How to Avoid Misplacing Things

I used to say I don’t make the same mistake more than three times. I’m happy to say that my new limit is twice.

A few months ago, I lost my MetroCard. (For those of you who don’t live in NYC, a MetroCard is a prepaid card that provides access to the subway and bus system.) Every few years, my MetroCard gets lost. It’s very frustrating, but considering how frequently it gets used while I’m out of the house, I suppose it’s inevitable that even an organized person like me would lose track of it.

So it went missing a few months ago, and I contacted the transit system and got a new one. I also purchased a new case from the transit system store. I was ready to go!

Then I lost it again.

It blew my mind that I lost the new one so soon after the old one. At that point, I decided that I needed to adopt a new habit.

Ever since I upgraded to the iPhone 11, I always have it handy. Instead of keeping it tucked in my purse or backpack when I’m out and about, like I used to when I had an older model, I have it in my coat pocket or even in my hand. While I occasionally drop it, I have not yet lost it. Inspired by my daughter, who for years has had a “stick-on wallet” on the back of her iPhone, I decided to tie the fate of my MetroCard to my phone.

I now have a stick-on wallet, purchased from Etsy, on the back of my phone case. When I take a subway or bus, it’s easy for me to slide out the MetroCard and then put it right back. I have been using this method for four months and I haven’t lost it yet!

[I know that some of you New Yorkers are saying, “Why are you still using a MetroCard? Why aren’t you using your iPhone to pay for subways and buses?” Actually, I do use my iPhone if it’s a personal ride, but I use my MetroCard if it’s business-related.]

Is there something that you often misplace? One of my basic organizing principles is “Keep like with like”. At first, a MetroCard and an iPhone don’t seem alike. But if you recategorize them as “things I use when I’m out of the house”, they are very much alike. Figure out how you can relate the oft-misplaced item with something that doesn’t get misplaced as often.

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