The self-unfooling problem

by RichardKennaway 1 min read11th Oct 201130 comments


Inspired by PuyaSharif's conundrum, I find myself continually faced with the opposite problem, which is identical to the original except in the bold-faced sentences:

You are given the following information:

Your task is to hide a coin in your house (or any familiar finite environment).  

After you've hidden the coin your memory will be erased and restored to a state just before you receiving this information.  

Then you will be told about the task (i.e that you have hidden a coin), and asked to try to find the coin.  

If you find it you win. The faster you find it, the better you win.

Where do you leave the coin so that when you have no memory of where you put it, you can lay your hands on it at once?

For just one coin, you might think up some suitable Schelling point, but now multiply the task a thousandfold, for all of your possessions. (I am not a minimalist; of books alone I have 3500.) How do you arrange all your stuff, all your life, in such a way that everything is exactly where you would first think of looking for it?