How to Find Lost Objects
May 10, 2022 7:42 AM   Subscribe

Professor Solomon gives us twelve principles for how to find something you've lost. Possibly one of the most useful sites on the internet.

A step-by-step guide to find things. (And maybe life?) One of the most referred to websites in my house, Prof Solomon's 12 principles have helped us find the way to finding a thing many a time. Personal favorites are "it's where it's supposed to be", "you're looking right at it" and "look once, look well".

Happy finding!

Has this been posted before? Not sure, I couldn't find it. (back to Principle One)
posted by ewok_academy (93 comments total) 70 users marked this as a favorite
 
This is missing an important step. You must always start by saying a prayer asking for the help of Saint Anthony -- the finder of lost things.
posted by interogative mood at 7:48 AM on May 10 [32 favorites]


that might just be a variation on Principle One. certainly compatible.
posted by ewok_academy at 7:51 AM on May 10 [1 favorite]


13. "It's probably in the car in a crack or seat pocket."
posted by user92371 at 7:57 AM on May 10 [2 favorites]


Much to my significant other's chagrin, I usually start with #12 and work backwards.
posted by HumanComplex at 7:58 AM on May 10 [3 favorites]




TIL that the usual prayer to Saint Anthony doesn't begin, "Dear Saint Anthony, dressed in brown."

Also these principles are just fine, but I must take a moment to discuss my wife. She is a very organized person. Things have their places. Sometimes she will go on a tear, reorganizing things. She has even, on multiple occasions, reorganized the kitchen and pantry, even though it is largely my domain.

Here's the problem, though: she has a blind spot about kitchen organization. My general rule is, if you take a thing out, put it back where you found it. Exactly where you found it, whenever possible. Her rule about the kitchen seems to be: if you take a thing out, put it back in the first open spot you see. On this point she absolutely will not be persuaded.

What this means, practically-speaking, is that if I can't immediately locate an item in its usual place in the pantry or refigerator or cabinets, I have to either spend several minutes guessing where she might have put it, or ask, in which case she tells me I'm ridiculous, and that it was either (Principle Six) right in front of me all along, or (Principle Seven) behind another item that would have made absolutely no sense to move.

She accuses me of violating Principle Nine, which is, of course, bullshit. One shouldn't need to guess if the soy sauce is with the sauces or, inexplicably, with the baking powder.
posted by uncleozzy at 8:02 AM on May 10 [9 favorites]


It's always in the last place you look.
posted by chavenet at 8:04 AM on May 10 [16 favorites]


Principle 13: put a Tile or other location tracker on your keychain. Although it is embarrassing how often I hit Find My Keys and they are in my purse, in the correct pocket even.
posted by muddgirl at 8:06 AM on May 10 [5 favorites]


Unfortunately, my “solution” for “finding” lost items is to finally realize that I absent-mindedly threw it into the trash and the garbage pick-up was this morning.
posted by sageleaf at 8:09 AM on May 10 [6 favorites]


Principle 14: Send a SASE and a check for $5 to Professor Solomon and he will tell you where he hid it. (Please allow for 6-8 weeks processing time for any response)
posted by RonButNotStupid at 8:18 AM on May 10 [12 favorites]


Personally I'm an adherent of Jan Hankl's Flank Pat System.
posted by biogeo at 8:21 AM on May 10 [17 favorites]


Comfort...a pipeful of tobacco. Lol.

It is always either behind the couch or in the couch cushions.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 8:22 AM on May 10


You must always start by saying a prayer asking for the help of Saint Anthony

I find everything that gets lost in this house. My wife always says, "St. Anthony, help us find $THING" while she locks her eyes on mine. So I sigh, and get my glasses & flashlight, and off I go. When I find it, she cries, "Thank you, St. Anthony!"

