Living with a toddler is a lot like living with a pack rat. My daughter Sydney is completely mesmerized by shiny objects or any objects that don’t belong to her. She brings them from room to room and we spend hours trying to find them later. Even if you don’t have a toddler, chances are you find yourself on an all-day hunting trip through your house looking for lost items at least once a week. I have no idea how or why moms seem to be the keepers of their family’s stuff. I’m also constantly amazed that I often know the answer to, “Mom, where’s my _____.” Fill in the black with everything from socks, shoes, brush, toy, the list goes on and on.
There are always the usual hiding spots and sometimes you can guess where something is simply based on the person who lost it. For instance, if my husband lost something, nine times out of ten it’s in his car. While I’ve already admitted that my mini-van is my purse, my husband most definitely needs to recognize that his car is his wallet, sports locker and closet. He almost had a heart attack when the Girl Scout money he collected from his co-workers went missing. Luckily, after 17 years together I know him well enough to know to check his car first. Sure enough, the envelope was tucked safe and sound in his glove box, which makes sense as his car is his secondary wallet.
My kids they are constantly losing things. Socks are number 1 on the list. They end up absolutely everywhere except the hamper. No matter what you’re looking for, here’s a list of surprising places your family’s stuff may be hiding. Thanks to the moms in my Facebook mom’s groups for their hilarious stories and insights.
1. Between the Bed Rails – I have found numerous small toys and socks stuffed between my children’s mattress and the bed rails. Also, check between the mattress and the wall. A mom on Facebook shared that this is where her son’s glasses turned up.
2. In the Couch Cushions – This is the black hole of the house. Everything seems to gravitate to this spot from the TV remote control, socks, money, candy, crackers and cereal. If you ever come to my house, whatever you do don’t look under the cushions.
3. Toy Box/Toy Pile – Toddlers aren’t so good at putting toys away. Sometimes big kids aren’t either, but a lot of items that go missing seem to end up mixed in with their toys. Each of my kids went through a toddler hoarding phase where they put all their toys in big piles.
4. Garbage Cans and Toilets – It’s wet, mysterious and awe inspiring to a toddler. Since they don’t yet use it and don’t know what it’s really for, it’s like a mystical pool of enchantment that they just can’t wait to try out using your stuff. When Hannah was a toddler she liked to throw my makeup compacts in there. Thankfully I got to her before she tried flushing them. We don’t always get that lucky, do we parents? If it’s not supposed to be thrown away or flushed, it’s a pretty good place to check for lost stuff. As a kid my mother once found her lost diamond ring in the bottom of the garbage can. Lucky for us, she lost it or we might have gotten in trouble.
5. Wood pile/ stack of pellet bags – It’s already like a mini-fort with at least one wall, what kid can resist? And of course you can’t play in a fort without first bringing some cool stuff for the housewarming, whether it’s yours or not. When Hannah was a toddler my birth control pills mysteriously vanished from the bathroom counter. After two weeks of searching, I found them behind a stack of pellet bags in the basement. She was a good climber that one. If there is anything you don’t want lost, it’s probably this.
6. Freezer – I would have never thought to check this hiding spot if it weren’t for Alicia from Red Hook who shared this hilarious story with me: “We rented a movie from Movies To Go in Red Hook and stopped by the grocery store. We put everything away and then a week later the rental place called for the movie. We couldn’t find it! We searched for days. We finally paid the late fees plus had to purchase the movie. We found it in the freezer taking out meat for dinner 2 months after we rented it. We’re now the proud owners of some random movie we still haven’t watched!”
7. Your Kids’ Dresser Drawers – When my son was 3 his shoe vanished. After hours of searching for it, I found it in his dresser drawer. I don’t know why, but kids love to store anything in there and shoes are the hot item to lose. My friend Laura shared with me how she borrowed a diamond necklace from her mother for a wedding, which her eight year old daughter absolutely loved. After six months of frantic searching for it, she finally found it in the back of her daughter’s sock drawer inside a sock. Good thing she found it before she had to come clean to her own mom.
8. In Bathroom Cabinets – For whatever reason the bathroom is just mystical to kids. Maybe it’s because it’s the only place mommy gets to be alone. HA! Just kidding; we all know moms can’t get privacy there either. When my toddler’s shoe went missing just as we were heading out the door, I never thought to check the bathroom cabinet. Sure enough, I found it in my master bathroom.
9. Toy Purses, Music Boxes, Banks – Pretty much any toy that opens becomes a lovely hiding spot for special trinkets, like say mommy’s keys. Kids are very clever. A mom shared with my on Facebook that after hunting for her lost keys for three days, she finally found them in her child’s toy. It was a toy that she didn’t even know could open. Thank goodness for spare keys! Maybe it’s a good idea to hide/throw away those plastic Easter eggs right about now.
There’s also a real danger of us parents losing things while we’re busy multi-tasking or distracted by attending to the many demands of the little dictators in our house. It’s best to scan every surface, even up and down walls as you backtrack your journey through the house. One mom found her son’s packed lunch sitting on a shelf in her office. That will teach us to always be properly caffeinated in the morning.
So if it’s your coffee that’s lost, check the microwave, a shoe then check a cabinet or dresser drawer, but if it’s your sanity you’ll just have to invent a time machine and go back to your pre-kid years to find that one. What’s the strangest place you’ve found your lost item?
Erin Johnson a.k.a. The No Drama Mama can be found writing on her blog The No Drama Mama and Hudson Valley Parent when she’s not wiping poop or snot off her three adorable kiddos. This “tell it like it is” mama has NO time for drama, so forget your perfect parenting techniques and follow her on Facebook or Twitter for her delightfully imperfect parenting wins and fails. Her work can also be found on Money Saving Mom, Mamapedia, and Worshipful Living.