How to not lose things


Does anyone have tips on how to not lose things? I’ve lost so many things throughout my life and I feel like I have no idea what I could try to fix that. I once left my back pack in a nyc train station. And I seldom ever know where my phone is. (thank gosh outlook lets me make it scream and tells me it’s location, but it doesn’t help when it’s dead though :(). People have moved that if my head wasn’t attached to my head I would lose that too, and I 100% believe that. I’m going to go to college soon and I am terrified at what problems losing things could cause. I’ve spent at least over 100 dollars getting new ID’s for high school and a replacement ID is only 3 dollars. I probably hold the schools record for most ID’s lost. I do the same with my school metro card and my dad gets really mad at me and says that if he wasn’t there I would have to go back home from the bus station and then I would learn my lesson from doing that. But I got constantly punished because I lost my ID so much. I was essentially on time out and had to sit in the corner until 1st PD started (and mind you I came very early to school anyways cause I lived so far away and my dad drove us to the subway station). Fun fact, last 2 days of high school I had no idea where my ID of metro card where. Maybe I lost them at graduation or something.
In college an ID would cost $20 to replace and I’m already going into debt to go to college. I have no idea how to not lose things and looking things up on the Internet doesn’t yield much fruit, or they fall you how you can keep track of things at home but I need to keep track of things everywhere. Thank you for your time.
The Woomy27

(also I’m not diagnosed with adhd, I just stuck at life)


It will take some time and require some thinking, BUT the best solution that I’ve found is to create a system for your life that essentially makes it impossible for yourself to do the mindless / lazy / dumb things that causes you to lose important things EACH TIME you notice a new bad habit.

Was that a one time thing? Either way, I’m assuming that you took it off and got distracted?

I know this might be a little bit tacky, but … what about putting your phone on SOMETHING that physically attaches to you – like maybe a lanyard that goes around your neck or something that clips to your pants. Hypothetically, it will be harder to lose the phone if it’s on a “leash”… hypothetically… =)

I never needed my high school ID for anything…but I don’t think I’ve ever lost a drivers’ license, either… Did you need it to get into school every morning? And then were you using it as a “fidget toy” throughout the day?

  • Maybe get one of those “stick-on card sleeves” for your cell phone (that you’re not going to lose anymore…) and put your school ID away the moment you don’t need it? AND
  • Maybe get some cheap ‘don’t care too much if you lose them’ “fidget toys” to ‘play with’ when your hands get bored?

I think most of the “stick-on card sleeves” have multiples sleeves…

I highly recommend that you consider investing in some “fidget toys” … because it seems like your hands get bored way, way too easily… =/

You might want to look up “executive functioning disorder”…

Do any of those ideas seem helpful? Or even somewhat in the right direction? I have the fantastic dual diagnosis of autism + ADHD, so this happens to be one of the few times where having to learn things my way AND ‘the rest of the world’s way’ actually comes in handy. =)


Thank you for the reply, I will try the attach item to self thing in college. Hopefully I can get a water proof neck one that I can also use as a wallet!
I’m not the best dressed person. I’ve gone out with red shorts and a green shirt (to my dad and sisters amusement) so I’m already pretty taky. I think I’m getting better at knowing what clothes are generally seen as good though and if anything I can just keep it under my shirt.
I had the real fidget cube and two spinners which I have lost :frowning:. I have one more real fidget cube but I’m kinda scared to use it because I don’t want to lose it.
I wouldn’t really consider myself lazy though, I find that I work very hard (sometimes harder than I need to) but I get distracted easily. Like cleaning my room is hard because I end up playing with the toys all over the floor (places by my brother) or fixing unnecessary things like the Rubix cube. I do find I can be absent minded though. I feel like I could describe myself like a sims character. I’ll give my body a task while my thoughts run off. And I’ll set it so that certainty things would trigger what I was suppose to do next, but I guess if I’m not as conscious about what I’m doing I can completely forget what I was suppose to do especially if the item meant to anchor me wasn’t there.
As for my ID, I have no idea how I lose it so much, but yes I have to use it everyday to get into school so maybe that’s what’s happening XD. (also I can’t do things like sleeves or rings cause if it’s uncomfortable I will subconsciously take it off and it’d probably get lost, so the lanyard thing is likely what I’ll do… Maybe I do use my hand a lot :/)

  • puts cheep fidget toys on college list

I had looked into executive functions disorder before, but I do extremely well in school so I’m not sure I’d fit the criteria for it if memory serves. I’ll look into it more though cause I find my executive functions aren’t that great :/.
Thank you so much for the reply. I will definitely try out the different things you suggested and they definitively seem to be drawing me towards the right direction. I feel like I’ve asked this question for forever and your the first person to give tips the I find would actually help. (things from my parents would be like: if you care about it you won’t lose it/just say you won’t lose it. I think my dad gave up on me though after he told me not to lose my umbrella and I lost it that day. Again thank you so much for the help I greatly appresiate your time!


