Thursday, July 9, 2015

Twenty-one days to a better ...

I was having problems remembering what I’ve done with my car and house keys, although no more than ten times a day. Ahem.  I decided to turn to my own fictional creation, Charlotte Adams – professional organizer and amateur sleuth— to help me out.  If you’d care to listen in, this is how the help went. Picture the two of us, over a couple of cappuccinos at a table in small coffee shop. Cue music. 

MJ:  Really, Charlotte, everything is going very well lately, except for the frustration of hunting for my keys. I thought you could help me out with this.  It’s a bit embarrassing scrambling through my belongings in the parking lot of the grocery store or when leaving the bank.  Like right now, I can’t find them.

Catch me if you can!

Charlotte Adams:  Of course, the main thing is to always put them in the same place.

MJ: (taking a deep breath) I do know that. And in the house they are always in the same drawer, unless something distracts me on the way in.  In that case, they may remain in the door, sometimes overnight, but let’s not dwell.

Charlotte: Gasp.

MJ: Well, it doesn’t happen all that often, but the big problem is my purse. The keys seem to dive to the bottom and then burrow even further, if that is possible. 

Charlotte: (averting her head and possibly shaking ever so slightly). Well, actually—

MJ: Are you laughing? It’s not really funny. It adds quite a bit of stress to my—

Charlotte: No, no. I understand.  It’s just that the keys are actually inanimate object and—

MJ: Inanimate, shinanimate. I’m telling you they hide. 

Charlotte: All right, we’ll just let that go.  The keys won’t, um, hide if you always put them in the same place in your purse.

MJ: That’s easy for you to say.

Charlotte: Actually, it was.  It will be easier for you if you use a structured handbag with separate sections.  I know you have three of them hanging in your closet.

MJ:  They’re kind of boring. I don’t really think—

Charlotte: And furthermore, I see that your purse is one of those really unstructured ones.  I bet the keys are not the only things burrowing on the bottom. You sure have a lot of stuff in here. Oh my, is that a sandal? Why is there a pound of coffee in here? Really, MJ, an umbrella?

MJ: I love this purse.  Victoria gave it to me.  And it has all these neat sparkles. So—

Beloved schlumpy purse, with sparkles

Charlotte: Fine. Do you have any pouches in your handbag? Oh here’s one.  You just choose one safe place and put your keys in that every single time. That’s all there is to it.

MJ: Every single time? Are you serious?

Charlotte: (bristling lightly) Of course.
MJ: I’m not sure if I’ll remember to do that because … what were we talking about?

Charlotte: We all have memory issues.  Just make an effort to do it. If you drop them into this … bottomless pit, find them and put them in as soon as you think of it. It will become second nature, in time. 

MJ: How much time?

Charlotte: Twenty-one days. That’s how long it takes to have a new positive habit really take hold. 

MJ: Twenty-one days? I’m pretty sure that bad habits are instant.

Charlotte:  That’s what the current research tells us.

MJ: I’ll be dead of frustration by then.  I created you. Couldn’t you try to make things a tiny bit easier?

Charlotte: (standing up) Must run, but really, trust me on this. It doesn’t cost a thing and it works, if you give that new habit a chance.  By the way, don’t forget to tell your readers that I not only solve mysteries, but I also give helpful organizing and memory hints at the beginning of each chapter.   Tell them about my books.  Put the covers up. It won't kill you.

MJ: I suppose it's only fair.  

Twenty-one days, later, I am happy to announce that most of the time my keys are in the pouch in my purse (unless I am interrupted).  I have to thank Charlotte for that. She may be fictional but she sure comes in handy in helping me out.  She’s a bit bossy, but …never mind that. It’s worth it in the end.

How about you? Do you have any memory tips to share? Ways to find wayword keys?
Have you managed any new good habits lately? 


Jeanetta said...

I always put my keys in the same place when I return home (though a few times the keys were left in pockets of coats).

Pamela Woodfield said...

I have horrible memory problems. I can't lose my keys in my purse because there is so much junk on my keychain. Tee hee! I manage to lose everything else in there & everywhere else for that matter.
This post was a hoot. I just had to add the first book in this series to my TBR list.