I got a bone to pick with this Anthony guy...
posted by wenestvedt at 8:26 AM on May 10 [36 favorites]


This makes me delighted as both a person who looses things and a person who is the chief finder in the house. I agree with all the principles and I might add my own which is asking for help from those around you. My favorite principle is #3 - which I especially apply to gloves, socks, and small craft items. But we call it, "Don't freak out."
posted by mutt.cyberspace at 8:29 AM on May 10 [1 favorite]


fgrep -e “car keys” -f house
posted by Insert Clever Name Here at 8:34 AM on May 10 [11 favorites]


@uncleozzy - my wife is the same - she's a tireless organizer and she'll do that to the kitchen as well. It always puts me out of sorts to find that the bowls have moved elsewhere or that the Aleppo pepper has moved from the pepper section of the spice rack to where I put the oils.

Argh... and yes, I'm also the house's Saint Anthony - usually when my wife is trying to find her car keys and needs them now to drive to work and I'm only half awake.
posted by drewbage1847 at 8:35 AM on May 10 [3 favorites]


These are excellent principles both in content & organization. I follow something like these steps personally but it took me forever to figure it out. I liked how he described the kind of like zen state of mind you have to put yourself in. (Which, incedentally is one of the reasons why they call it mindfulness practice, because you're practicing for when you will need it.)
I knew the principles were going to be good when I read this line:

I know you’re eager to find that lost item. But not yet. Don’t look for it yet.

Wait until you have some idea where to look.

This is key, because you can wear yourself out physically and mentally before you even have a chance of finding the thing if you don't pace yourself.

He did leave out one important step which in my house we call "It's probably in your butt" ie wherever you were sitting last, it's probably not far away.
posted by bleep at 8:46 AM on May 10 [7 favorites]


These are all variations of principle #5: DOMESTIC DRIFT.

The missing advice is never, ever, blame someone else for moving your phone, or any of your stuff you put down. Even if they totally "tidied up" that 1/2 full cup of hot coffee from it's perch on the dresser. Accept that it has drifted, in space and possibly time. Because while I might yearn for an ordered space, with everything mise en place or I've knolled all the bits, the fact is that it is I am the primary agent spreading chaos and disorder.
posted by zenon at 8:46 AM on May 10 [12 favorites]


lol @ Insert Clever Name Here

I think the best way not to lose things is to put them in a designated spot, ala Principle 4. Except, the kicker is that you always have that spot be a remarkable location. Store your keys in the fridge and you will never lose them again.
posted by discardme at 8:47 AM on May 10 [1 favorite]


This looks incredibly useful!

For some reason my wife and kid constantly ask me to find things that they've lost. And then get very annoyed when I put my fingers on my temples and hum the Spock Mind Meld theme and say things like "remote control... my mind to your mind... my thoughts to your thoughts... I am remote control... where am I..."

Oddly this sometimes works, presumably because of principles 1, 3 and 8.
posted by TheophileEscargot at 8:49 AM on May 10 [8 favorites]


Oddly this sometimes works, presumably because of principles 1, 3 and 8.

On pro level, you hide those things, and then magically find them.
posted by chavenet at 9:03 AM on May 10 [4 favorites]


My tip: change your perspective. If I can't find something on my desk, for example, I stand up or move to the side to look from another angle.

I love the old-school web design. I haven't seen a site this datedly twee in a long time.

My wife and daughter both leave the kitchen scissors on the counter when they're done cutting something. It totally makes sense, because their primary task was to open something and when they're done cutting something, mission accomplished. (It's the same principle as why ATMs usually make you retrieve your card before you can take your money; you're there to get money, not retrieve your card.)

Instead of letting that bug me I figure:
  1. They probably pick up after me without me realizing it
  2. It's a way to take care of them
  3. It's also a way to have a neater house
posted by kirkaracha at 9:22 AM on May 10 [11 favorites]


This probably relies on having a place for every object, but "tidy as you go" is one of my finding principles.

