How to search for missing items

A friend just posted a comic about the difficulty of getting kids to look for things that they’re missing (like their shoes). It suddenly occurred to me that my experience with asking kids to look for things is that the kids go off to look but seem kind of at a loss as to how to proceed.

And then it occurred to me that I am often at a loss as to how to look for things. I tend pick a cluttered area of my house at random, kind of desultorily poke through the clutter, and then pick another area and repeat.

More generally, it can be really hard to know how to start a big formless task, and to know how to proceed systematically through such a task.

So I was thinking that it might be nice to create a guide to systematically looking for missing or misplaced items. But I tried a web search, and I found two WikiHow articles, and for once I think they’re pretty useful.

First: “3 Ways to Find Lost Objects.”

(One specific place I would add to their list of common places to find things: the map-and-stuff-holder area in the bottom half of a car door. Kam and I call that space the car’s “hip pocket,” and we’ve found missing items there more times than I can count.)

Unfortunately, that “3 Ways” article’s illustrations show almost all white people. The other WikiHow article, “How to Find Things You Lost,” covers some of the same material (though I think it’s overall not quite as useful), and includes POC in the illustrations.

Join the Conversation