Good Friend by Audionautix is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license.


Sick of Losing Things?

Hi I’m Rick Green and I want to know how to solve two challenges at once.

The first challenge is I want to stop screaming “I had it in my hand a minute ago!”, it being the stuff I use every day; phone, keys, wallet, scissors.

The second challenge, I want to stop wondering “Where are my spare glasses?” Or “Where’s the tape measure?” or “My blood work form”, you know, the things I don’t use every day.

Or the things that go into seasonal hibernation; winter boots, summer shorts, car battery charger which we need right now, where is it? and I’m running all over the place. I want that to end and I want to know how to make it stop.

All right let’s look at these two big time wasters. I’m out to conquer them because I don’t have time to waste and the reason I don’t have time to waste is that up until now I have wasted a lot of time.

The question: Where is the thing I was holding 10 seconds ago, or where is the stuff that we packed away for the summer, or for the rainy day?

Organized Stationary
Everything in its Place. Perfect!

How Do I Get Organised?

The answer is not to work on my memory, yes we will look at short-term memory and long-term memory and how to improve it in other videos, but I have found through decades of hard work and personal experience that doesn’t help me in the moment with the stuff that should be a no-brainer, the stuff that I shouldn’t have to worry about remembering.

I don’t need to work on my memory to find my toothbrush every day, that’s not the challenge; this is about the stuff I lose all the time. The answer actually is prevention. Prevention.

Let me explain, years ago when I was giving a presentation on how to present a great presentation, it was for demonstrators at a science museum and at some point one person asked “How do you get the audience back again after you’ve lost their attention?”

The answer is something that I had learned when I was practicing to become a world-class magician, which eventually I did not become, and I said the secret to getting the audience’s attention back is don’t lose it in the first place, right?

Direct their attention or in magic it’s called misdirection in fact a horse ran through, you didn’t even see it you’re so focused on me.

Amazing but if I don’t use a number of tools and tricks and practices to distract your attention [Video Clip of Rick doing magic in slow motion] then not so amazing, you know where it is. Am I getting off topic here? Probably.

Tidy Up

So the secret to not misplacing things is to have a place for it, that way you avoid the “what happened to the hand sanitizer? I had it in my pocket, where is it?” and then I find it upstairs in the bathroom and I haven’t been to the upstairs bathroom all day, but apparently…

You may have asked other people friends or family “Honey where is my purse?”, or “Honey where is the remote for the TV?”, “Honey where are the batteries for the remote for the TV?”, or “Honey where do we keep the flashlight?”

Well here’s a less common question one that I’ve never even asked ever, honey where is the cutlery? Where do you think it is? In the cutlery drawer, where it always is.

Now think about that “where it always is”, where it always is, oh can you imagine, can you imagine where’s the cutlery? Where it always is!

In fact you could come to our house, I wouldn’t bother it’s a bit of a mess now and look at all the drawers that we have in every room and I bet you could pick out the cutlery drawer on your first guess. You’d probably go to the kitchen right? Good, good, top drawer by the stove, voila! You’re right, the cutlery drawer, you found it.

If I came to your place I could figure out where you keep your cutlery and utensils in two or three guesses tops, whereas if I had to guess where you keep your earrings, or note paper, or place mats, candles, shoe polish, actually I know where we keep our shoe polish.

For a long time I did not have a place for things, no foam drawer, or wallet shelf, a key tray or a drawer specifically for my Fitbit and the charger, the list of excuses as to why I didn’t exercise today.

Having a cutlery drawer saves valuable time, searching the whole kitchen or even the whole house every time you need a spoon? I mean really?? Check the bathroom, oh look in the broom closet, where are my socks? Check the china cabinet, and then…

Dumb. Right? Obviously everyone knows where the cutlery drawer is because they have to get cutlery every day, sometimes three times a day, okay for me it’s like four or five or six because you know I eat a lot of snacks.