And check all pockets as you do it! Thank goodness keys jingle, what a pity that USB sticks and Sharpies don’t.
posted by clew at 9:34 AM on May 10 [4 favorites]


Maybe this only applies to my husband who always cold and always wearing at least two layers of sweaters, but 45% of the time the missing item is in the pocket of the middle layer of sweater. The other 45% it's fallen under the couch cushion. 10% of the time our toddler has taken and hidden it.
posted by muddgirl at 9:39 AM on May 10 [3 favorites]


There's also this bit of wisdom shared by Darryl Zero (Bill Pullman) in the film 'Zero Effect':

Now, a few words on looking for things. When you go looking for something specific, your chances of finding it are very bad. Because of all the things in the world, you're only looking for one of them. When you go looking for anything at all, your chances of finding it are very good. Because of all the things in the world, you're sure to find some of them.

(Yeah, not very helpful but I do often reflect on this when I am in fact looking for 'something specific.')
posted by Insert Clever Name Here at 9:41 AM on May 10 [6 favorites]


Having a small child can seriously harm your chances with the eureka stick.
Having a ferret does the opposite. They pick a spot, and absolutely pack it with as many socks and pens and cat toys and spoons and....
posted by shenkerism at 9:45 AM on May 10 [2 favorites]


Now, where did I put those launch codes? [Puts on kettle, has a sit down]
posted by phooky at 9:47 AM on May 10 [1 favorite]


It's always in the last place you look.


Once, when I was about twelve I got annoyed enough with this truism that one time I continued looking for something for a full five minutes after I found it.
posted by meinvt at 9:48 AM on May 10 [43 favorites]


I have lost 2 seed packets - peas & arugula. I will find them immediately after I purchase replacements.
posted by theora55 at 9:56 AM on May 10 [4 favorites]


It is always either behind the couch or in the couch cushions.

The other day, I got up. I couldn't find my socks.
So I called Information.
She said, "Hello, Information."
I said, "I can't find my socks."
She said, "They're behind the couch."
And they were.

-Steven Wright
posted by The Bellman at 10:00 AM on May 10 [8 favorites]


Store your keys in the fridge and you will never lose them again.

I had a co-worker who would literally do this with his car keys. (Granted, it was his strategy for making sure not to forget his lunchbag.)
posted by everdred at 10:06 AM on May 10 [2 favorites]


The 13th principal should really be "Go out and buy a new one, then come home and throw the receipt away. The old one will appear the day after garbage day."
posted by jacquilynne at 10:09 AM on May 10 [6 favorites]


George Carlin - Losing Things (NSFW: typical George Carlin language)
posted by Greg_Ace at 10:17 AM on May 10 [3 favorites]


Part of the expression of my ADHD is that putting things away after use rarely happens, while my partner is very organized, labeling drawers and such.

You would think that I would constantly lose things and that my partner would always know where things are.

You would be wrong.

I can find things because they are always where I left them when I finished using them, so all I have to do is remember what I was last doing with them. My partner is so hyper-organized that when they are looking for packing tape they have no idea if they put it in the Fasteners drawer, the Tape drawer, the Misc. Hardware drawer, or put it in the closet with the Postal and Shipping Items. Whereas I know it's on the dining room table because I wrapped a package there two days ago.

(The best ADHD storage tip I ever found was "Store it where you use it," which doesn't mean leaving the packing tape out on the dining room table but instead putting a cabinet in the dining room for the tape, which actually works for me.)
posted by telophase at 10:22 AM on May 10 [15 favorites]


if you take a thing out, put it back where you found it.

The rest of my family's take on that is, "If you take a thing out, it has ceased to exist in your consciousness and dad will put it away at some point while grumbling like a madman."
posted by Abehammerb Lincoln at 10:46 AM on May 10 [6 favorites]




This is missing an important step. You must always start by saying a prayer asking for the help of Saint Anthony -- the finder of lost things.

We use:

Tony! Tony! Look around!
Something's lost which must be found!


