How to Never Lose a Ring or Necklace Again, Part 1

This post isn't exactly about how to have a House That Cleans Itself, but I hope you'll find it helpful regardless. That's because the type of person who is housekeeping-impaired is often the same type of person who tends to lose things. On the other hand, a lot of the principles of a House That Cleans Itself can be used to solve this tendency for good.

One of the worst (and most common) things to lose is jewelry. In my lifetime, I have misplaced some truly special pieces just by being careless. Rings. Necklaces. Earrings. Bracelets. I always tried to be careful, but somehow I would still misplace these jewelry items that I loved. Then one day, about thirty years ago, I decided this was a problem I needed to solve.

An Ultimatum

Early in our marriage, when I lost yet another lovely pair of earrings my husband had given me, he declared, "That's it. No more new jewelry for you." Considering that my hubby has always had great taste in jewelry, I was devastated. But I didn't blame him for feeling that way. 

Instead, I set about fixing this problem once and for all. Just as I would later learn how to do with a messy house, my problem solving began by analyzing the what, where, when, and why of what was happening.

What: I was repeatedly losing my jewelry.

Where: Usually somewhere around the house.

When: Whenever I got home from somewhere with jewelry on but didn't take it off right away.

Why: Because after I was home for a while, I would realize I still had jewelry on and that it was irritating me, so I would take it off, but I was too distracted or busy or lazy to carry it all the way to my jewelry box in the bedroom and put it away. Instead, I would set on the coffee table or beside the kitchen sink or somewhere similar, and then proceed to forget all about it. By the time I remembered I had done that, it often wasn't there anymore, and I couldn't find it anywhere.

In a messy house, it's easy to misplace things. We housekeeping impaired people are always pushing things aside, piling things up on top of other things, shoving stuff into bins or bags, and basically losing track of tiny stuff along the way. Given that, it was easy to see that this problem was never going to stop unless I changed my behavior.

Thus, I decided that from that day forward, whenever I came home, the first thing I would do was go to my bedroom and take off all of my jewelry.

Change the House, Not the Behavior

Of course, this brilliant idea worked for less than a week. How does a woman who's exhausted from doing the grocery shopping with an infant and a toddler remember to go to the bedroom and take off her jewelry as soon as they get home? Or, how does a mother come into the house and breeze past her excited children in order to put her jewelry away? Answer: She doesn't!

At least I recognized fairly soon that determination and good intentions weren't going to solve this problem. I needed to come up with another solution.

The funny thing is, I wouldn't figure out how to create a House That Cleans Itself until many years later, but back then I was already figuring out some of the fundamentals. Bottom line, I knew my behavior wasn't going to change, nor was my lifestyle, at least not any time soon. Thus, I reasoned, if I couldn't change myself or my life situation, then I needed to make a change to my environment.

My first idea was to relocate my jewelry box from the bedroom to a closet near the front door. Maybe I could remember to take my jewelry off and put it away as soon as I got home if I didn't have to walk through the entire house first to do so.

Tweak the Solution Until It Actually Works

Of course, once again, I found that my solution was quite flawed. While I was able to put my jewelry away much more easily, keeping that jewelry in the front hall created an entirely new problem: It was far too inconvenient to get dressed back in the bedroom without any of my jewelry handy. Worse, I would run out to the front hall, grab a few pieces that I thought might work with my outfit, run back to the bedroom and try things on till I figured it out--and then leave the extra pieces on my dresser to put away "later." It doesn't take a genius to know that much of those extra pieces never made it back to the jewelry box and in some cases ended up disappearing forever. Ugh!

A Lightbulb Goes Off

The good news is, my next solution ending up being the one that worked. Better yet, it has continued to work for more than 30 years. Since the day I came up with this final solution, I have never lost a single piece of jewelry again.

Best of all, over time, once my husband saw that I had straightened out the problem and was no longer losing jewelry, he felt safe in dropping his edict and gifting me now and then with some more. 

Want to know what that final solution was? Come back Thursday and I'll show you in Part Two of How To Never Lose a Ring or Necklace Again.

You "Kneed" This Quick Tip

If you have trouble with your knees, as I do, here's a quick tip that you might find helpful around the house: Invest in some industrial-strength kneepads. I don't mean the regular, wimpy kind, like this:

I'm talking about the big, heavy duty, industrial kind, like this:

I've had osteoarthritis in my knees for years, which has prevented me from being able to kneel down at all. In an ordinary day, that's not necessarily a big problem, but a while back it struck me that I was avoiding certain cleaning tasks because they required me to get on the floor. I tried using regular knee pads and a "gardening cushion" and even a big pillow, but nothing ever worked.

