22 Habits of People Who Never Seem to Lose Things

searching for things

Do you ever feel like you’re living in a constant state of “Where did I put that?” Misplacing your keys, your phone charger, or a set of important documents again? These experiences are all too common. In fact, the average person loses up to nine items every day, and over 60% have lost something important at some point in their lives.

In the US, over 400 million items are lost and found every year, with wallets, keys, phones, and umbrellas topping the list of misplaced offenders. These losses frequently occur in public places like restaurants, airports, and on public transportation, contributing to an estimated annual value of over $5 billion in misplaced items.

Yet, amidst this common tale of misplaced belongings, some individuals seem to defy the odds, maintaining a tight grip on their possessions. You’ve probably known them and have secretly wondered why they never seem to lose things. The good news is you don’t need superhuman memory or a stroke of luck. People who never seem to lose things rely on a set of 20 simple yet effective habits. 

1. Set A Designated Drop Zone

designated drop zone
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People who never seem to lose things have a specific place for everything and ensure items are returned there after use. For example, they create specific spots for frequently used items – keys by the door, wallet by the charger. Setting up a dedicated drop zone at home is the starting point. For this approach to work effectively, they replicate the concept of the drop zone in every space they occupy, like the first drawer in their work desk, where these three items sit. When they are out and about, the three essential items could be stored in a small pouch inside their handbag or in the car’s glove compartment.

2. They Abide By The “Big Three” Rule

phone wallet keys
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They always keep their phone, wallet, and keys in mind as the three essential daily items not to lose. Building on the designated spot rule, they often have specific, consistent places for each, such as a right-hand pocket for their phone, a wallet in their left-hand pocket, and their keys in a specific compartment of their backpack or jacket. This ensures that each item has a designated spot on their person, reducing the likelihood of leaving something behind. Before stepping out of the house, car, or office, they perform a quick pat-down to physically confirm the presence of their phone, wallet, and keys.

3. They Declutter Regularly

donation box declutter
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They keep their spaces organized and free of unnecessary clutter, making finding things easier. By periodically sorting through their possessions and removing items they no longer need or use, they reduce the overall volume of things they own, which simplifies the task of keeping everything in order.  With fewer items to keep track of, these individuals can more easily remember where things are stored and maintain a tidy environment conducive to finding what they need when they need it.

4. Do Routine Checks

woman at airport waiting with luggage
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Before leaving any place, especially hotspots like restaurants, airports, and public transportation, they routinely check their essential items. This could be a mental checklist—such as phone, wallet, and keys—and perform a quick pat-down and visual sweep to ensure all items are accounted for. Consistently following this procedure every time they leave a place, like checking the car seat before exiting, helps to build a strong habit. They also allow enough time for these checks to avoid rushed oversights and may use reminders to prompt themselves to check before they go.

5. Make To-Do Lists

todo apps and journaling in notebook
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They actively use a to-do list to keep track of errands or items they need to take with them. Feature-rich apps like Todoist or TickTick sync across devices and offer categorization, deadlines, and collaboration. Analog methods like notebooks and bullet journaling allow for customization and a focus on the physical act of checking things off. Ultimately, they found a system that works best, digital or pen-and-paper, to stay organized and on top of their tasks.

6. Set Up Smart Assistant Reminders

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They set voice reminders for anything that might slip their mind, from taking medication at specific times to calling friends on their birthdays. They make use of their smart assistant to give them a nudge to stay on track throughout the day.

7. They Make Digital Copies

Businessman looking at a document
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They safeguard important documents and ensure easy access by scanning them and storing them digitally. This minimizes the risk of losing irreplaceable originals and allows for effortless sharing with authorized individuals. Popular cloud storage options like Google Drive, Dropbox, or Microsoft OneDrive offer free storage tiers and user-friendly interfaces, making it a breeze to switch to digital storage and keep crucial documents safe and readily available.

8. Keep It Minimal

velvet couch
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They tend to own fewer things, which reduces the chances of losing items. This lifestyle choice streamlines their environment, reducing the complexity of managing and organizing a multitude of belongings.

9. They Are Consistent

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Consistency is key to never losing things. They relentlessly return items to the same designated spot. Every. Single. Time. This repetition builds muscle memory, creating an almost automatic habit. Over time, putting their keys by the door or their wallet by the charger becomes second nature, significantly reducing the chance of misplaced belongings.

10. Being Mindful

celebrate after decluttering with coffee
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They are present, in the moment, and conscious of where they put their things. This means intentionally registering where they place their keys, set their sunglasses, or park their cars. They take a beat to create a deliberate memory of the designated spot.

