Don’t Lose It When You Lose It: Recovering Lost Belongings

Have you ever woken up and looked on your bedside table, unzipped your backpack, or opened your desk drawer to find you were missing something? During the four years you spend on Northwestern’s campus, it’s highly likely that you’ll lose something essential to your daily lifestyle, such as your phone, keys, student ID, or wallet (and speaking from personal experience, hopefully that doesn’t all happen at the same time). But before you conclude that your life has permanently fallen apart, remember that not all hope is lost. In just a day or two everything can be back to normal. If you collect yourself, you can collect your stuff, too! 

Retrace your steps

Gather a search party and go on a hunt. Seriously. Cover every step of every room, sidewalk, and hallway that you traversed around the time of the loss. If that fails, take advantage of technology! Send out a couple of mass messages to the people who you live with and post in your “class of ____” Facebook group.


Still no luck? Here’s how to proceed:


Yikes! This is probably one of the most difficult ones to salvage. If you live in a dorm, go to the nearest facility that offers temporary keys (since new ones come at a pretty high cost). If you’ve got a really generous roommate, you might be able to share a key for a while until you find yours. If it’s gone for good, you’ll have to go back to where you got your temporary key and charge your school account for a new one. For off-campus housing, call a locksmith (Skokie Locksmith responds to calls within an hour) to get your locked changed and grab new keys for you and your housemates.



You’ll probably have to come to terms with the fact that your cash can’t be recovered, but your cards absolutely can. Call your bank to either put your credit card on temporary hold if you want to continue searching, or cancel the card and order a new one to be shipped to your school address in a matter of days. Next, log onto to figure out your state requirements for filing a claim and to print out the forms to get your ID replaced. Lastly, for your student ID, head to the WildCARD office in the bottom of Norris—for a $15 fee they’ll replace it right away!



A lot of phone services have an app where you can track down your phone location (like Find My iPhone). If you don’t have the location services set up, or your phone is completely inaccessible, you’re going to need a replacement. Call your provider’s customer service line and digitally wipe the old phone and cut off the service so nobody can access your information. Next, check to see what your insurance plan is, as well as if you have an upgrade—you could be looking at a much less expensive price for a replacement.