I keep a flashlight on the floor. At least I always know where it is…
Heaven forbid I drop something in the garage (where I do my machine work and real car stuff) and it hits the concrete.
My wife finds stuff I can't after (what seems like) hours of searching in (what seems like) seconds or minutes.
Oh the days... when rug burns were a source of real achievement.
Wait, finding that lost part is an accomplishment!
A couple of months ago, I grabbed an inexpensive apron at a local fabrics store. A plain white, heavy cotton apron that was sold with the intent of it being further decorated. I rolled the bottom edge over a couple of times and secured the roll with some of those little black binder clips (office supply). When I sit at my desk to work on small parts, I put on the apron, then open the center drawer and lay the bottom end of the apron on the drawer. After closing the drawer, the rolled edge keeps the apron from slipping out. This creates a catch-all bib between you and the small parts you're working on. (When I remember) to wear the apron, the little parts that try to make a run for it fall into the apron and are easy to retrieve. It has saved the day almost everytime I use it. Highly recommended, and cheap. Besides, my old knees hate the hard concrete floor in my model space.
This is generally what is referred to as a jeweler's bib or apron. Certainly not my invention. If you don't have a center drawer to capture the end of the apron, you could sew on some snaps and attach the opposite snap to your work bench, or sew a loop in the end of the apron to insert a wooden dowel rod along with a method to hold the rod in place.
In any case, it works great to avoid those times when you're on you knees trying to calculate whether the time to to find the part exceeds the time to make a new one.
Edited by Alyn, 05 February 2013 - 09:12 AM.