11. They Label Smartly

Man with labelled storage container in garage
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They label items, especially in storage areas, so everything has a clear and findable place. They might use labels with specific categories (“Holiday Decorations”) or detailed descriptions (“Off-season Winter Coats”). Even within drawers or cabinets, labeled dividers or containers ensure everything has a designated and easily identifiable home. Or, if the box contains a mix of items, have a log book with details of what’s in each numbered box.

12. They Create Visual Cues

visual cues to aid memory
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They place items in visible, hard-to-ignore places. These might be things they need to remember for the next day – a set of documents or a gift for a colleague gets placed prominently by the door, transforming the exit into a visual checklist. These hard-to-ignore cues ensure they don’t absentmindedly leave essentials behind.

13. Not Afraid To Use Tech Trackers

Air Tag luggage tracker
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They use built-in phone features like “Find My Device” to locate lost phones or tablets. This is especially helpful if the device is misplaced but still has battery life. They may invest in Bluetooth item trackers for extra security with high-value items like wallets or luggage. These handy gadgets pair with their phone and can be located through the “Find My Device” app or the tracker’s own app, even if the item is out of sight but within Bluetooth range. Some trackers even have features that alert them if they leave their belongings behind, giving them peace of mind and a better shot at reuniting with their lost valuables.

14. Invest in Organizers

storage box with label
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People who never lose things use shelves, boxes, hooks, and other organizers to neatly store items of the same category in the same container. This eliminates the need to rely on memory for where things were “last seen” and reduces the temptation to just “drop” something anywhere.

15. Conduct Regular Inventory

woman checking list
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They don’t just trust their memory – they conduct regular inventories to maintain a clear picture of their belongings. This doesn’t have to be a daunting annual task. They might dedicate a quick afternoon to going room by room, scanning important documents with their phone, or simply taking mental notes of valuable possessions. Some might even create a digital spreadsheet for easy tracking. This periodic check-in helps them identify any misplaced items early on before they become truly lost and ensures they’re aware of what they own, making it easier to spot missing items or decide if something needs to be replaced.

16. Develop Automatic Habits

clean desk end of day
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They’re all about automatic habits. They file documents and stray papers at the day’s end or put away gardening tools when the work is done, so they’re ready to pick up right where they left off. Another good habit to develop is to empty pockets before bed. This nightly ritual ensures nothing gets lost in the sheets or forgotten on clothes.

17. They Tick Checklists

travel checklist
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They take the time to create comprehensive lists of everything they’ll need for a trip or event. This includes essentials like clothing, chargers, and toiletries, but also extends to important documents, medications, or even entertainment for the journey. It may take time to create this checklist, but it pays off as it is reusable for every trip.

18. Rely On Memory Tricks

mnemonic tricks for memory
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They use mnemonic devices or associations to aid memory. Mnemonic devices are like acronyms or rhymes that associate different objects together. For example, you need to buy a few items after work on your way home from work: flour, apples, milk, and eggs. Remembering the first letters of the word, F-A-M-E, may make it easier to recall these essentials when you’re at the store.

19. Buy What They Love

woman shopping for handbag
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They understand the value of quality over quantity and buy things they truly love. We take better care of things we value. By investing in a high-quality item, they create a sense of ownership and appreciation. This translates into a heightened awareness of its presence. They’re less likely to absentmindedly leave a cherished leather briefcase behind compared to a generic work bag.

20. They Get Ready The Night Before

clothes on hanger
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They prepare bags, outfits, and needs the night before to avoid a rushed search in the morning. This might involve laying out tomorrow’s outfit, complete with shoes and accessories. Packing bags for work, school, or gym sessions becomes an evening ritual, ensuring everything needed is readily available come morning. This extends beyond physical items – they might even mentally prepare a to-do list or schedule their day to streamline their morning routine.

21. They Have A Quick Scan

woman checking handbag
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After social gatherings or meetings, they quickly scan their surroundings before leaving—did they leave the shopping bag tucked under the table? Or a document on the seat of the next chair? They peek into their handbag to ensure they have the big three (phone, keys, wallet) and have not dropped them during the event.

22. They Are Self-Disciplined

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Above all, they practice self-discipline to maintain these habits consistently. It’s not about occasional bursts of organization but rather deliberately building routines that become second nature. This combination of consistent routine and mindfulness allows them to navigate their lives with the confidence that their belongings are always exactly where they need them to be.