18 thoughts on “4 Reasons People With ADHD Lose Things

  • May 22, 2018 at 8:03 am

    One thing that works for me , is I say to myself I’m putting my keys ,wallet or whatever on the living room table. Just this small cue can dramatically improve my ability to remember where I put things at.

    • May 24, 2018 at 2:56 pm

      I can see where saying it out loud would be a good way to deliberately push it into your consciousness and turn off the “autopilot.” Thanks for sharing this tip!

    • March 1, 2020 at 5:58 am

      This is exactly what I do. It’s the only thing that works, and I don’t always remember to do it 😉

  • May 22, 2018 at 8:54 am

    As you mention in your article, those of us with ADHD are often so caught up with what’s going on in our heads we are sort of running on autopilot. Our brains know what we are supposed to be doing and just do it without our conscious direction. The trick I learned is to use autopilot to my advantage. For example, I used to lose my keys at least once a day but now rarely ever lose them. The reason is I started putting them in the same place every single time I was consciously putting them away. It did not take very long before I was putting them in that spot even when I was on autopilot and could always find them when I needed them.

    • May 24, 2018 at 2:57 pm

      That’s a good way of dealing with it. If you’re going to be at the mercy of your habits (autopilot), you might as well build productive habits! Thanks for commenting!

  • May 22, 2018 at 11:10 am

    I’ve solved the keys dilemma by having 3 sets – 2 in my purse and one in its designated home in the cupboard. It mostly works, though I did once lose a set in my purse. I try to give everything a home and keep it there, but some things remain homeless as I can’t come up with a category for them. I started keeping a list of those items lost to inattentiveness just to see and some things do turn up but some things are just carried off by spirits, I believe.

    • May 24, 2018 at 3:02 pm

      I really like this comment thread because it shows the different ways people with ADHD deal with this same problem. Some people verbalize their actions out loud, other people have a system of always putting their keys in the same place, and then you come along and say “screw it, I just made three copies of my keys!”

      As for where things go when they’re lost due to inattentiveness… well, there’s definitely a massive dark pit somewhere full of all the tasks we never completed, things we forgot to do, and objects we lost due to inattentiveness.

  • May 25, 2018 at 4:26 pm

    My specialty is losing gift cards of any kind. If they come in the mail, it’s the worst.
    I’ve started to use one specific drawer for my gift cards and when I put the card in the drawer, I take a picture of it in the drawer with my phone and keep that photo until the gift card is used.

    I’ve had ADHD for 50 years and have lost many things. I do my best.

    • May 25, 2018 at 6:55 pm

      Ha, yes, gift cards are definitely one of those things that tend to float into random places. Oh well, I guess having so many gift cards that it’s hard to keep track of them is a good problem to have. 😉 Thanks for sharing your experiences with this side of ADHD!

  • September 14, 2019 at 3:32 pm

    I keep a list entitled “Where I found my glasses” on the fridge, and take it round with me when I need to search. If I find them in a different place then I add that place to the list. I started the list many years ago so I’ve memorized some of it.

    • September 17, 2019 at 11:41 pm

      Ha, that’s ingenious! Maybe over time it will grow to be book length, and then you can publish it for all of us ADHDers to use rather than having to create our own lists from scratch. 😉

  • September 21, 2019 at 3:07 am

    I love this thread. My partner and I both have ADHD. We are haunted by a wormhole that eats thing. We once lost a tent for 6 months in a van!
    One strategy my partner uses (which I don’t recommend!) is once a stray object is found, he throws it over the nearest hedge and then has the satisfaction of knowing where it is for ever more! I know we’ve got a snow bale in a field in somerset, a glasses case on the roadside near Bude etc. The strategy has it’s drawbacks but it’s immensely reassuring!

    • September 24, 2019 at 5:33 pm

      Ha! That’s one way of doing it! I’m just hoping your partner never loses his keys. 😉

  • October 13, 2019 at 1:07 pm

    I can not tell you how many times I have lost wallets and keys. It makes me mad every single time and I always tell myself I will do better in the future and then the inevitable happens and it happens again. My wife has gotten to the point where she is no longer surprised and that makes me feel even worse. Thank you all for the many suggestions. I like the “say out loud where you put things“. I will start using that.

  • November 2, 2019 at 1:25 pm

    I just spent 30 minutes looking for my ADHD medicine! Every time I lose something, I get so .ad at myself. I find myself yelling at God to help me find the lost object. My problem is not about keys;. It’s things like looking for my cellphone which I put on silence so the annoying videos that I have been browsing through when I should be doing something constructive won’t disturb my husband!

    • November 6, 2019 at 11:31 pm

      I hear you! But at least, better to lose your meds and spend 30 minutes looking for them than to forget to take them altogether. 🙂

  • January 10, 2020 at 9:10 pm

    Hi I went to this site for support as I’m getting super frustrated with my husband. It’s bad enough he loses everything – but he continuously insists on accumulating more old vehicles and things, every which one requires work and money from titles to licenses to permits to endless parts and no matter what I do like having rules that everything be kept in a file cabinet for the papers he takes them out and loses them: I’m drowning in his stuff every which one is of the greatest significance to our life (semi truck, airplane, boat, old cars, motor cycles) and his identity (he says) and having endless stress over rusty old crappy things that require constant trips to the DMV and retracing and redoing paperwork that for anyone would be daunting even the first time around. Meanwhile the guy can hardly figure out how to read a webpage himself as he’s very smart but dyslexic so it all gets put on me and if I refuse to help he just gives everyone the wrong information as he can’t recall who said what or what was decided.

    • January 15, 2020 at 12:46 am

      Hi Frustrated, sorry to hear about your situation. With this kind of thing, you will really be doing yourself a big favor by addressing it through therapy, either individually or jointly with your husband. You didn’t specifically mention ADHD, but I’m guessing there is a question about whether your husband has adequate coping strategies in place to deal with his symptoms. Again, that’s something where meeting with a mental health professional will pay off — both for your husband and for you because ADHD can definitely be stressful not just for the ADHDer but the people around them as well. Best of luck!


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