Okay, NOW where did you put my keys?

My Keys are Lost… Again

“I need to stop letting my toddler play with my keys,” I told myself. I knew she had been playing them, but had no idea where she put them. Nap time approached and I was still turning the apartment upside down in my search-and-rescue effort, so the shopping trip was postponed indefinitely.

One would think I learned my lesson, but no… The next week, my toddler got ahold of the keys, and I was once again trying to get out of the house but unable to lock the door. This time, however, was the final straw! A solution had to be employed…

A Place for Every Thing…

Your mother did, in fact, have the right idea when she said (time and again), “A place for every thing and every thing is in its place.” My keys had a place… in fact, they had several places! And I invariably left them in one of these places… In my purse, on the entry table, or on the night stand. The trouble was, most of those places are within arms’ reach of a 15-month-old, who would pick them up, carry them around the house until eventually I would decide that wasn’t a good idea, take them from her, and set them on the nearest surface. The keys would either stay put and escape my memory, or be picked up again by the toddler. Clearly, this strategy wasn’t working!

My keys needed one place where I put them and looked for them every time.

…And Every Thing in its Place

We’ve established that my keys need one regular place. In finding that one place, I needed to consider two things:

  • It had to be a place that was easy for those who should have access (namely, me)
  • It needed to be restricted to those who shouldn’t have access (my 32-inch-tall explorer).

For my access, it had to match my habits. I like to grab my keys on the way out the door and set them down when I walk in the door. To stay out of the toddler’s access, there was only one requirement: height.

Logical Solution

Not every solution has to be expensive or labor-intensive. A set of $3 Command hooks, placed at eye level next to the door, was all I needed to reach my goal. An attractive peg hook from a big-box, home improvement, or craft store would also do the trick. Since installing the hooks, my keys have not gone missing.

This Week’s Challenge

Sometimes housekeeping doesn’t have to be about developing new habits, but about developing a new system around the habits you already have.

What is it that you keep misplacing? Your keys? Cell phone? Think about where you expect it to be, where you prefer to put it, and a way to keep it there safely. Think of a way to keep it there that matches the habits you already know you have, and do it!

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