It's worked...often enough to keep doing it.
posted by jquinby at 11:00 AM on May 10 [3 favorites]


"Calm down and thi..."

"NO YOU CALM DOWN, I CAN'T FIND THE THING MY PANICKING AUTISTIC CHILD HAS LOST AND SHE IS SCREAMING SCREAMING SCREAMING AND IT TURNS OUT IT"S IN THE BIRDCAGE."


This started out as humorous, and turned into me realizing I probably need therapy.
posted by Abehammerb Lincoln at 11:11 AM on May 10 [5 favorites]


My pitch for a story/movie here is: (amateur?) private detective who uses these principles to search for a missing person (and finds more had been lost than s/he'd initially assumed).
posted by nobody at 11:17 AM on May 10 [3 favorites]


"Among the most common offenders are newspapers and sombreros."
Gold.
posted by ikahime at 11:21 AM on May 10 [1 favorite]


ski-bap bad-ap
posted by flabdablet at 11:22 AM on May 10 [6 favorites]


For small things like pens and scissors and reading glasses it's simply not worth figuring out where they ought to be stored. The trick is to keep adding more of them to your living space until it's fully saturated, at which point you'll be able put your hands on one very quickly regardless of where you look.

As you approach saturation, this kind of object will naturally start to cluster and orbit around in your space in fuzzy clumps, like galaxies forming under the influence of gravity. That makes them easier to find, too.

For everything else you don't need principles, you just need to have a Mum's Look.
posted by flabdablet at 11:29 AM on May 10 [27 favorites]


My pitch for a story/movie here is: (amateur?) private detective who uses these principles to search for a missing person (and finds more had been lost than s/he'd initially assumed).

...And then in the sequel, those people get re-lost in Department of Unclaimed Formerly-Missing Persons bureaucracy.
posted by Greg_Ace at 11:30 AM on May 10 [1 favorite]


I think the best way not to lose things is to put them in a designated spot, ala Principle 4. Except, the kicker is that you always have that spot be a remarkable location. Store your keys in the fridge and you will never lose them again.

I keep shish-kebab skewers in the fridge, no the very bottom, besides/under the crisper drawer. This is because they once ended up there I don't know how, and I noticed them there and I figured now that I noticed them there I know where they are so I'll just leave them there, and so now that's just where they belong.
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 11:31 AM on May 10 [5 favorites]


The 13th principal should really be "Go out and buy a new one..." and ...put it in the Fasteners drawer, the Tape drawer, the Misc. Hardware drawer, or put it in the closet with the Postal and Shipping Items...

EXACTLY!! Put that together and that's the principal of The 13th Principal.

You buy multiples or two-fer-ones on sale as you can, and then you put them in places you usually, or might, or could possibly look.

It eliminates the time and frustration you spend hunting things down, keeps you from running out when you need it*), and you can feel good that you got duct tape at @2 for $2.49 a roll instead of waiting till next week when it will be $5.69 each with this shitty inflation.

* If you run out before making a note to purchase more of {thing} that's a different problem.
posted by BlueHorse at 11:37 AM on May 10 [1 favorite]


they once ended up there I don't know how, and I noticed them there and I figured now that I noticed them there I know where they are so I'll just leave them there, and so now that's just where they belong.

Egg zackly. Work with the nature of things rather than endlessly trying to impose your own preconceptions about how they ought to be organized, and they will automatically arrange themselves harmoniously.

