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Ask Maeve: Frantic About Lost Keys. Is This Common?

UntitledDear Maeve: My husband misplaced his keys today. They vanished after returning from a walk. I found them later tangled in the dog leash, but felt frantic during the hours that they were gone. Is this common? Are there emotions that everyone feels when valuable things are misplaced? – Sandy, Ontario, Canada.

Dear Sandy,

Great question! I can relate to this situation as I recently misplaced my own keys. I discovered them in my office the next day, but during the 12 hours they were missing, I went from disbelief to loss to anger to frustration to self-doubt. Quite an emotional roller-coaster ride!

My emotions were tied to the loss of a keychain, which I had purchased on a trip in Europe, as well as fretting over the cost of replacing everything, as the keys in my home and building are custom. I felt careless and irresponsible and sad and plain old dumb.

The emotions that come up in these situations are different for everybody. A common emotion that many feel is shame or embarrassment from the loss of control, and your frantic feeling is definitely a normal reaction. On most days, life is a routine; we don’t lose our keys, we don’t lose track of important people or things, or have slip-ups, like perhaps cutting our fingers while slicing food. When we do happen to lose something, it’s a good reminder that in life there are hiccups, and as careful and intentional as we may be, we can’t see them all coming. We should take them in stride.

In the end, I’m glad that you found the keys. And, next time you find yourself franticly searching for a lost treasure, take a step back, slow down, and remind yourself that this is just a hiccup. Sometimes in life we are just a little out of sync with our own world, and that’s ok!


Maeve Richmond is the founder and head coach of Maeve's Method, a home organization system based in New York City. She specializes in parents & kids, couples, small space solutions, space planning and decorative elements for the home. Contact her at or @MaeveRichmond.

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