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3 Ways to Make Sure You Never Lose Important Items Again

We spend an average of two and a half days a year searching our home for lost items! To the rescue: We asked pros for their smart tricks to locate stuff in a flash and ditch the “gotta find it” frustration for good.

Reading Glasses: Follow the 18-inch rule.

Each week, 27 percent of Americans misplace their eyeglasses. To quickly locate them, Michael Solomon, author of How to Find Lost Objects, uses a principle he calls “the eureka zone.” The Harvard-educated “find-ologist” explains, “Many lost objects are within 18 inches of the last place you saw them, but they got shifted or covered in some way.” 

So instead of vaguely scanning the whole house for something, he recommends first searching “meticulously” in that small spot. Solomon even uses an 18-inch ruler from an art-supply store to help with this practice. He chalks up this common type of misplacement to “domestic drift: The item isn’t where it should be, it’s where it was last used.”

Cellphone: Try this app.

About 33% of smartphones end up lost or broken. But a missing phone doesn’t have to stay lost forever. For an iPhone, try the free “Find My Phone” app, which even lets you erase personal details if you feel your device has been stolen. To locate an Android cell, type “find my phone” into the Google search engine of your PC. A map will pop up showing the general location of the phone (if it has been previously linked to your Google account), with an option to make it ring.

Sometimes it’s not the phone but the person connected to it that you don’t want to lose, like a family member at a crowded event. You can link folks via their phones with the free Life360 app. The GPS tracker also has features to tell you a person’s phone battery life and more.

Keys: Attach a tiny sensor.

The easiest way to find important objects almost instantly? Safeguard them with a small, discreet sensor. The Tile Mate ($18.99, Amazon) can be looped onto key chains or stuck onto wallets or TV remotes. When activated within a 150-foot radius through a smartphone app, the device rings to help you find the item quickly. 

Matt Morgan, a retired U.S. Marine who likes to be prepared, has been a fan of Tile Mates for years. “I can’t count the number of times I’ve used them to find my keys or wallet,” he says. “Knowing I have the app takes the anxiety out of misplacing these items. I don’t have to stress as I’m about to leave.”

This story originally appeared in our print magazine.

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