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"Where Did I Put That?" Memory Technique

Published: 22.01.2018

There are very few things about being omnipotent or omniscient (all powerful or all knowing) that actually appeal to me. For one thing, entities possessed of these traits in fiction are often cursed with immortality, which I decided long ago I would never want. Then there’s the simple fact that with ultimate genie-like power comes people who want you to make their lives perfect. Eh, no thank you.

There is one thing about omniscience that I really wish I had, however. That is the ability to know where any object is, instantly and accurately. Not only would I never be able to really lose anything again, but I could finish all kinds of quests really easily and really quickly. Anytime you need someone to find something with “The Long Lost” in the title, I would be your girl.

Unfortunately, I am mortal and my powers are limited, particularly in the area of memory. I came very close to having to replace both my passport and birth certificate once as a result of putting them somewhere “safe”. Anytime I think to myself “Ok, I’ll put this here so it’ll be safe.” it really needs to set off some alarm bells. Preferably literally. But alas, this is not the case.

I got so sick of searching through my relatively organized storage trying to find my husband’s toque and winter gloves that I finally decided enough was enough and implemented an idea I’d had for a while. The “Where did I put that?” document.

The concept is simple. At the moment of indecision about where to store something, for whatever reason, including things like very important items rarely used (like a birth certificate), the idea is to pause, officially decide where it will reside, then record that information, along with the date, in a document. Here’s an example entry of mine:

Dec. 31st, 2017

Shirt measurements/pattern I made/drew.

It is in the pale purple/blue notebook in the blue/purple striped notebook cover.

Then, when I go to sew from that pattern, and have no idea where it is, I can search the document for “shirt” or “pattern” and discover its location.

Obviously, this system relies on my ability to decide, then record, then maintain the record whenever I move these objects. If I decide to throw away that notebook, and either forget the pattern is in there or move it somewhere else without recording its location, the system breaks down. Another caveat is the location of this notebook. I keep all my fully used notebooks and journals together and know where that location is, otherwise, I’d need to specify where the notebook is, as well.

And that’s it! I am a big fan of using email and document search functionality to make as much of life as possible Googlable. (Is that a word?) Thought you couldn’t rely on Google to tell you where you put that thing? Well, now you can.


What sorts of objects might you put in a document like this?

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