having multiples of items because it contributes to clutter, but it makes sense to have these at your fingertips, and they’re so inexpensive,” says Platt.
“Choose a cabinet, such as the bottom of the china cabinet or entertainment center,” says Diane Albright, a certified professional organizer based in Allentown, PA, and West Palm Beach, FL. And close the door. “This keeps your purse from being out in the open when repair people or your kids’ friends are over.” Or hang your pocketbook from a hook in your bedroom if that’s more convenient.
The kitchen is Mission Control for most households, so it’s best to keep an inbox on a counter here, where you’ll see it (or try replicating this refrigerator command center). Teach kids to unload papers from their backpacks into the box—instead of handing them to you—when they get home. “Sift through at the end of the day and file, toss or sign,” says Platt. Return signed items to your kids’ bags right away. As for event notices, log them in a calendar on your smartphone or a notebook and throw out the individual memos.
Keep a charger in a central location on the first floor of your home, such as the kitchen, so it’s handy for calls. If you like your phone by you at night, invest in a second charger for your bedroom so you don’t have to constantly relocate the cord, says Albright. Does every family member have her own phone? Consider storing them and their chargers at a single charging station, which accommodates and charges several devices at once. And store a car-friendly charger in each vehicle, so your phone stays powered on the go.
Establish a habit: When possible, park in the same area of each lot and garage so you don’t have to remember a new spot every time. Jog your memory with a tip like “I have three kids so I’ll park on deck 3.” When you exit your car, take a mental image and say aloud, “I’m looking at Cheesecake Factory” or “I’m parked just to the left of Macy’s.” Or snap a quick photo on your phone of your car in relation to landmarks and signs, recommends Thomas. Finally, look back at your vehicle as you leave it to sear one last image into your memory.
Instead of plopping down precious accessories just anywhere, use a decorative dish to store your pretty little things. “Everybody has something with sentimental value, such as Grandma’s old teacup, that you don’t use but don’t want to get rid of. Make that a special jewelry dish,” says Thomas. Keep one on each floor where you typically remove your jewelry, such as by the bathroom sink or in a kitchen cabinet. Make it a rule that any jewelry you take off goes into one of these dishes—and absolutely nowhere else.
Designate a drawer in the family room entertainment center for MP3 players, eReaders and the like.Or keep these items on a charging station with your cell phone, says Platt. At the end of the day, walk around and gather up any stray devices, returning them to their designated home, so you won’t be searching for them when you’re trying to get out the door.
Staple each receipt to its corresponding warranty card, so you can prove the date of purchase. Keep these papers in a three-ring binder inside clear protective sheets, in hanging files in a file cabinet or in a magazine file on a bookshelf, advises Thomas. Label by category, such as “electronics” or “countertop appliances.” Discard manuals, which usually can be found online. Stash receipts you need only temporarily (for the jeans you’re not yet sure you’re keeping and the weekly supermarket trip) in a small lidded box, like a recipe box, says Albright. Alphabetize by store name with tabbed index cards, and keep the box where you pay bills, so you’re reminded to purge receipts periodically.
Store remotes for the TV, DVD player and gaming consoles in a covered box on the coffee table or a drawer in the end table. Label each one so you’ll always know what goes to what. Or try a caddy or basket that sits where family members toss everything after use. Tape up a sign that says “remotes in basket” until everyone in the house is trained to put them away after TV time, says Albright.
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