memory tricksI don’t know about you, but I’m forever losing my stuff.  Today, for a good four hours my wallet was MIA.  I finally found it (on the couch where it had fallen out of my pocketbook — or purse, if you prefer).

I can’t believe I did this again went through my mind, as it does whenever I traipse up and down the stairs, searching for keys, glasses, cell phone, or a slip of paper with the painter’s phone number.  Or worse, I find myself in a room, trying to remember what I’m there to retrieve.

THE GOLDEN GIRLSLynne Hacker, a speech-language pathologist and my go-to person when I write about learning disabilities (or need advice about my own gerbil brain), once gave me a trick:  “Just say to yourself before you leave the room, “I’m going upstairs to find my cell phone.”  Even better, she added, whenever I put something down, I must describe the action out loud, as in “I’m putting my wallet on the kitchen counter.”

Lynne’s strategy always works…when I remember to do it.

It’s worse when I wear pants without pockets.   So I got this idea: start toting a bag with me — a “hocketbook” for the stuff I need at home

It is not lost on me that there’s little difference between carrying a hocketbook and a purse indoors.  Think “Sophia,” who in almost every scene of Golden Girls, had one dangling from her wrist or in her lap.  Estelle Getty explained why in a 1992 interview in Newsday:

It was [my] idea that Sophia would always carry a purse because … older women are forced to shed so many possessions in their later years that everything they own ends up in their purses.  Nobody puts down their life very easily.

I have no intention of putting my life down.  I’m just decluttering.

BagonChairIn the spirit of full disclosure, I spent a few hours field-testing a hocketbook. I carried around a cloth tote The New Yorker sent me as a thank-you. Depending on which room I visited, I hung it on the door knob or the back of a chair.  Inside were two phones (landline and cell), glasses, a sticky notepad, and a pen.

Then, suddenly, I couldn’t find it.

Note to self: Try harder to follow Lynne’s advice or buy yourself a fisherman’s vet and take it off only for sleeping.

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