The corollary is that if you find a thing in a place that's clearly just grossly inharmonious, you should not try to "put it away" - you should instead immediately throw it out, because it's just revealed itself as inherently opposed to your space's natural order, will never never never be happy living with you, and will continue to cause you grief until you do.

put it in the closet with the Postal and Shipping Items

All anybody ever really needs is three categories.
posted by flabdablet at 11:45 AM on May 10 [2 favorites]


Associate Prof. Cardy would like to add a word

as would Research Director Lizzo and Dr. Missile from Prosthetics.
posted by flabdablet at 11:53 AM on May 10 [3 favorites]


To add to The 13th Principal: Unfortunately, I believe flabdablet to be incorrect with his point of total saturation. You must 2-4 of something, for example, scissors. That means you are still careful to put them back in at least one of the logical places to look. Total saturation is problematic--examples are my 81 tubes of Chapstick or the 32 rolls of scotch tape that my husband adds to every Christmas. In that case, things never get put back anywhere, they get washed in the jeans pockets or left to melt in the car, or tape is packed away someplace for the next wrapping. My 15 pairs of Dollar Tree reading glasses disappear in purse, car, by computer or night, stand, or get stuck on my head, and I look for 45 minutes before I notice. Periodically I gather the different items together and put them away in their proper place, but the Chapstick gets icky flavored, the tape dries out, and the glasses get scratched because of being put down carelessly.
So....
posted by BlueHorse at 11:53 AM on May 10 [1 favorite]


Total saturation is problematic--examples are my 81 tubes of Chapstick or the 32 rolls of scotch tape that my husband adds to every Christmas.

I see no problem here.
posted by praemunire at 12:14 PM on May 10 [3 favorites]


I was looking around for a flashlight, and I found myself saying "I don't see it anywhere!" Then I wondered if I was conditioning myself to not see it, so I said to myself "I see the flashlight" and I immediately found it.
posted by The Half Language Plant at 12:25 PM on May 10 [10 favorites]


It can help to stand in the middle of the room and say, "I believe in the Law of Conservation of Matter. Therefore, [the object] can not have disappeared."

This doesn't mean the Law of Conservation of Matter is true, but the universe doesn't like to be caught cheating.
posted by Nancy Lebovitz at 12:32 PM on May 10 [5 favorites]


I was looking around for a flashlight, and I found myself saying "I don't see it anywhere!"

That one's easy. You just need a flashlight to help you look for the flashlight.
posted by flabdablet at 12:35 PM on May 10 [4 favorites]


Dear St. Meatbomb, help me now
Find the thing I lost somehow


You have made the choice to look for das Ding, a commitment. Even though I have told you not to look, and to carefully consider that you, instead, are the one who has lost the way in this uncaring universe. So. Resolve to possess yourself in comfort, calmness, and confidence. You will find the thing. Stop doing that, I told you I looked there already.

We continue to search, together against the forces of chaos. Has it, somehow, already found its way home, if you can consider this disorganized monument to late capitalism to be such? Check the hook by the door. Consider your own organizational failings, the way you cast things aside and create this disorder, and for a moment believe that someone here in this eternal mess has performed a necessary act of restoration for love of you. Be the person; reflect on where they would put it in order to be of help to you.

Did you, in fact, check the hook by the door? Carefully, taking time to identify which set of keys belongs to which person? Did you know that keys hide with their own, and that only the most careful attention brings the desired set to light? AGAIN, I told you I looked there already. As you have rejected my advice about returning objects to their homes, it is now that we encounter the true difficulties. Reflect on your actions, your habits, your memories. Your butt.

And, if all is lost, keys, positionality, a faith in order and logic, and your own soul, then--shrug, and know that you have tithed to the inscrutable economy of the Universe. And next time you are tempted to put something down, instead return the damn thing to its established home.

AMEN
posted by MonkeyToes at 12:36 PM on May 10 [4 favorites]


Thank you, St. Werner.
posted by praemunire at 12:56 PM on May 10


The best trick is to have a small house, and only a couple places in the house for storage.
posted by subdee at 12:57 PM on May 10


while grumbling like a madman

I need to save my grumbling energy for when I follow my wife and daughter around so I can turn off every goddamn light in the house.
posted by kirkaracha at 1:08 PM on May 10 [6 favorites]


The object is lost only because you seek it. The search stems from desire, desire stems from attachment, attachment is suffering. Abandon your attachments, and you will never lose anything again. Accept this lesson and you may achieve nirvana, but if that is what you seek you will never find it.
posted by biogeo at 1:09 PM on May 10 [18 favorites]


