Nine Nixes to Fix Forgetting


Everyone forgets occasionally – appointments, objects, errands and children – but there are safety nets you can put in place to help you remember.

Small baskets, bowls or boxes are a good ‘home’ for cell phones, wallets, glasses and other necessities.

By Jackie Saulmon Ramirez | November 19, 2012

“But I forgot!” “I forgot where it was!” “I never  put them there!” How many times have you heard this from your children? What about yourself? Everyone forgets something sometime, it’s only human. We are busier than ever and technology keeps pushing us ever closer to the brink, no wonder we forget things. Are there any answers to our forgetfulness? Sure, there are routines or habits you can establish that can help. As a parent, it is your job/duty to teach your children so they can function more efficiently with less forgetting too.

There are simple tricks you can use to help you remember where, when, who or what:

Tip #1

“There’s a place for everything, and everything in its place!” This was my grandmother’s mantra as long as she lived and it served me well. You may never forget where you put your keys if you always put them in the same spot, perhaps in a bowl or on a hook by the back door every  day.  The same goes for your wallet, glasses, sunglasses, address book, stamps, bills, etc. If you deviate from your routine and put your keys down in the bathroom rather than the hook you are more apt to forget where you put them. Find permanent ‘homes’ for the most important items too important to forget. Small baskets, bowls or boxes are a good place for cell phones, wallets, glasses, remote controls, keys, etc.

Tip #2

Timers can do several events but the simpler twenty-four-hour ones are best and they last for several years.

Forget you turned a burner on and you run the risk of fire. Beans were on the menu one night so to pre-soak them in the morning I put them in a stainless steel Dutch oven, filled it half full of water and put them on the burner while I brushed my teeth. The intention was to let the beans come to a boil then turn the flame off. I forgot  about the beans! I drove to a two-hour meeting and at the end a fellow member said something about beans… That was all it took to almost send me into a panic. There was nobody to call so I ran to my car, drove the twenty-minute trip in nine minutes and expected to see the fire department on the scene. I prayed for a police officer to help but none were in sight. As I opened the door, thick, black smoke billowed out and every fire alarm was beep-beep-beeping. I never should have left the kitchen with the burner on; I could have pre-soaked the beans after I had gotten back or “put something in place” to help me remember, like hang a coat hanger on the door knob or used a timer.

I was extremely lucky but the bean debacle taught me an important lesson in fire safety and it made me rethink what I could have done rather than drive like a maniac. Everything we owned could have gone up in flames that day or I could have caused an accident. Everything in the house smelled of burnt beans for months— a small price to pay for remembering to turn a burner off.

Tip #3

Forget with a timer in your possession and you get thirty lashes with a wet noodle! Timers were the greatest invention since toasters and clothespins. There are excellent timers that do several events but the simpler twenty-four-hour ones are best and they last for several years. If I need to make a phone call in the morning I set a timer to go off to remind myself. If I want to tape a TV program or wake someone I set my timer. I also use a timer to remind me to exercise. (I have to stretch and exercise several times a day or I lose mobility in my right leg.)

Timers can do several events but the simpler twenty-four-hour ones are best and they last for several years.

Tip #4

Forgetting to take my vitamins one day would be no big deal but medications are too important to take a chance. I have to take one medication alone first thing in the morning then at least an hour later I take the rest. I don’t use the timer here because it would wake other family members. (I’m an early riser.) I get the lone pill from the jar’s compartment and then place the jar upside down. That way I don’t wonder if I’ve taken the medicine or not. When I take the other medications I place the jar upright. Putting this routine in place has saved me from forgetting or questioning, “Did I take my medicine yet?”

Tip #5

I get the lone pill from the jar’s compartment and then place the jar upside down to remember other medications.

Forget you have your young child in your car and the consequences could be tragic. If you or another person share the responsibility of transporting your child it should be routine to “put something in place” to make sure your child stays safe. One helpful reminder is a huge key ring that you keep with your child’s car seat. Make sure the key ring is too large for the child to swallow! Store the oversized key ring between the plastic seat and the padding. When you buckle your child in place in the vehicle, take the gigantic key ring with you as you get into the driver’s seat and hang it with your keys or on the rear-view mirror. When you start to get out of your vehicle, that huge, annoying key ring will remind you about your child. You can shop Amazon.com for “large key ring” (at least 3” to 5”) and pay $3 to $10, a small price to pay for safety.

Tip #6

Forget to give your coupons to the clerk and you will pay more than you should. Take a spring-clip purchased from any office/school supplies store with you to the grocery store. As you shop and choose your coupons, clip them together and place them on top of the first item on the conveyor belt. (Paper clips are too small and light weight.) The spring-clip will also hold them in place and prevent a breeze from blowing them to the far corners of the earth.

Tip #7

Forgetting to take your lunch and a growling tummy could be a thing of the past. You could put your lunch in a bag and hang it on your door knob but if it has to be refrigerated you can put a sticky note at eye level on your front door. If you need to mark a page of interest or the page you stopped, sticky notes are the answer. They come in all colors and sizes (any brand will do). I have them in my car and in every room in my home.

Tip #8

Write everything on a 4” x 8” Reporter’s Notebook; they fit easily in a purse or a back pocket.

Forget a task and the recyclables may not be collected. Create a to-do list and cross of chores as they are completed then prioritize for the next day. I write everything on a 4” x 8” Reporter’s Notebook (any brand will do) and they fit easily in a purse or a back pocket.

Tip #9

Forgetting a task may be avoided entirely by doing it right now. When we put simple chores on the back burner we run the risk of skipping it altogether. If you can do it now, then do— it’s one less thing to worry about later.

Copyright © 2014 Jackie Saulmon Ramirez. All Rights Reserved.

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About Jackie Saulmon Ramirez

Jackie has volunteered for more than twenty years for children and family issues. Currently she writes for parents in the "Reminder" and "Parent Rap" Facebook page. If you are interested in receiving the "Reminder," send her a message.
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