How to Stop Losing Your Car Keys & Wallet

So here’s what I’ve done for the things I need when I’m going out, like; keys, wallet, money, phone, I have this lovely ashtray it’s a classic probably from an old hotel lobby. It’s by the door, so I grab what I need on the way out and then I empty my pockets back into it when I return home. It’s brilliant I rarely lose those things.

The junk drawer is another thing we all have, the junk drawer, we often call it the junk drawer even though it’s actually essential stuff that we do need but not that often. It’s got twist ties and pizza coupons, elastics, screwdriver, a bottle opener, pocketknife, and I have found that after a certain amount of time every drawer in the house can start to look like a junk drawer.

So what am I suggesting? I’m suggesting that when we organize we take a moment and think about what makes the most sense, even things like batteries deserve consideration, true you don’t need a new battery all that often but when you do it can be kind of urgent.

I used to spend more time looking for batteries than I ever did looking for cutlery even though the cutlery as I say three times, well eight times, snacks, cherry pie, you know the muffin, I cut the muffin open and then add some almond butter and then…

Anywho you can see where this is leading things need homes, sensible logical locations, ones that make sense to you and of course as I say to anyone else who may need a flashlight or a Band-Aid, or the fire extinguisher.

Don’t worry about trying to create a model home from an Ikea catalogue it’s never going to happen, if it does. Wow!

Okay it’s never going to happen to me, but just organized enough so that it’s not stressful or frustrating, that I’m not wasting time, waste not want not it applies to time, it’s one thing to spend time doing something fun or at least rewarding but searching for your travel mug even as you’re stomping from room to room you know it’s annoying and avoidable and a waste of energy and it for me it triggers that deadly spiral of “not again! I am an idiot! What was I thinking?! I should know better! why don’t I”

You know what it’s like tearing your place apart every time you need gloves and every time the disappointment of having to say I can’t find the photo album, I’m sorry I’ll show you the pictures… next time you’re here.

Of course if you live with other people or share a common workspace, well if it’s a communal space and you’re organizing do let other people know where things are being stored and why.

Cheap Way to Get Organised

I also want to recommend a solution that has made a huge difference for me, for the house, for our workspace, even my model railroad space and that is labels.

Labels on drawers, on cupboards, and containers, and some of them are permanent, some are temporary just like post-it notes, sticky notes, painters masking tape is a great one that doesn’t leave a mess.

These labels are not forever just until it’s automatic and everyone knows where to find the elastic bands, or the sewing kit, the deck of cards, the spare shoelaces, and having labels all over the place and post-its may look a little cluttered and sloppy like “oh they’re training their toddler to read”, but it is temporary and it is so helpful.

4 Moves in 4 Years Taught Me a Thing or 2 About Organizing

I know this because we moved four times in four years, so we had five Christmases in five different houses and the labels helped a lot. Each time as we unpacked I went around slapping temporary labels on most of the cupboards and the drawers, and as I say at first my wife was put off by the cluttered look but she soon appreciated being able to find things.

Some labels may be permanent; your hobby space might have everything labeled, every drawer in my office is labeled, every box, bin, container, in my tool room is labeled and that’s because I want to find things quickly.

I want finding things to be a no-brainer to save time, to save this mental energy that I can run out of and to lower frustration and that frees me up to get more done, or have more time to do nothing, to relax, whohoo! and I don’t need to relax as much because I’m less frustrated, but I want to be able to quickly, as quickly as grabbing the cutlery so that I can have the last piece of cherry pie before the kids, it’s really good it’s got the crumble top.

If you meet resistance just start by organizing your own stuff, your tools, your hobby supplies, your clothes, your cookware, and then just watch other people go hmm. Arguing with people and demanding just creates resistance that people get emotional and then they don’t remember where anything is and you won’t either because now you’re emotional.

So there we go, well that was fairly well organized except the cherry pie. I did you know, I got off a little, sorry… anyway I’m Rick Green thanks for reading.

Let me know if this was helpful, and I want to thank our patrons for making this video possible and all our videos possible. Consider becoming a patron of RickWantsToKnow because every topic I delve into is based on our patrons suggestions, except they did say could you leave out the cherry pie, but come on it’s really good cherry pie.