I like to think that I have escaped at least some of the evils of growing up in the information age – I still read books, I still have face-to-face interactions with my peers, and, even though I have an iPhone, I have a healthy distaste for it. There is at least one way that growing up with computers has rewired my brain, though. On a fairly regular basis, I find myself looking for something that I have misplaced and I think, “Oh, I can just hit ‘control F’ and I’ll find it.” Sadly, this is folly, and, inevitably, my keys or phone or sunglasses remain missing long after they are needed.
The great thing about living in the technology age, though, is that even the most minor problems eventually get a high-tech solution. Losing your keys all the time is no different.
1. Key Fobs
Wireless communicators that snap on to key rings or adhere to remote controls are nothing new. They can be found on Amazon.com for as little as $25, with ranges between twenty and sixty feet, if you are most likely to be looking for your keys in the depth of your purse or close to you at home. There are various brands and styles, but what they have in common is you attach a fob to your key ring, and you can use a different fob to locate the missing keys, usually by having them beep at you until you find them. One example is the Click 'n Dig Item Finder shown on this page.
2. Smartphone Apps
BiKN is a more complicated, smartphone-using item finder. It costs a substantial $130,but it has a generous range of fifty feet indoors and 200 feet outdoors. BiKN is marketed as a solution that can be operated by iPhone, and its stylish setup includes a case for your phone plus a set of two key fobs that can be attached to your keys as well as your dog, your child, or anybody or anything else you want to keep track of.
For even cheaper solutions, have a look at the App Store. Find My Keys, is an iPhone app that allows you to tag the location of various items (keys, car, glasses, etc.) on a map, then save that location so you can come back to it later. Imprecise testing in JKC’s offices proved the map largely useless to find items as small as keys, but you can also take a picture of the item’s location and leave yourself a voice memo to aid recall.
Another app, My StuffFinder, has more of a long-game approach. It doesn’t record the location of your keys, but it does allow you to record a list of the places you have found your keys and how often you have found them there. When you’re having trouble locating the items in question, just move down the list of the usual suspects (in your jacket pocket, on the kitchen counter, etc.) until you find them, then record your results to keep the list updated.
3. Don’t Lose Your Keys in the First Place
Easier said than done, perhaps, but I say it’s worth it if you can avoid spending money to solve a problem as mundane as this. Make a point of leaving your keys in the same place every day: on a hook near the door at home, on your desk at work, in a jacket pocket when you’re out with friends. Take it from a reformed key loser. Give a person a fish and she’ll eat for a day; teach her not to lose her keys, and she’ll never be late again.