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.

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