How to Remember Where you Put Something

How to remember where you put something

It’s happened to all of us. We throw something on the table, walk away and then forget where that item is a few seconds later. Then, we begin questioning our sanity, swear that we have early Alzheimer’s, and eventually get upset. So, how do you remember where you put something?

How to Prevent Forgetting

The easiest way to remember where you put something is to use a mnemonic memory aid. In this case, when placing something, take a second and imagine the item doing something weird. Drop your keys, and imagine them burrowing a hole to the Earth’s core. Place your cell phone and imagine it exploding. Put your glasses on the dresser and visualize it shattering into a million pieces.  

It doesn’t matter what the action is; make it exciting, funny, or downright bizarre. You won’t forget where the item is.

If it seems tedious, think about the tedium of tracking down your keys. An extra couple of seconds to engrave your memory with their location is far better than ten minutes of mindlessly walking around, searching for something. When you need to recall where the thing is, just ask yourself where did your phone explode or where did your keys burrow into the Earth?

I use this system for everything that I put down. Before, whenever I took off my glasses, I would have to hunt for them. My phone? Good luck finding that thing. It was a constant struggle trying to figure out where I placed things.

At first, it took some getting used to. Taking an extra moment to visualize my glasses burrowing into the Earth seemed weird. But thinking strange things, it turns out, is excellent for our memories.

When Prevention Fails

Is it already too late? Do you have to remember where you put something? Below is a simple process to follow.

Let’s use a cell phone as an example. What you want to do is take a moment to consider when you last used the cell phone. Let’s say that you can remember using it just before driving home from work, in your car. It is best to start by systematically looking in your vehicle. Begin at a logical starting point (like the driver’s seat) and move clockwise, making sure to check everything along the path. If it’s not in the car, retrace your steps after moving away from the vehicle.

As you look, make sure that you systematically go through each area. You likely placed the item in a silly or obscure place. If it were in an easy-to-see area, you most likely would have found it just by scanning the room. Move slowly and thoroughly. Continue working clockwise in each space, and eventually, you will find it. Start in one spot and move clockwise through the site. Even if it is stressful, staying calm will help you find the item faster.


It’s much, much easier to prevent yourself from misplacing items than it is searching. It takes a fraction of the time and has the bonus of being good for your memory. It’s the basis of a technique you can use to remember anything, not just where you left an item. Try it, and you’ll find out that you will never forget where you placed those items again. 

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