There is an art to achieving nirvana, or rather a knack. The knack lies in learning how to throw yourself at enlightenment uncaringly. Clearly, it is this second part, the not caring, that presents the difficulties. You have to have your attention suddenly distracted by something else when you're halfway there, such as where you left the flashlight, so that you are no longer thinking about nirvana, or enlightenment, or about how your suffering on the wheel of life will continue if you fail to achieve it.
posted by Greg_Ace at 2:24 PM on May 10 [5 favorites]


So, true story, I have lost all my jewellery. Well not all of it, just the expensive stuff. At some point in the...year? two years? before the pandemic, I gathered all the expensive stuff and bundled it together and put it away. My mom was there and we both remember I did this. I did this because...I was going away? Or someone was going to be using my house? We don't remember the details. There was someone working from home in my home during the pandemic (I moved out), but I think I hid the jewellery away before that. I may have hidden it at my house or I may have taken it to my parents' house.

I have no idea where it is. My mom is tearing herself apart trying to figure it out and will call me urgently to suggest places to look. She called me this morning to say maybe I hid it under the cushions of a couch I gave a way (I didn't). I am of the mind that you look for something carefully and if you don't find it, you stop looking. It will turn up when it turns up. My bundle of jewellery did not get up and walk out of my home. One day I will find it and I will think "Oh of course!" If this thread is still open then, I'll update you, all.
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 2:29 PM on May 10 [7 favorites]




Years ago my mother and aunt were visiting me and they cooked a lot and almost figured out how we organize our kitchen, though not quite. We found everything they put away except the Kitchenaid leaf-shaped beater.

The kitchen in question has been packed up completely at least twice since then but the beater never reappeared.
posted by clew at 2:39 PM on May 10 [2 favorites]


It can help to stand in the middle of the room and say, "I believe in the Law of Conservation of Matter. Therefore, [the object] can not have disappeared."

I know I sound insane when I say this, but I've literally seen things poof and go away in front of me and I once managed to lose a key in an empty hallway with nowhere to lose it behind. I blame it on evil fairies.
posted by jenfullmoon at 2:39 PM on May 10 [2 favorites]


#4—check again where it's supposed to be—is always my starting point when something is lost and it's surprisingly successful.
posted by straight at 3:12 PM on May 10 [1 favorite]


When figuring out the proper place for something, consider where you'd first look for it.
posted by whuppy at 3:24 PM on May 10 [5 favorites]


I once managed to lose a key in an empty hallway with nowhere to lose it behind. I blame it on evil fairies.

Have you seen the bottle episode of Community? Could be a monkey.
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 3:55 PM on May 10 [3 favorites]


"So I can turn off every Goddamned light in the house!" Well, at least you are not a light tyrant, with painted on arms.
posted by Oyéah at 3:56 PM on May 10 [1 favorite]


I just spent more than three weeks looking for my favorite jeans, which spitefully spent the entire three weeks folded neatly in the drawer where they belong, where I never though to look.

The whole episode was a stunning endorsement of my amazing housekeeping skills.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 4:06 PM on May 10 [4 favorites]


The first -- nay, zeroth -- principle here is First Order Retrievability.

For those who are not blessed with TV money and the infinite storage space it brings, never having to move a thing to get at a different thing may be unattainable.

But never having to move a thing to know what specific things are behind it is paramount. For verily I say unto you: The moment you have to move The Other Things to look for The Original Thing, you've just "lost" a fraction of those Other Things (and, like as not, further obscured said Original Thing).
posted by sourcequench at 4:47 PM on May 10 [3 favorites]


A few weeks ago I found the set of keys that I thought I had lost on Köln Hauptbahnhof in 2019. It turned out that I had not in fact lost the keys, I had lost the pocket in the backpack where I had put them.
posted by Hogshead at 5:14 PM on May 10 [5 favorites]


You just need a flashlight to help you look for the flashlight.

