This post deals with the common, but troublesome act of dropping things.

For all kinds of reasons, it is just plain annoying when you drop something. The task you were performing now is on hold while you waste time finding the dropped item. Spotting it on the floor can be a challenge, and getting down and back up might be difficult.

Below I share reasons why I think we drop things along with tricks and techniques to do so less often. Lastly, I offer some painfully obvious ways to find what you dropped if, despite your best efforts, you now must do some floor searching. Reducing the number of times you have to do it is a plus. But if you’re dropping things because you’re physically unsteady or for similar reasons, please seek medical advice.

The first reason why I think we drop things is mental. By that I’m not saying you are crazy. Who am I to say? What I am saying is that at the moment the item left your hands, you might have been moving quickly and not sufficiently focused on what you were doing. I don’t have any great ideas for getting you to pause and focus on what you are doing at a given moment; other than to ask you to say to yourself, “Hey, stop and focus on what I’m doing at this moment!”

Once you know you must pause and tell yourself to pay attention to what you are about to do, you’ve won half the battle. All that is left is to do what you already do, but more focused and maybe a bit slower.

The second category for why I think we might drop things is how we are holding or manipulating the object. Your nemesis is Gravity. Given the slightest chance, Gravity will happily grab and pull anything in your hands down. Think of it as a game and you don’t want Gravity to win. Here is my main strategy to prevent Gravity from laughing at me, after it won and I am crawling around on the floor. As you’re handling something, keep the item touching or as close as possible to some sort of horizontal surface you can comfortably reach. Gravity loves having a straight shot to the floor. If you’re working over a sink, be sure nothing can go down the drain.

Now here are some tricks and techniques to further foil Gravity.

  1. Often it is the cap that falls when twisting it on or off a tube, jar or bottle. Instead of holding the item and twisting the cap, try doing it the other way around; hold the cap and twist the item.
  2. Holding it by hand is not your only option when carrying something. If it has a ring like a key chain, or a loop like an umbrella, hook the appropriate body part through it.
  3. When you use both hands while carrying something, it is far less likely to be dropped. If you can press your elbows against your side, you’ll have an extra secure grip.
  4. If you have a pocket and it will fit, drop it in. Just remember that it is there before it goes into the washer.
  5. And last but not least, keep in mind that teeth can be a great gripper for anything small and lightweight.

Ok, let’s just say Gravity happened to win this time and it landed on the floor, but luckily didn’t break; now what?

Assuming you need it right now and can’t wait to find it later, here’s an obvious, first method to try. If you think you heard where it landed, try lightly pressing your toes around that spot. Note – not recommended if you are wearing hiking boots. If your foot tells your brain you found it, great. Carefully lower yourself and pick it up. Avoid bending over at the waist to prevent an accidental face smacking incident.

If the item wasn’t found, expand your search by laying a bright flashlight on the floor and sweep it around; it might light up the item. Or lay something long like a white cane or a yard stick and slowly do the same slow sweep. Speaking of sweeping, a broom might be your last solo solution.

Let me know about any techniques that work for you and I’ll share them as well.

Edward Cohen is a low-vision senior living in southeast Minnesota. He is also the founder and owner of EZ2See® Products LLC. He designs and manufactures helpful organizing products for daily living, including large-print, weekly /calendars

Edward Cohen is a senior, legally-blind entrepreneur. His company designs and makes products useful for daily living that help those dealing with vision decline or related challenges. In 2015, he started EZ2See® Products LLC to make a large-print, weekly-style planner. He incorporated unique features not found elsewhere, which is why it is so accessible. He continues to create and add unique low-vision products.