5 Foolproof Ways to Stop Forgetting Where You Parked Your Car

After a long, hectic day, the last thing you want to realize is that you have absolutely no idea where you parked your car.

Unfortunately, the more you rush, the more likely it is to happen. If you've experienced this more than once, the solution lies in building healthy habits and utilizing a few handy tricks. Keep reading to find out how to stop forgetting where you parked once and for all.

Use an App

If you're anything like us, you might consider your phone to be like a second brain of sorts, and it can be one of the handiest tools of all for never losing track of your car. There are dozens of apps dedicated to car-finding, but we're big fans of letting navigational apps such as Google Maps and Waze automatically pin the location when the apps are closed, allowing us to find our vehicles when it's reopened. You can also manually save your location when you park, just to be safe. Of course, the latter process requires you to actively remember that you're trying not to get lost. You should also keep in mind that your apps won't work in areas where you don't get service, like remote locations or parking garages with lots of levels.

Shutterstock: Woman looking confused at her phone in a parking structure

(via Shutterstock)


Build a Mindful Habit

Whether you're the driver or a passenger, it's a good idea to practice a bit of present mindfulness every time you park. Simply by taking the time to try to remember where you left your car is the first step to building a mental image that will help you return to it later. If you stay present, you'll be able to imagine where you parked, remember the route to your destination, and be much more likely to recall that information when it's time to come back.

Often, you'll find that you're most likely to lose track of a car when you're going through the motions and have zoned out because you'll barely even remember the car being parked—let alone where it might be in the lot. When you're feeling stressed or in a rush, it's especially important to pay extra attention. When you're preoccupied, your mind might not register the parking location as something important. Keep in mind you'll be extra stressed if you have to spend 15 minutes searching.


Use Identifying Landmarks

Sometimes, it can be easy to get lost in a parking lot or structure because things all tend to look the same. Whenever you can, search for identifying landmarks that stand out and can roughly guide you back to your car from a distance. The best-case scenario is that the parking areas are marked with letters and numbers (or even characters if you're at a theme park or zoo), distinctly labeling where you parked. If you're not so lucky, stuff like fences, signs and light posts will also do in a pinch. Remember the names of nearby stores, or the cross-streets. And remember that other cars, however memorable, shouldn't be your points of reference because you can't depend on them still being there when you get back.

Shutterstock: Woman looks bored and upset in parking lot

(via Shutterstock)


Use Your Phone to Take Notes

If you can't rely on your memory to keep track of the important stuff, don't be afraid to whip out your phone and take notes. Use the Notes app in your phone, or even take photos, to document the stuff that will help you remember where you were. If necessary, count rows and columns in the parking lot to pinpoint your location. Take a photo of your car next to a landmark you'll recognize, or even better, take a video walking from your car to your destination, so you can watch it back later to retrace your steps. It might seem like overkill, but if you struggle with finding your car, it can be a lifesaver.


Be Consistent

If you're returning to the same area over and over again and parking in a different spot every time, your brain is more likely to mix up the different occasions in your mind, making you more prone to losing track of your parking space. On the other hand, if you build a habit of parking in the same general area every time you visit a certain place, you'll intuitively head back in that direction once it's time to go home. Of course, this won't always work because your favorite spot won'always be available. In those instances, use the former tips and be especially mindful of where you parked. The fact that you're veering from the norm will actually help reinforce remembering the location.

Shutterstock: Woman holding too many shopping bags in parking lot

(via Shutterstock)


If your friends can't stand that you can never remember where you parked, click HERE for a list of the other driving habits that are making your friends crazy.