And I need my glasses so I can look for my glasses!
posted by The Half Language Plant at 6:36 PM on May 10 [2 favorites]


My spiritual master, Gretchen Rubin, says, if you can't find something, clean up. I'll add that it's also important to deliberately look in/around whatever you're feeling most guilty about. Because I think one tends to either flinch away from it, or even create a kind of mental blindspot about it and its general vicinity. Perhaps you even skip over it while following the advice to clean up, because you know you're supposed to do something about it but you're too busy looking for your lost thing.

I lost my pencil case full of fountain pens a few weeks ago. Not my good pens; they have specific Landing Zones and they are not allowed to wander. Just some cheap Noodler's pens that I use for drawing, containing several Charlies and a slightly-dog-chewed Konrad—but, also, annoyingly, an Ahab demonstrator I hadn't even inked yet! I looked for them for two weeks, using, at one time or another, all the principles given here. Then I got to qué será será bought more pens.

I found the case two days ago when I picked up the stack of papers I had been procrastinating on grading.

Yes, it's finals week.

At least now I have more pens.
posted by BrashTech at 6:53 PM on May 10 [5 favorites]


I loose stuff often, but I'm getting old and I also lost stuff when I was younger. The most epic household searches were for when we were young and broke students, and stashed that special little next-day crumb of hashish in a special place, and then tried to remember where the next day. In loosely related, we also dumped all of our Bic cigarette lighters on the coffee table, and the number varied widely from one to ten at any given time.

I do keep my keys in one place now.
posted by ovvl at 7:14 PM on May 10


Then there's the times the thing wasn't ever lost to begin with. Those are always embarrassing when witnessed by others...

I don't remember a lot from my childhood, but I do still vividly remember once when I was maybe 11 years old and looking for a small notebook. For a good 10 or 15 minutes I ransacked the house - I can't say top to bottom, exactly, but "where I could reach" to bottom at least - over and over looking for the damn thing, only to finally realize I'd had it tucked under my arm the entire time. Yeesh. I understand now that the flak I caught for that was pretty good-natured and mild, but I was in no mood to accept it as such back then.
posted by Greg_Ace at 7:43 PM on May 10 [4 favorites]


When I can't find my cup of coffee, 90% of the time, it's in the microwave.

I found the seeds in the car; planted some. pretty good day.
posted by theora55 at 7:58 PM on May 10 [6 favorites]


Vicar:
posted by Mister Moofoo at 8:07 PM on May 10 [1 favorite]


Perhaps a little serious for this thread, and behind a New Yorker paywall, and the author is a very dear friend of mine, but this entire conversation reminds me of Kathryn Schulz’s 2017 piece “When Things Go Missing”.
posted by lassie at 8:37 PM on May 10


This did not help me find my Bescherelle, last confirmed use late last summer, first identified as definitely missing late in the fall. Trouble was the first few times I didn't see it where it belongs it was easier to grab a dictionary and check the grammar section than it was to embark on a full scale search. By the time I did go through every stack of paper and move every book in my room I had no memory at all of the instance where it disappeared.

I had such a surge of hope when I saw this post and eagerly started down the thirteen principles, but the principles are for things that were lost recently, not things that have been gone for weeks.

I want my bloody Bescherelle back.
posted by Jane the Brown at 9:14 PM on May 10 [2 favorites]


Now, where is my innocence?
posted by porpoise at 9:41 PM on May 10


Don't they confiscate that in first grade?
posted by Greg_Ace at 10:02 PM on May 10


The smart phone has become such a ubiquitous extension of ourselves that we are literally never without them, and even a moment’s thought that one is misplaced can cause an existential crisis, but they are always closer than you think. I have heard, from more than one friend that they have used the flashlight on their phone to help illuminate the search for same.
posted by Devils Rancher at 4:20 AM on May 11 [5 favorites]


When I can't find my cup of coffee, 90% of the time, it's in the microwave.