Then I observed something interesting. We were having some new flooring installed, and the guys who were doing the job wore kneepadsbut not like any kneepads I'd ever seen. These things were huge and tough and industrial-looking, and it struck me that maybe I needed a set of them myself.

A quick trip to Home Depot allowed me to inspect a pair up close, only to find that while the outside shell was hard as a rock, the inside was padded with something dense and soft, like memory foam. That very day, I brought home one of my favorite cleaning tools of all time, my professional-grade knee pads. To see just how amazing these things can be, check out this video.

Anyway, as I suspected, the kneepads were game-changers. For the first time in years, I was able to get on my knees without pain and stay down there for a while. I could even crawl across the room if I wanted to! 

What's the Point?

You may be wondering why you'd ever need to be on your knees cleaning if you have a House That Cleans Itself. Well, there are plenty of times when things might come up...

For example with this poor mother, whose toddler put aside the drawing paper and colored on the floor instead. (We've all been there, right?)

Or maybe something down low needs a quick repair or touch-up. You may need them when picking up kids' toys or arranging things on a low bookshelf or crawling under your desk to neaten up all of those computer wires. 

However you use them, you'll probably find them coming in handy in all sorts of ways and far more often than you think.

And, as added bonus, they're great when playing with little ones. With my knee pads on, I can get down on the ground with my grandkids, pain free, and that's the best reason to have them of all. 

Use This for That

A big part of turning your home into a House That Cleans Itself involves creative problem solving—and sometimes the best solutions may be right under your nose. That's why I'll occasionally be featuring "Use This For That" posts where we talk about alternative uses for various items around the home. 

Today, let's discuss those clear, pocketed hanging jewelry holders, like this one:

I have two of these in my house, and they each serve an important purpose, but neither one is used for jewelry. Instead, I have turned them into mini "stations" for specific necessities.

Fastener Station

You may have a place where you store all the screws, nuts, bolts, picture hangers, washers, anchors, rivets, etc., that you might ever need, but how much trouble is it to access them when you're in a hurry and only want one or two items? I keep my fasteners in divided containers in my tools and hardware closet, but I used to make such a mess going through the entire collection, wasting time and energy, just to acquire two screws and a nail. 

Then one day it struck me that I should assemble a little sampling of every fastener I have and keep it in a handier place. At the time, I had an extra one of these clear pocket hanging jewelry organizers on hand, and it struck me that it just might work for this very purpose.

Voila, I "used this for that" and ended up creating the perfect fastener station, as shown.

This organizer is two-sided, and each pocket is filled with anywhere from one to twenty similar items such as ten little picture hangers or four large cup hooks. There are so many pockets in this thing, I haven't even used them all.

The organizer hangs in my most convenient closet, one that sits right off the kitchen at the very center of our home. If I decide to hang a picture, add a screw to something wobbly, or tighten something with an Allen wrench, all I have to do is open this closet door, look at the little pockets to find what I need, and take it out. As long as I replenish the items periodically (usually about every six months or so), this thing continues to serve me well, saving time, effort, and trouble all over the house.

Isn't it too heavy? I will admit that when the pockets are all full, it is fairly heavy, but I've been using this thing for about 10-12 years now, and it's still hanging strong.

"Junk Drawer" Station

Almost everyone has a junk drawer somewhere in their house, into which they toss all sorts of miscellaneous household items that need to be kept handy. Unfortunately, my house is a bit short on drawer space, especially in the kitchen, so I've never really had room enough for everything I wanted to put in there.

My solution? A second one of these clear pocket hanging jewelry organizers, this time filled with everything from tape and post-it notes to glue sticks and white-out. I hang it in front of my ironing board inside a convenient closet, this one in the living room, and it's my handy go-to for all sorts of household necessities.

I keep a larger supply of most of these items in other places, for example office supplies are in cabinet in my home office, lens wipes are in my "landing zone" near the main door, and safety pins are in a container in my bedroom closet. But I save a lot of time and trouble by keeping these small samplings here, and it works great as long as I replenish them as needed (again, usually once every six months or so.)

