“Systems!” My friends and Marie Kondo’s internet shout. “All you need is a system. As long as you always put your things down in the same place, you’ll never lose anything again,” they say, as I stagger in the door carrying children’s backpacks, a bag of dirty laundry, my waist pack, and a sack of dog food.
Like Elizabeth Bishop, I have developed losing into a fine art. I hid my Kindle from the 5-year-old, and now I can’t find it. My husband borrowed my wallet to grab the car insurance card; while I was looking for that, the dog got out of the yard. You may feel ambivalent about possibly stalking your friends or loved ones (please resist the urge to sew a tracker into your shady boyfriend’s coat), but without Bluetooth and GPS trackers, I would barely be able to function. I’ve listed my preferred uses for each of my favorite trackers, but many of these are multipurpose—if you can stick it on a dog, you can also stick it on a kid, and vice versa.
For more ideas, check out our roundups on kids travel gear and our many other buying guides, such as the Best Strollers.
Updated July 2023: We added Apple AirTags, updated information about several products, and updated links and pricing.
Special offer for Gear readers: Get a 1-year subscription to WIRED for $5 ($25 off). This includes unlimited access to WIRED.com and our print magazine (if you’d like). Subscriptions help fund the work we do every day.