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I am trying to find idioms that could express "looking for something" and "trying to find something in a room full of mess". One that I could find was "hunt high and low," but for some reason I don't really feel satisfied using it. Can someone please suggest some other phrase?

I would like to use in a context like this:

"I tried to look for the pen in my dorm room (which was full messy) but couldn't find it".

For e.g. I would want to tell someone that every time I want something, I have to search the place thoroughly to locate it.

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6  
"Like looking for a needle in a haystack", "I found it in the last place I looked". –  Mitch Jun 18 '13 at 17:21
    
"Searching in every nook and cranny" means to look in every possible place for something. It doesn't require the place where you are searching to be full of mess. –  Kaiser Octavius Jun 18 '13 at 17:24
    
There are several questions that already cover this idiom. Have you searched the site? –  Kristina Lopez Jun 18 '13 at 17:48
    
I didn't know what to search for... and searching for something using the keyword "search" did not help much... –  Codename Jun 18 '13 at 17:51
3  
@Dez so you have to turn the room upside down? –  cornbread ninja 麵包忍者 Jun 18 '13 at 21:16

4 Answers 4

up vote 0 down vote accepted

You might say,

I tried to look for the pen in my dorm room. I turned the room upside down, but never found the pen.

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I think an expression that explains why you can't find an object might be more useful. You said you tried looking for a pen in your room, which was messy, and failed.

So you could say something similar to:

"I tried looking everywhere, but the room looked like a bomb had hit it!"

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That's good but I was looking for something that would focus more on the act of searching rather than the mess in the room. –  Codename Jun 19 '13 at 11:36
    
@Dez Then Mitch's suggestion, like looking for a needle in a haystack, is the one I would opt for. If he had written it as an answer. I would not have proposed this alternative. –  Mari-Lou A Jun 19 '13 at 11:42

These are not idioms, but they may be useful hyperboles:

You could say "Every time I need something from there, I need to call search-and-rescue to find it."

Or "Only a search dog can find what I need in there."

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Yes, this seems to be a viable option. –  Codename Jun 19 '13 at 11:37

I searched high and low; I left no stone unturned; I had to go over the place with a fine-tooth comb.

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