Duffy Brown said...

Great post! I have a pocket in my purse and try hard to always put my keys there. And then there’s the I forgot to recharge my phone or just forget my phone. I now just keep the thing in my purse and plug it in there to recharge. I suffer from oatmeal brain a lot.

Dr. Mary Kennedy said...

Wonderful post! I am chronically disorganized and admire people who have "docking stations" for their cell phones and electronic devices. Someone once estimated how many hundreds of hours we spend looking for things each year, and it was shocking. I could probably learn Mandarin in the time it takes me to find my car keys!

Kate Collins said...

I've learned to put anything I need to do or take with me on the kitchen counter in plain sight, so when I go out I can't miss them. I've even put things IN FRONT of the door, just in case. My husband actually put things in the car for the next day. Those memory tricks are vital. Thanks for the info, MJ.

Mary Jane Maffini said...

Thanks, Jen. We once found a lost pair inside an umbrella, about six months later!



Mary Jane Maffini said...

We must laugh or we will cry, Pamela. I like the idea of the giant keychain.

Thanks for coming by and for checking out the Charlotte books.



Mary Jane Maffini said...

LOL, Duffy! I keep my phone in my purse (so don't bother to text me because I won't hear or see it) and I recharge it from the purse too or I'll leave home without it.

Oatmeal brain is a good way of putting it.



Mary Jane Maffini said...

I feel I should be able to respond in Mandarin, Mary. But of course, I would have forgotten to take it or where the study materials were.



Mary Jane Maffini said...

Great tips, Kate! I find putting things in the car on the driver's seat saves a lot of forgotten requisitions, lists, maps, gifts, dry cleaning etc.



Anonymous said...

The way my house is configured, putting things on the kitchen counter is NO help so I often put larger things on the floor in front of the door. I keep the keys on top of the dresser which is inside the first door after the front door. I also have a second car key(the valet key) and a house key in a pocket in my purse. That actually saved me a call to AAA when I dropped my keys into a bag from Barnes and Noble and proceeded to lock the bag in the trunk. I usually try to get my keys out of my purse before I leave a store so I'm not fumbling around in the parking lot. That's especially important at night plus the key itself can be a weapon if necessary. Cordella

Annette N said...

I too have left my keys in the door (one would not want a burglar to be frustrated when they make entry). I have a pocket in my purse for keys. Most of the time it works. I try to put all the things I will need to take with me on the kitchen table ----in a heap---so should remember them. Never thought of recharging the phone in my purse, what a terrific idea. But, then if the phone rings, do you hear it?

Mary Jane Maffini said...

I love that story about dropping the keys into the bag and then locking it in the trunk, Cordella. I do that thing with the keys too (although I am fumbling around in the store!) and I keep them so I can use them to fight back if I need to,. Better safe than sorry.



Mary Jane Maffini said...

Thanks for the chuckle, Annette! We must take care of our burglars. I keep the handbag by the bed in the night when it's recharging and I would hear it (although if my family is reading this, PLEASE do not call in the middle of the night)



Grandma Cootie said...

I guess if I was more organized I would have gotten to this post yesterday . . . living out of my office-in-a-(plastic)-tub during remodel. Anyway, I try to always put things in the same place, but sometimes the I'll put it in a safe place so I'll know right where it is backfires. There's always the list, or lists, because it starts out on the computer but then there's something on paper and something on the phone. Glad to know I'm not the only one who puts the phone in my purse while charging. Still trying to get used to keyless car - what happens when I wear a skirt again and don't have a pocket for that fob?

Thanks for adding to my TBR stack! ;-)

Mary Jane Maffini said...

Thanks, for coming by! Your posts always make me smile. Keyless fobs scare me. Good luck with the remodel.



Anonymous said...

Like the previous post, I am just catching up with blogs ..... this one was so funny! My friends think I AM organized, but really I just fake it well. Keys and such aren't a problem; in our house it's papers. Oh, and the computer files could use a few days of concentrated sorting. I have enjoyed all the Charlotte Adams books to date and her hints are really helpful. Now, if I could just get hubby on board too!!!
Nancy R

Elizabeth D said...

Want more Charlotte books!