If you’ve spent more time than you would like trying to track down your keys, you’re not alone.
Americans spend an average of two hours each week looking for misplaced items in their home, according to a recent survey conducted by SpareFoot for National Moving Day.
That adds up to more than 100 hours a year.
For some, the amount of time dedicated to searching is even greater: 27 percent spend two hours or more looking for belongings in their house, the survey found
To save time, and reduce frantic hunts for lost treasures, follow these strategies to keep your possessions in their proper places.
1. Organize the Entryway.
“Create a ‘Command Central’ area where you keep keys, handbags, backpacks and other important items you need on a daily basis,” said Leticia Pfeiffer, organizing stylist and founder of Styled & Organized Living in Dallas.
Set up this station by the door everyone in the family uses the most. Also add tools to make it work, advised Pfeiffer. You might use a basket for electronics or phones, trays for glasses or keys, and drawers for smaller items.
To get started: consider a wooden cubby storage unit, storage bench, or wall shelves.
2. Create a Reminder System.
To keep track of an important piece you only use once or twice a year, make a note on your calendar with a reminder alert scheduled for several days before you need the item, advised Pfeiffer.
If you bring out an Elf on the Shelf each year, create a note that includes information about where it is stored and when you need it.
To avoid papers accumulating, and documents getting lost in piles, create a system for each day of the month. Mark a file for each day, and then insert notes for activities and the papers you’ll need for different dates.
“Each day, pull the file labeled with that day of the month and accomplish the items in that file,” said Pfeiffer.
3. Make Spaces Work For You.
When organizing your dressing area and closet, think about how you like to find pieces. If you love open spaces and neat arrangements, organize your wardrobe to reflect that perspective.
And if you prefer everything in one spot, but not folded perfectly, consider cabinets with doors, advised Broockerd. When you’re looking for a shirt, you can open up the cabinet and search through the spot to get the one you have in mind.
4. Make it Automatic.
“Establishing routines and leaving items in the same place minimizes ‘misplaced’ items,” noted Jennifer Zientz, head of clinical services at the University of Texas at Dallas’ Center for BrainHealth.
If you keep all of the clothes you regularly wear, along with accessories such as belts and scarves, in the same closet, you’ll have a central spot to get ready in the morning. Set up a habit to fold and put away clothes as soon as possible after they come out of the dryer.
5. Search the Right Way.
When your grocery list is nowhere to be found, and you’re about to leave for the store, your first instinct may be to frantically rummage through the entire house.
Before you do, follow the advice of Professor Solomon, findologist and author of “How to Find Lost Objects.”
Solomon says to sit down, relax, and clear your mind. To carry out a successful search, Solomon recommended following the “Three C’s,” which consist of comfort, calmness and confidence.
Once you begin your search, if you don’t find it in the usual spots, think back carefully.
“Mentally envision all the places you have been since you last remember having the object,” advised Solomon.
If that doesn’t work, go to each place you remember seeing the object.
“It’s important, while following your trail, to do so in a slow, calm, watchful, meticulous manner,” said Solomon.
6. Apps to the Rescue.
Try one of these apps to avoid misplacing frequently used and important possessions:
Tile can track your wallet, backpack, and other items with small tags. You’ll be able to see your lost tagged item on a map on your phone, and the tag can make a sound to help you spot it.
TrackR offers a coin-shaped device to attach to your purse, bike, or other belongings. In addition to helping you find misplaced items, you can tap a device to ring – and locate – your phone if needed.
BlueBee allows you to add a tag to your valuables and warns you if you’re about to leave them behind.
Duet helps you keep track up to 10 of your valuables with colored tags, and also protects your phone.