I hope this post inspires you to think outside of the box and "Use This For That" throughout your home.

Please note that this post contains affiliate links. That means when you make a purchase I earn a small commission, which helps offset the costs of this blog. 


Clarity Throughout Your Home

On Monday, I talked about the "out of sight, out of mind" issue and how some people do a lot better when they use clear storage containers rather than the kind you can't see into. Today, I've got some links to all sorts of clear items you can use throughout your home. Enjoy!


In the Kitchen

Fun for the fridge

Perfect for the Pantry

Tea Time!

In the Bathroom

Great for toiletries or cosmetics

In the Closet

Perfect for your costume jewelry:
I use this type of container instead of a jewelry box so I can see and choose
what I want before I ever even open the boxes up and take the jewelry out.

In the Home Office

In the Crafting Area

I use this type of stackable container for all of my different colors of felting wool. Very handy!

All Over the House

Just be sure to measure before you go shopping so you don't end up with containers that are too big or too small!

Love this locking box, it's perfect for everything from candy bars to cell phones.

Hope this was helpful. I'd love to hear how you use clear storage in your home!

Please note that this post contains affiliate links. That means when you make a purchase I earn a small commission, which helps offset the costs of this blog. 


The Solution is Clear

Sometimes the solution to a household problem is so quick and simple that it feels too good to be true. But if your brain works a certain way, then it can be true for you! Here's a perfect example of what I'm talking about and how you can use this solution in your home.

Horizontal Thinking 

Are you what is known as a "Horizontal Thinker"? That's someone who can't remember something unless they can see it. If the expression "Out of Sight is Out of Mind" is one of your life mottos, then this is likely an issue for you.

I address this problem in The House That Cleans Itself. Here's an excerpt…

Problem: If you can’t see it, you don’t remember it. As it relates to clutter, this is a far bigger issue than most people realize. Do you tend to forget about something if it’s not out and visible to you? Could that be one reason your house is a mess, because subconsciously you know if you put these things away you might never again find or even remember you have them? Maybe you don’t have this problem so much with objects, but you do with papers. If your desk is covered with horizontal piles, I daresay this is an issue for you. Let a piece of paper go (or, worse, place it in a vertical file folder), and you know for a fact you will forget it ever existed. 

Solution: If you are a “can’t remember it if you can’t see it” person, your main household goal must always be to set up systems that aren’t just useful but are also visible. Think see-through: clear bins, clear containers, clear drawers. Once I committed to using only clear storage, it made a world of difference! 

You also need to set up whatever memory-jogging helps you can throughout your house, such as bulletin boards, signs, labels, and reminders. Be sure to integrate them into your decor in such a way that they can easily be hidden or camouflaged when you want to tidy up.

Finally, you may need to forego vertical files almost entirely and find some other substitute for your papers. It’s not easy to live a file-free life, but you can carry this idea much further than you might think by substituting horizontal sorters, boxes, and drawers.

I must admit this has always been a problem for me, though once I figured it out and began to change my house to fit my behavior, things got much much better. Here are a few tips if you're thinking clear storage might make a difference in your home too.

1. Sometimes clear storage bins can be way more expensive than opaque ones. Keep shopping till you find affordable options, because they are out there. Usually, the more expensive versions are made of lucite or acrylic. In most cases, you don't need that; what you're looking for is plain old clear plastic.

2. I have many different brands of clear containers, but if I had to name a favorite brand, it would be Sterlite. I like the different size options they offer, and their lids are great. Rubbermaid also has some nice options. 

3. Make sure that any clear storage you use in your pantry or fridge/freezer are made to be food safe. These are more expensive, but you can't really put a price on your family's health! 

4. Watch for after Christmas sales, and you may find some good deals on clear storage bins. I got a whole bunch one year, and the only difference between those and other clear bins I'd bought in the past was that the lids for these were bright red. I didn't care! At 75% off, they were a real bargain.

5. Speaking of lids, make sure whenever you buy a new bin you always grab its lid as well. Sometimes, they can be on a different shelf in the store and you miss them entirely—and then don't even realize it till you're home and ready to use them. Trust me, I've learned this one the hard way!

Clearly Better

I hope this post is helpful to you. Be sure to check back here on Thursday, when I share all sorts of ways you can use clear storage throughout your house.

Please note that this post contains affiliate links. That means when you make a purchase I earn a small commission, which helps offset the costs of this blog.