The definition for “loser” depends on the circumstance in which a loser finds him or herself. One definition has to do with losing at a sport, gambling or some kind of game or competition. I’m the first one to say it sucks to lose, but if we’ve been raised by loving people who taught us how to be good losers, we spare ourselves being the “bad sport.”
So you lost at Monopoly and landed on Park Place laden with hotels, or you didn’t win the Miss America contest; boo hoo, big deal. It’s not like you fell off or climbed down from some social ladder, but you’re still considered a loser. Anyway, that’s not the kind of loser this Young@Heart is about.
I know for sure we SHEs are losers, because we spend a lot of our valuable time looking for stuff. As SHEs, we’ve had a lot of experience calling the Lost & Found department in various establishments like hotels, restaurants, theatres, airports etc. and like the guy who doesn’t take car maintenance seriously and becomes known by the local towing company in town, SHEs usually get to know the Lost & Found people in familiar institutions like the building at work, the kids’ school, your school, your gym etc.
I want to share two ways to curb the search for your stuff. In part 2 which I’ll send out next week, I share two other ways we lose; one from loss of loved ones through death or disease and one from theft.
Curb the search by establishing
a home for the stuff you most frequently lose.
Just think how much time you spend each year looking for your stuff! (It’s probably at least a couple of days.) It seems easier at the time to just put those items down somewhere, or out of sight in a drawer, because there aren’t dedicated places to put them. When you establish homes for each individual item, you’re on your way to curbing those mad searches, usually when you’re in a hurry.
If we minded the rule “A place for everything and everything in its place,” we’d never have to search for our glasses, car keys, purse, coat, cell phone, shoes, scissors, or tweezers again. To break the cycle of losing things and finding homes for stuff you want to keep, I suggest you use your imagination.
1. Use Drama and be a Romantic
If you’re a romantic, you could pretend to be Cupid. For example, take an item that you tend to spend a lot of time looking for, your car key for instance. Pretend you’re a matchmaker and you’re going to hook up Miss Car Key with Mr. Wooden Peg and Mr. Right Pocket (that place in your purse where you are going to put Miss Key whenever you’re out with your car).
As a matchmaker, you can relish seeing them together and be so happy for the new couple, that every time you see them together you feel like Cupid. Awwwww.
2. Be the Care-Giver
Or, here’s another idea. If you think of Miss Key as a real person who’s directionally challenged, or a child who needs your compassion and help to make sure she gets home each time she’s in your care, you’ll have more fun establishing this habit. Think of it as a “keys-are-people-too” concept. Say to your car key, “Okay Miss Key, I’m going to find two homes for you this very minute. At home, it’s going to be a convenient spot so when I head for the car you’ll be right there in my face. When I get out of the car after I’ve driven somewhere, I’m going to choose a home for you in my purse where you’ll always go.”
Once you’ve established homes for the common things you tend to lose, the stories you’ve attached to them will help you practice using the new homes until they are second nature for you. Once you’ve considered yourself as a caregiver for your often lost items, leaving any of them in the wrong place would be like a mom leaving her toddler at the mall.
It may take about 21 days before you’ll stop leaving things where they don’t belong, but if you keep remembering you’re Cupid or the Care-Giving, you’ll gradually establish the habit of putting things back where they belong.
Thank you for reading my essay today. I hope you share this with the losers in your life! For taking your time I’d like to give you one of the chapters in my latest book The Joy of Being Disorganized. The chapter is called There Arose Such a Clutter and it’s really helping SHEs declutter just a little bit at a time.