Between Janice’s house and mine, we are constantly losing or rather temporarily misplacing various items.

Actually to be honest… it’s often not “us” that do the misplacing, but many times it’s our extremely helpful, but forgetful, mother.

How to find something you misplaced

Our mother is a life saver for us. She helps us in so many ways from doing bookkeeping to making dinner and cleaning up when we’re too busy with deadlines.

But, she tends to put things away and then not remember when she put them. Or simply just lay something down somewhere and then forget where she put it… Everything from her car keys to a box of important sample products

And Janice and I are nearly as bad. With our ADHD brains, we get distracted so easily and can’t remember where we put things.

My mom worries that it’s her age and she’s losing her memory, but I tend to think it’s more a family trait than anything else.

The end result is we’re always looking for things.

Take tonight for example… Janice couldn’t find a box of sample products she needed for a photoshoot. We were sure my mom had taken them from my house to Janice’s, but neither of them could find the box.

Thankfully, using a few of these tips, we soon found the missing samples!

10 Tips to Help Your Search…

  1. Enlist help.
    You need a fresh set of eyes.You can be staring at the same thing and not see what’s in front of you.
  2. Don’t let your memory fool you.This was key in our search tonight. My mom and I were certain we remembered the box being a regular brown cardboard color and a certain size.But we remembered wrong. When I did find the box, it was a white cardboard and smaller than I’d remembered.

    My mom had looked right past that same box while she was searching because we’d remembered incorrectly.

  3. Take a break.You need to stop looking.Even if you’re in a rush, pause for a short break and then restart the hunt.
  4. Visualize the last time you had the item and walk it through.We all know that we need to retrace our steps. And it’s solid advice. Try to talk through the steps out loud with a friend while you physically walk through the space.
  5. Ask your kids and other family members.If you have kids, try asking them. So many times, my kids have been a help finding something. Unfortunately, that might be because they actually moved the item in the first place.
  6. Look in unexpected places.Have you ever accidentally put your car keys in the fridge?Nowhere should be off limits in your search.
  7. Look in plain view.Like the missing box tonight, the lost item may be in the most likely spot, right under your nose.
  8. Shake it out.If you’re looking for something small, pick up blankets or articles of clothing and shake them out.
  9. Open every box and every cupboard.Even if you don’t think there’s any chance you’ll find the item, look in all cupboards and drawers… and in our case boxes! Since companies send us products to photograph and review, our houses are full of cardboard boxes. Even if you think a hiding spot is too small or unlikely, check it out.
  10. Keep calm.My mom tends to get flustered and upset with herself so quickly that it makes it harder for her to look.Don’t beat yourself up. We all misplace things. Stay confident that it’s only a matter of time before you find it.

One day my mom misplaced her car keys in her garage. We spent hours looking. Finally a friend – with a fresh pair of eyes – found the keys inside a bag. My mom must have dropped the keys without noticing and they happened to fall silently into an old backpack that was sitting on the ground.

When you finally find the missing item, you’ll be so relieved.

Some items – like car keys – really must be found immediately. But if you can’t find it right away, and the situation isn’t urgent, take a break and look another day. It’ll eventually turn up when you’re not looking.

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Written by Susan Carraretto, co-founder of 5 Minutes for Mom
Talk with me: @5minutesformom and
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This is an excerpt from the article How to Find Something You Misplaced which originally appeared on 5 Minutes for Mom.