How I make tea:

1) Pour boiling water onto teabags
2) Set timer on microwave
3) Go to my computer and read MetaFilter & etc.
4) Hear the timer go off
5) Go back to the kitchen and open the microwave
6) Wonder where my tea is
7) Figure it out
posted by kirkaracha at 7:00 AM on May 11 [5 favorites]


"So I can turn off every Goddamned light in the house!" Well, at least you are not a light tyrant, with painted on arms.

It's my comeuppance for mocking my dad's obsession with keeping the door from the kitchen to the laundry room closed at all times (with exceptions for entering/leaving the laundry room). My mom and siblings and I would mock him, and being obsessed with turning the lights off in empty rooms is one way I'm turning into him.
posted by kirkaracha at 7:04 AM on May 11


Then there's the times the thing wasn't ever lost to begin with. Those are always embarrassing when witnessed by others...

I took my four year old to the opthalmologist and he took his glasses off to get his vision and eyes checked. When they got to the part where he needed to wear his glasses again, they were nowhere to be found. The opthalmologist and I looked EVERYWHERE. I checked my purse, every flat surface. She opened up her desk just in case she "put them away" by accident when she put away some instrument. Under her papers. In his file. Under the chairs. Behind the door.

I'd been wearing his glasses on my head the whole time.
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 7:26 AM on May 11 [5 favorites]


COMFORT

Start by making yourself comfortable in an armchair or sofa. Have a cup of tea, perhaps, or a stick of gum, or pipeful of tobacco.


I'm of Indian heritage so this would be more like "Have 12 cups of tea"...
posted by piyushnz at 7:27 AM on May 11 [2 favorites]


Oh, and I just rememebered, I feel like there's another principle left out of the article, under the "maybe you're looking right at it" point, which is "maybe it doesn't look like think it does." I can't tell you the number of times I"ve looked for some kitchen implement sure that the handle is red and actually it's silver. Or I know the oil is in a tall thin bottle and it's in a squat square bottle that I was looking right past because it wasn't the right shape.
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 7:28 AM on May 11 [4 favorites]


I though the "it's where it should be" principal was going to be about how really everything is always in it's right place and it's our belief that they are lost which is wrong, and you need to just accept the life without keys that the universe has offered you, you fscking ingrates.
posted by kaibutsu at 7:50 AM on May 11 [4 favorites]


I have a couple of boxes I have not unpacked since I moved here 5 years ago.

If I can't find something it must surely be in one of those boxes, and I will not open that can of worms just for a wire stripper. Just strip the wire between a rock and a stick from the backyard or learn to live with unstripped wire and get on with life and a good night's sleep.

And if later I find a wire stripper behind the flour and biscuits in the pantry, well what a happy day, now I have a wire stripper in the moving boxes and I don't have to care if I lose the free one I just found.
posted by Dr. Curare at 9:54 AM on May 11 [3 favorites]


I have the most annoying superpower. I’m amazing at finding things. But not my things, only other peoples things.

I’m also severely ADHD.

So I get to watch everyone have a wonderful helper who finds their lost things. And usually I can’t find my own stuff.

SIGH.
posted by omegajuice at 2:46 AM on May 12 [1 favorite]


Easy fix there is, anything you've lost you just immediately give away to somebody else.
posted by flabdablet at 4:35 AM on May 12 [1 favorite]


2 quick ways of finding a needle in a haystack: burn it, and/or big magnet
posted by Dub at 6:05 PM on May 12


Burning a big magnet, however, is somewhat less efficacious.
posted by Greg_Ace at 6:58 PM on May 12


Give up and flop down on the hay. That’ll find you the needle.
posted by clew at 10:16 PM on May 12 [2 favorites]


Kid joke:

How do you find an elephant?

I don’t know. How do you lose one?
posted by Devils Rancher at 1:53 AM on May 13 [2 favorites]


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