Wednesday, May 19, 2010

How I'm Going to Stop Losing Stuff

I shared this idea with the 15-year-old girl and she was very impressed. So there you have it.

I am a notorious loser. I lose all kind of things, and it's very embarrassing, because I happened to marry into a family of non-losers. These are people who chronicle each of their books in a file on their laptop, stack their cups by size and color, remember exactly what you borrow from them, and arrive 20 minutes early to each and every function.

I, on the other hand, lead a completely disorganized life. I forget teacher's meetings, I'm never early to anything, sometimes I forget to feed some of my kids dinner, because they happened to be elsewhere when I put the food out. I forget to put gas in my van, and have to borrow gas from my brother-in-law...


...who always has a 5-gallon can on hand, and who, when I ask if I can borrow it because I forgot to fill up when I was in the big town, says, "You don't learn very quickly do you. Haven't we been through this before?"...

...and I lose things, sometimes very important things, things like...

-Social security cards
-The wedding ring from my first marriage
-Shot records

...and the list goes on.

I have begun to realize this is a serious problem as I've had to gather important records in preparation for turning in the paperwork for the 18-year-old boy's 2-year mission. You wouldn't believe what trouble we, and I say we, because sometimes John gets dragged into it, have had to go through to have some of these important documents re-issued. And also, I have spent a lot of time on my knees asking Heavenly Father to help me find things I've lost. Sometimes that works, and sometimes it doesn't.

Okay, so here's my idea. From now on, I am going to email myself the location of a specific object if there is any chance at all I could lose it within the foreseeable future. This is how it works....

1. I will compose an email to myself with the name of the item I might lose as the subject of the email, such as "Breast Pump".

2. In the body of the email, I will write the location of the item, such as "in the bottom drawer of the black file cabinet in my bedroom".

3. If I happen to move the item, I will go back to the email, by searching the name of the item, and forward myself the new location, such as "took it to my mom's and left it in her guest room closet for use the next time I visit".

I have already done this with a number of items, and I feel like an successful executive CEO who can't be stopped! So you'd like to know where my personal pass to travel in Mexico is? In my folder on my wheat grinder (don't ask why). And where is the medical form I have to take to the doctor for the 18-year-old boy's mission paperwork? In the cabinet above the computer in the kitchen! And I can tell you where the wedding ring from my second marriage is, because I'm too fat to wear it,... but I won't.

I tell you what, this is revolutionizing my life.

You're welcome.


alessandra said...

Hahaha, you're so funny, but please don't arouse our curiosity about the folder on the wheat grinder, without the possibility to satiate it.
And I'm so sorry for you, having so organized in-laws can be stressful (this sentence sounds weird, or not?).
Anyway I do the same thing when I have to remember something while at work, I e-mail it myself.
Do "great minds" think alike?

Manda Mae said...

i lose EVERYTHING too! I unlock the car... put children in, just to get into my seat and can't find my keys! When i say i can't find them... it usually takes a good 5 minutes to retrieve them from whereever i put them w/o realizing it! I too have spend many a times on my knees praying to find whatever it is i lost and telling Heavenly Father I will TRY and be better at not losing things! thank you for a great idea.... i am such a LOSER! =)

Jessica said...

I used to do the same thing ... e-mail myself important information - until I found "Spring-it) - it works for me better than e-mail because not only can I post my own notes (oh, and it IS private) but I can also hit a "spring it button" on my toolbar and save important websites or recipes. I love it because I can access it from any computer and phone (not that I'm THAT advanced!).

Mom2my10 @ 11th Heaven said...

Jessica, thanks for that info!

Ginger said...

When you take the keys out of the ignition, say keys in your mind until they are in your purse of pocket. It's the same principle, You lose them because you are distracted when you put them down. Don't stop thinking about the item until it is in its proper place. That was my cure. I had a big family, too.

Jamie H said...

You are funny! You have a good point though. I constantly lose stuff too!

Jb said...

Congrats! What would we do without email?!! I don't know how you can keep it all together, anyway, with so many people to look after!

I often use my calendar in the same way (ex. directions to new doctor are in top right drawer of desk).

Brian + Cheryl B. said...

Oh Jen, chuckle, chuckle ... may your computer never crash when you need it the most! ;-p

Have you ever looked at the "Life Files" I did a posting on? All important papers for the boys get put in there.

I have a notebook in the 'calender' file in the kitchen, where we record anything we loan to somebody. That way when I'm looking for something and it seems to have vaporized, I can check there to see if it's even still in our pocession before I tear the house apart looking for it.

My 'in purse' calender contains so-o much information!!! If I'm visiting a new specialist I write the Dr.'s name, phone number and address down as well as the time. When I am attending a meeting or something (like a family get together) that I am suppose to take something along with me - I write that under the time of the event in my calender too. That little book has become so much a part of me - such a 'life line'!!! I lost it once y-e-a-r-s ago, so glad the lady at the bakery called me when she found it instead of tossing it!!!!

I am NOT saying I never lose, or forget anything. Don't I wish! But over the years I did learn that forcing myself to create habits helped ever so much!!! EVERY single time you go in to 'the big city' - get gas. Whether your van only needs $10 worth, or completely filled. EVERY single time you make an apointment for ANY thing (whether it be "important" or not) write it down in your 'purse calender'. Then EVERY single night right before you 'get ready for bed' look at your calender. That way, the events for the week your in, continually get etched into your brain.

As 'Alessandra" stated, "having so organized in-laws can be stressful". (So can having super neat/clean ones. 8-/) I am NOT trying to add to that stress, my friend!!! Honest!!!! Just thought you might find one of my tips helpful ....

Another tip, the more you think about how "on top of things" they are, and compare it to how much you aren't, the more stress your ladeling on yourself, which then makes you even more likely to forget things... such a vicious circle!!!! The next time one of them point out a "failure" to you, smile and say "good thing I'm working on new habits for all of this, huh?" Hopefully it will change their attitude into one of encouragement .... which will also then encourage you ... far healthier circles!!!

Brian + Cheryl B. said...

p.s. -
As for forgetting to feed kids whom aren't there at meal time - Before you put the food on the table, figure out which kids aren't currently home, and fix a plate for them. Wrap it in plastic wrap, write their name on top of it, and stick it in the fridge. If part of the meal will need heated, and another part won't, put the part that won't in a small bowl sitting on the plate. Then they can only stick the stuff on the plate in the microwave. [Does that make sense?]

That way, you've 'fixed' dinner for them, they just need to retrieve and heat it for themselves when they get home.

Also, by doing it before you feed the ones whom are home, you don't have to worry about making sure they save enough for the others.

Melinda said...

Good Lcuk with it Jen. I have alwasy been a very organized person with a great memory but i am becoming a very forgetful unorganized person. Don't know if it is stress or what but I am losing it. I write notes everywhere and really have to work hard to be organized. I hope this new emailing effort works out for you.

Michelle said...

I'm impressed with your new system. This is much like calling home to leave a message on your answering machine (who has those anymore?) to tell you something you don't want to forget, right? The problem I have is that I don't check my answering machine much these days. Because everyone calls me on my cell phone. So, I continue to be a loser. EXCEPT when it comes to keys. My keys are on a jailer's ring that fits over my wrist like a bracelet. I wear my keys everywhere I go and have never lost them since I got that key chain.

Good luck. From one loser (also married into a family that actually has (gasp!) files!) to another,