You’re welcome! =)

Perfect idea, especially IF your wallet is one of the few things that you tend to NOT lose… figure out what GOOD habits you have and use those to your advantage.

You’ll find that most ADHDers are the OPPOSITE of lazy BECAUSE their brains are constantly looking for ‘something to do’… what I was trying to say when I was making reference to ‘lazy bad habits’ was doing things halfway BECAUSE you (likely) got distracted, put it down wherever, walked away, and completely forgot about it… it gives the appearance of “being lazy”… if that makes sense?

Buy them in “bulk” when stores put them on clearance to get rid of them. =) I live close enough to you, and I’ve seen literally multiples boxes in a single store… probably over 100 total… of the knockoff fidget spinners marked down to $1 (or less each).
If you’re need ideas for a socially-acceptable, lecture-friendly fidget toy that is relatively indestructible, my personal favorite is the “Tangle Therapy”, especially the bigger one for the simple reason that it’s more difficult to destroy. =)

If you haven’t discovered this website, yet, you might find it helpful:

That attitude, which I got from my own parents, as well, irritates me SO much… my snarky response to it is this: If parents cared about their children, then they would help them figure out how to actually NOT lose the umbrella INSTEAD of shaming their child for being ‘different’…=/


Any specific store? If it’s in nyc I can pretty much go to it (the amazing power of the subway system).


I tile my keys and wallet.


My solution was habits. I developed the habit of checking for things every time I go somewhere or in transitions like to or from the car. At first it was organizing my pockets so I’d check my pockets and if something wasn’t there then I’d know what it is. Then I tried written lists so I could check things off. Now I keep it physical. I don’t put anything anywhere except my pockets so It’s never out of my possession. I still do the pocket check and if I need to set something down or have something new to the pockets then I’ll write a note in my notepad and then draw an asterix on my hand to say there’s something in my notepad before I go anywhere.
Between the notepad asterix thing and the habit of checking the list or pockets before I go anywhere then the only things I lose now are things I lend to people. Then only because I don’t write it down and because I only lend things I’m willing to lose.


I find habits are really hard to create for me. I can’t think of one thing I do consistently everyday (except like breathing, and blinking but even things like eating aren’t consistent with me) any tips as to how to build self relying habits.


I want a tile so bad but my dad won’t let me get one. He said it doesn’t work. Also there’s a supposed planned obsolescence problem.


Works for me. And looks like it was the first version of the product. You’re never going to get a product that’s perfect the first time. If you want something small, easy to use and does it’s job, there are gonna be some other issues down the road.


How long have you had it for, I heard it stops working after a year even if you never used it.


I’m going to get a hearing aid soon. I’d be able to track it by my phone.


half a year so we’ll see in January


MK, Goodluck!


I just wanted to respond to the section about the ID card. I feel like I’ve got some legitimacy here because I’m entering my fifth year of grad school so I’ve gone 8 full years relying on ID cards, and 5 of those years I didn’t know I had ADHD so I wasn’t on meds. I actually do not lose my card very often, which is pretty impressive for me because I can find a way to lose anything.

My program gave out lanyards during orientation; I hooked my ID card to it and started wearing it–something about having the school’s logo printed all over the lanyard seems to make it more socially acceptable, at least at college. The lanyard helped but I was still losing my card a lot and I realized that one of the reasons I was losing my ID card was that I had to pull it out of my wallet/ off my lanyard to swipe it every time I opened my department’s door and then it would get lost before it made it back. So I bought a retractable ID card reel (see picture at bottom of post), stuck it on my lanyard and stuck my card on it. And I stopped losing my card. My lanyard also has my house and car keys on it so I don’t go anywhere without it. The leash makes it easy to keep track of. It’s small enough that you can shove it in a back pocket, put it around your neck, etc. I would just suggest keeping the lanyard on your person (or in the backpack you’re carrying) as much as possible. As an interesting side note, the retractable reel broke a couple of months ago and I haven’t bothered to replace it; I didn’t lose my ID card for 3.5 years and now have lost it twice in about 2 months. Gotta go and buy another retractable leash ASAP.

