TODAY   |  April 23, 2014

Help! Tips for finding items you lost

Psychologist Cynthia Green, Sumathi Reddy from The Wall Street Journal and Michael Solomon, a self-proclaimed “findologist,” give Kathie Lee and Hoda a few pointers on finding items they misplace. They suggest you create a “forget-me-not-spot” for commonly misplaced items.

Share This:

This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> how many times has this happened to you? you're about to run out of the house, and suddenly you realize you can't find your keys?

>> or you swear you put your cell phone in your purse, but it is nowhere to be found.

>> well, this man --

>> this man!

>> -- says he can help you find whatever it is you've misplaced. he's michael salomon, self-proclaimed findologist and a fine one at that. and author of "how to find lost objects." hello and welcome.

>> hi, michael .

>> thank you.

>> first of all, we want everyone to look at this photo that we're going to put up in the back. we're also going to tweet it and post it on our website. there is the picture. hidden in that photo, you guys, are five things that are often misplaced. house keys.

>> glasses.

>> a cell phone . wallet. a pair of glasses and a purse. so michael , let's pretend we live in that. what's your first tip in looking for items like this?

>> the first tip is to admit to yourself, it's not lost. i am.

>> okay.

>> that i'm not searching the right way or i'm in the wrong state of mind .

>> right.

>> then when you get that done, probably my most useful principle -- i have 12 -- it's called the eureka zone or the 18-inch principle. and what i have found is many lost objects are actually within 18 inches of where they last were or where you remember them being, where they're supposed to be. but they've gotten moved or displaced a little bit.

>> shifted.

>> they've gotten shifted. something's on top of it. so i use my eureka stick. this is an 18-inch ruler.

>> where did you find that?

>> menards stores. i measure an 18-inch radius, and i search is meticulously, every square inch of it, and often it works. the object is right there.

>> as we're going room to room -- i've even looked in the refrigerator and the stove.

>> in your house, it might be there.

>> or a weird drawer, because you never know. they say if you retrace your steps --

>> that's a principle, trail thyself. another one is think back. that memory is in there somewhere because you've left it somewhere. relax and let that memory float up.

>> you're going to help us after the commercial. he's coming back. it's not over.

>> wow!

>> yeah.

>> during the commercial break , we're going to see if you can find all of those five items. and in a few minutes, we're going to reveal where they are, and hopefully you'll never lose anything else again for as long as you live.

>>> according to a study in "the wall street journal ," the average person misplaces nine items a day, so we're going to help you cut that down and hopefully never lose anything again.

>> cynthia green is a clinical psychologist and author of "your best brain ever." sue wrote "the wall street journal " article called "why we keep losing our keys."

>> and back with us is michael salomon who forgot -- i'm only kidding -- he himself calls himself a findfindologist.

>> before we get started, with ed this little game where we had this setting and we asked you to find the five things that were missing. we removed them and now we're going to put them back on the screen. but we talked about it, keys, a purse, phone, et cetera , et cetera , et cetera . so where are they?

>> are we supposed to answer?

>> see the keys are on the bottom, the glasses are on the table.

>> right.

>> the purse is in the back. the wallet is up top.

>> on the mantel. and the phone is over there.

>> okay. but is that the general rule? when we put something down, it's usually in the wheelhouse as we go traipsing around the house trying to find it in other places? michael , is that usually the case?

>> my maksim is, if you put it down, it's gone. because you're thinking of something else. you put your keys down when you come in the house. you're not thinking where you put it. you're thinking what you're going to do next.

>> your mind is usually scattered anyway. you're freaking out. i've got to find them. i'm late.

>> absolutely. it boils down to distractions. these are items we pick up and put down all the time and we're not really paying attention when we put them down. if we don't have a place where we always put them --

>> that's the key. it's called organizational.

>> people that are organized do better at these kinds of tasks.

>> i do this sometimes, too. i thought i had my phone. i'm in the cab. and suddenly i don't see it in my purse. and i'm already thinking about calling the cab people or 311 because i'm sure i left it on the seat. when in reality, it was right exactly where i thought i left, but i was panicking and searching for it.

>> like cynthia said, it's attention, but factors like stress, fatigue, multitasking, all these things distract us so we're not thinking about where we put it.

>> which of these should we be worried about this? if it's happening so much. not just 9 times, maybe 15 and not just that many items, but it's over and again the same. when do you have a problem?

>> this is not the kind of thing to worry about. i think when we worry about it when they start happening to us more, are we stressed? are we overanxious? what's distracting us? in terms of worrying about a serious memory issue, this isn't the kind of symptom that we need to worry about. but it's the kind of thing that we can do better in terms of developing better habits for keeping track of things.

>> you say saying something out loud. what does that mean?

>> it reinforces.

>> you're walking in the door, juggling groceries, you're on the phone, i'm putting my keys on the dresser.

>> you say that out loud before you put them down?

>> it helps so it encodes it into your memory.

>> i wonder if you could train yourself to really do that and not feel stupid.

>> yeah, yeah.

>> you know? i'm walking in the door. the phone's ringing. so you go, dresser. it does work.

>> sometimes you forget what you're looking for. and it helps -- potholder, potholder, to keep saying to yourself, while this is boiling over, you may remember what you're looking for.

>> or if you walk into the other room to get the scissors. you don't have to say it out loud. you can say it to yourself, but it keeps you focused. really all of this is about distraction.

>> so the ways, to stop losing things. say something out loud. find a place where you always put your keys, your glasses, et cetera . are there any other tips that could help people at home?

>> forget-me-not spot so you don't have to pay attention . chances are we're always going to be distracted. if you have a place where you always put those things and always get into the hackett bit of putting them there will also help.

>> visualization. you might forget where you park your car. picture, like, the produce department and what you're going to get there. when you get there --

>> and say it out loud. k22.

>> when you do finally search for it, do so methodically and wait until your agitated mind has gone. if you're not calm, you could look right at something and not see it.

>> i've done that. i usually get another set of eyes. do you see it? i know my glasses are here. look around.

>> u.n., everybody.

>> thanks so much.

>> what was that all about? i forgot.