I consider myself a pretty organized person, but one perpetual problem I have is that I lose my keys. I’d say that it’s because I’m a busy mom and I’m always carrying 52 kid things in my hands when I walk in the door, but the truth is I have lost my keys on a regular basis for as long as I can remember.
I’d lose them in the abyss of my purse back when I carried one, or I’d lose them somewhere random around the house or all too frequently I’d find them still in the ignition. My sweet husband even got me an awesome key finder that I have used almost daily since we got it several months ago.
I’ve been using the KonMari method from The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up to declutter my home and life and one of the suggestions the author Maria Kondo makes deals with the flow of your home. Many organizational methods take into account how often you use something or storing things where they are used, but what if that line of thinking is all wrong?
“Clutter is caused by a failure to return things to where they belong. Therefore, storage should reduce the effort needed to put things away, not the effort to get them out,” Kondo says.
Where do you store your keys when not in use? I know that I have a key rack, two of them actually, placed by each entrance to my home. Conventional wisdom would purport that since I pass through this space upon entering and exiting my home, storing my keys here makes perfect sense. I love the ease of just grabbing my keys off the key rack as I’m headed out the door.
The problem with this method is that my keys never made it to the rack. I rarely come in the door in a leisurely fashion with the time or hands needed to put the keys away. More often, I’m carrying bags of groceries, a baby, a basket full of excess car toys, water bottles…you know, all of those mom things! My typical routine is to enter the house like a tornado, toss my armful of stuff on the kitchen counter, put the baby down to play and then start putting things away.
When I started grasping the idea of making things easy to put away, I realized I was trying to store my keys in the wrong place. Kondo believes that your belongings and your house actually speak to you, and as crazy as that sounds, it’s true. My keys begged me to find them a home where I could easily put them away to rest every time I came home and let me know that if I had the motivation to load up the car and my children, then I would have the motivation to walk a few extra steps to a seemingly inconvenient place to retrieve them before leaving.
I decided my keys would live in a kitchen drawer and found small drawer organizers to keep them from rattling around. By storing keys in the kitchen, I was avoiding having to put them away during the challenge of trying to get in the door. Now I could put them away after I unloaded my arms while I was in the kitchen where I spend most of my waking hours at home.
It’s been a few weeks since I’ve made the change and I haven’t lost my keys one time. And I know I won’t. It’s just not possible when my keys have a designated home, and I put them there every time I come home. I have gotten in the car and realized I had forgotten to retrieve my keys a few times, but the fact that I already had the kids in the car and a destination in mind made it a simple task to walk into the kitchen to pick up the keys and go on my way. I’m confident that this is a way to never lose your keys again.
We’ve made our kitchen drawer with the keys into a home for wallets and cell phones too because those are other items that regularly got lost in the clutter of the house because we didn’t have an effective place to store them.
If you’ve ever lost your keys, you know what an annoyance it can be. I have been pleasantly surprised at how life-changing this one small organizational change has been. No more rushing around the house, frantically trying to find my keys. When I respect my things and give them a proper place to live, my house is happier. And so am I.