Finally, something that helps with losing/forgetting stuff in general is recognizing that it’s just going to happen to you more than other people; it’s inevitable. Now, when I lose or forget something, I spend a lot less time beating myself up about it. I put as many safeguards in place as I can and then if something still is lost I tell myself, “You’ve done your best. Mistakes happen and almost all objects are replaceable.” I grew up poor and paid for college on loans, so I know it really hurts when you lose something valuable (I left my brand new iPhone in a bathroom stall at Denny’s once and it was stolen in the hour it took me to realize it was gone) and the guilt is intense, but losing that thing doesn’t make you a careless, spoiled, or ungrateful person. If you have ADHD or a similar condition, it’s not a reflection of your character, despite what your parents say. It’s just your brain.

You can get one of these at a dollar store or on Amazon. I got mine at Daiso for $1.50.


While this won’t help you to remember stuff on the train, etc., it can help around the house. If you use Google Home or Android (with Google Assistant), you can have it remember things for you.

For instance, a while ago I put a key in a jacket pocket that I knew I’d lose. I told Google to remember that it was in my cycling jacket. I was able to remember that Google knew where it was, thus it bailed me out. There’s times that I intuitively know that I won’t find something since I don’t use it often.

I think that Google Assistant would work well if you commonly tell it locations of things.


This is such a cool feature! Thank you for sharing it.


That’s pretty cool. I also feel like people would tell me to put things down or take things of to which the back of my head is screaming don’t do it but I do it anyways because… ¯_(ツ)_/¯ (I don’t want to disobey authority figures I guess, or cause conflict) and then I end up leaving my jacket ;n;… I’m probably not as bad with my jacket as I was in middle school, but that’s probably because we were forced to take them off (and thus I forgot it a lot to my principal’s and teachers annoyance), but in high school I barely took it of. I’m not sure if tile does this (it might) but I know there are things that will beep if you get a certain distance away from it. Hopefully I can save up to get one of those as well. I think it might help me notice the points in which I would normally lose things (or anyone else that losses things too)


My tile has lasted over a year but it’s dependent on your usage. I only have to use mine when I’m assessing the situation and find that I can’t find it. It goes in two places so if it’s not in those places and I don’t see it on a quick look around then I’ll hit it. It has come close to going to the dump a few times.
By assessing the situation I mean I’ve got a habit of when I have a moment of peace I re-assess what I’m doing, what’s most important, and how it all fits into my timeline. To see what I’m doing I look around the space to see what’s not where it’s supposed to be and treat it as an activity to make time for like clean the room, do the dishes, and if it’s something written then resolve what it says. A bill that needs to be paid, a reminder that needs to be set in my phones calendar, or a note I wrote and left lying around to myself as something that needs to be done at some point. Since everything has a visual cue then I don’t have to remember all of it or the timing of things. I just need to re-assess things real quick whenever I complete a task. At first this is hard because I was coming from a place of everything needed to be done at once, but once I’d been doing it this way for a bit the task list is always short because I keep maintaining things. I also can’t be afraid do eliminate stuff from the list entirely if I can’t see it being done right away and it’s not important enough to remove something else. There’s a lot of things I would like to do try like learning a new language or developing a new skill that I erase the note to because it’s not important enough to take over another task and I haven’t had the time for it over the course of a week.

My habits are not based on time or in an organized fashion. It’s more about just A before B thing. Before I leave I check for keys, wallet, phone, and do I have my bag in my pocket. When I change cloths or just want to relax I take all the stuff out of my pockets and put them in a small bag that I hang on my chair. When I leave I have to make sure the contents are back in my pockets and the core check list is checked off.

I developed this habit by instead of remembering everything I need to leave I’d remember to check my list in my notepad before I can leave. If you try to remember a lot at once it won’t work so keeping it simple helps a lot and it’s an A to B to C kinda thing instead of remembering all of it. Once I’d been doing it for awhile it became automatic to do the checklist and by now I can do the list without the notepad because I’ve been doing it so long.

The trigger is I’m leaving so check my list.

Same for other things in my life. I’m going to bed so see if there’s dishes to be washed or anything that needs to be put away. My kid is quiet so see if he’s in trouble or asleep. Everything is a series of moments that triggers follow-ups and that’s easier for me since I only need to remember the triggers and not all the things that follow. At first I relied on my notepad heavily for that to remember the follow-ups and I still do for new situations. Once I’ve been doing it awhile then the follow-ups stick to the back of my brain and just come out when I hit a trigger.


A couple things that helps for me:

  • Less stuff. For example going on an airplane or train or through security, everything goes into a bag if at all possible. Less things to count / keep track of is better.

  • Whenever I get up or move, I look around where I was. Except when I forget of course.

  • Make it bright! My phone case is bright red. Makes it much more likely that I notice it in the taxi / seat / table / under the table / etc.