I ran from my office building to the parking garage, I was excited to be getting off from work early. I was going to be able to get home in time to watch my son’s football practice. Our oldest son was playing Pee Wee Football and I had been running late to every practice, catching only a few glimpses of him playing. Finally, I would be able to take him to practice and watch like all the other fathers.

As I walked to my car, I reached into my pocket for my keys but they were missing. I checked the pocket in my messenger bag where I occasionally left them, but the pocket was empty. I figured I must have left them on my desk, so I made my way back to the office, upset that I was wasting good travel time. I looked on my desk, but everything was just as I had left it. Minus my keys.  

I really started to get upset. Where had I left my keys? I eventually had to concede that I lost them. They weren’t in the car, they weren’t on me. I never found them. Researchers estimate that we lose more than 200,000 items in our lifetime, everything from money, phones, keys, and wallets to socks, glasses, friends, and significant others. In fact, the average person lost nine items each day or nearly 3,300 items a year. The lost items equate to about 60 hours lost per year, which over a lifetime comes out to more than 150 days of wasted searching.

Why, why, why

When all three of my children were home, they would lose socks, shoes, the TV remote control at an alarmingly high rate. I’ve written in the past about how my youngest son would yell to my wife to help him find something in his room. My wife would simply tell him to look down on his floor and he would magically find whatever it was that he couldn’t find.

Related stories:

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Losing my marbles? No, just my wallet

When I can’t find things, I find nowadays that I resort to a few tricks. I try to be mindful of putting things back in the exact same spot, every day. I used to make fun of my mother for putting her valuables in the same spot each night. Now I know why! I use verbal mantras too. “I left my keys in the kitchen.” Of course, that works until it doesn’t. Technology has tried to help with the creation of smart tags for the items we cherish the most and the invention of tools like Find my iPhone.

Inevitably, like most people, my mind plays tricks on me and I end up losing my phone and having to ask my wife to call my cell so that I can find it. Yea, she usually makes fun of me, but, that’s life, life goes on.

In short, there’s always another day, another chance to re-set and try again.

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