Self-Improvement: "How to remember to take things with you"

How to Remember to Take Things With You

from wikiHow – The How to Manual That You Can Edit

Many people worry about finding themselves several blocks from home and suddenly remembering the keys left behind in the office, or the wallet. Anything can be forgotten. If you’re the type of person who tends to forget things, here are some tips to help you.


  1. Establish a group of things that you cannot ever forget. This group includes such items as:
    • Keys to your home, car, or office
    • Purse or wallet
    • Money and/or credit card
    • Identification
    • Badge for work
    • Watch
    • Cell phone
    • Memory stick
  2. Get a basket or other receptacle where you can leave the things you should always take when you leave home. There you can place your wallet, your cell phone, your keys and your calendar or planner. Make it a habit to leave these items (and any others you consider necessary) in the basket so that you can easily take them when it’s time to go. If you need to take something special with you on a particular day, i.e. a book you’re loaning to a friend, leave yourself a voicemail on your home or cell phone, and as soon as you get home and retrieve the message, put the item in the basket so it’s there waiting for you the next morning.
  3. Try this memory trick as a checklist when making quick trips: “Sell M.I.L.K..” Instead of “Sell,” bring your cell, plus:
    • Money
    • I.D.
    • Lipstick, Lip gloss, List or Lucky penny – whichever you use most
    • Keys.
  4. Make a big list and post it prominently by the door where you leave your house. Write in big letters so you can quickly review it on your way out.
  5. Buy a white board and place it next to your preferred exit, next to the other list. On this board, write the things that vary (extra money for a special payment, picking someone up, etc.). Write things down as soon as you arrive home and review them when you leave.
  6. Count the items. If you must always have your bag, your lunch box, your badge, and your keys when you leave, check to make sure you have four items each time you leave.
  7. Place clocks in strategic locations throughout the house. Many times we forget things because we don’t have the time to check. The clocks can help to remind us of our sense of responsibility and return our minds to the real world.
  8. Organize your room and your home. Slowly become the sort of organized person who knows where everything is. Even if disorganized people know where everything is, it’s more likely that something is out of place in a disorganized room than in an organized one. In an organized room, everything out of place is visible instantly.


  • Don’t stop to think too much about what you might be forgetting. Most of the time it doesn’t work anyway since there is nothing you’re forgetting, anyway. If there were something, you probably wouldn’t be forgetting it. It’s better to review your list and leave confidently.
  • Using the list and the board can be difficult at first. People are creatures of habit and it takes time to change. Don’t get discouraged if you don’t remember to use the board and the list at first. The important thing is to keep trying.
  • It’s important that you organize your things for yourself. Otherwise, it’s not likely that you’ll find something quickly when you need it.
  • A very easy way to remember things is to attach them to you somehow: for example, a wallet with a chain, commonly known as a “biker’s wallet” or “trucker’s wallet”. Mini-carabiners, sold for about a dollar or less at discount stores, let you expand this idea to several other items. Something large, like a laptop that you leave behind after a few drinks at the bar, can be attached by looping the shoulder strap around a leg. You might fall flat on your face getting off the barstool, but you won’t forget your laptop!
  • A very simple way to make sure everything is still with you, e.g. when you get off a bus, is to build the habit to put keys, wallet and cell phone always in the same pockets. In the meanwhile, the quick mechanical movement of touching your pockets on the outside with your hands, will allow you to immediately tell what is there and what is not (if the left pocket, where you usually put your phone seems empty, you have surely forgotten your phone somewhere!). After a while this check sequence will become a subconscious action, and every time you get off the car, leave the house, go through a crowd (risk of pick-pocketing), you will be sure everything is with you.
  • If you can’t leave without your car keys (if you have to drive to go anywhere), place your car keys on top of items that you don’t want to forget–your lunch leftovers in the fridge or that pie to take to dinner at a friend’s house, for instance. This way it is impossible to leave without your keys, which are with your ‘don’t forget’ stuff.
  • Another can’t miss tip is to put easily forgotten items in your shoes. This is especially helpful with unusual items that you may only need to remember occasionally such as a grocery list or a bank deposit.
  • Always lock all the doors to your house, so you get in the habit of always carrying a key. If your front door has a deadbolt lock, use that, because it has to be locked with a key from the outside.
  • If you pack your lunch for work the night before, place your keys in your refrigerator next to your lunch before you go to sleep. Never mooch again!
  • Have duplicates (when possible) in case you do forget something really vital. For instance, if you’re likely to forget your key for home, have a duplicate at work. Or be sure your roommate, spouse, or friend has a copy.
  • Checklists aren’t a sign of weakness. Airplane pilots have a checklist that they use every time they fly, no matter if they’ve just earned their license or have flown for thirty years. Don’t be afraid to use a physical checklist if it helps you.


  • Take care to include all the items you need in the list and on the board. At first it’s likely that you’ll forget to write down certain things until you make it a habit to do so. Remember to check your list twice before continuing.

Things You’ll Need

  • A basket or other receptacle
  • A white board
  • White board markers
  • A white board eraser
  • A sheet of paper for your list
  • A pen to write with

Related wikiHows

Article provided by wikiHow, a collaborative writing project to build the world’s largest, highest quality how-to manual. Please edit this article and find author credits at the original wikiHow article on How to Remember to Take Things With You. All content on wikiHow can be shared under a Creative Commons license.


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