It is the number one cry in America on any given morning. Without keys, your life stops. You are stuck in one place, racing against the clock and feeling your blood pressure rise. Every possible disaster is perched to pour down on you within minutes of the lost keys. You can rail against the idiocy of the key owner or against the evil keys themselves but in the end, the rant is for naught and leaves you exhausted and frustrated. Before the keys are found, you begin to wonder if you can create a system for managing this daily irritation. Grab this moment to think because of course, once the dratted keys are found, all thoughts and efforts towards a solution will go out the window.
One of the comforts of being organized is the greater ease with which you can move through your day. Being organized means not falling into the potholes of habits that undermine your daily goals and long-term needs. This is where the concept of “systems” comes in to support you. According to Mbaknol.com, “a system in an organization is a set of activities laid out as a series of steps that will accomplish a specific goal.” A system can also be “is a set of rules, an arrangement of things, or a group of related things that work toward a common goal (for example) the laws and procedures of a democratic government… (or) the way someone organizes their closet” (techtarget.com.)
Systems in organizing is an overarching concept for the management of your stuff, time and energy. So your system for getting out of the house in a seamless fashion includes the management of your keys. On a daily basis, when you come home you can incorporate a single habit of putting your keys in a single place that you can rely on when you leave the house the next time. This can be in the right hand pocket of your jacket or pants or a specific place in your handbag. If you always put your keys THERE, then you will always find them THERE. This may not work for our neuro-divergent friends (ADD, etc.) who are already moving onto the next thing before the keys leave their hands. These people may then want to use a trigger or supporting safeguard to ensure that the keys find their home each day, like a tray by the door to serve as a visual cue. One client used a long red lanyard on her key chain so that she can find it by color in her piles of papers on the table. Following her example, I used a short sparkly keychain to spot my mailbox keys in the glove compartment of the car. My house keys are on a blue rubber bracelet keychain. Different key chain have different purposes but the each have their own spot.
By the way, I always carry a second key for my husband’s car when we go out. Our friends once went out with only one set of keys and then later that night locked themselves out of the car. It was then a project to get back to the house and retrieve the 2nd key. We learned that lesson vicariously and committed to always having a backup key when we leave together. So that’s the key lesson for this week- hope it helps and as always, happy organizing!