Locks, Keys and Safes: Buying, Repairing and Maintaining

7 Places to Stash an Extra Key to Avoid Lockouts (And 7 Not To!)

It isn't unimaginable that one day you'll forget or lose your home keys; it happens and somehow when you're least prepared. Leaving a window open is a security risk because of the danger of burglary in your absence. Similarly, breaking a glass door or window is costly and it may not be much help if you live in a high apartment building.

Your first line of defence is to have the keys stashed somewhere accessible, or you may need to bring in a professional to break the lock when you're locked out. This article offers some smart places to have an extra key that won't put you in danger, as well as a few known places you should avoid.

Bonus tip: A smart idea is to rekey your external locks to use the same key. Rekeying is an easy process carried out by a locksmith to change the configuration of a lock so that it uses a different key. This way, you can open external doors with the same key in case a lock fails (e.g. keys breaking in the lock).

The following are some useful ideas for keeping/hiding spare keys:

  1. People – a friend, family member or neighbour who lives close by should be your first option

  2. Fake rocks – make sure you buy one that looks very real and stash it in a hidden place in the garden, if you have one. Be careful with how you keep it because burglars know how to search for fake rocks.

  3. Bag/purse – make a copy to carry in your wallet or purse, as it's highly unlikely that you'll go anywhere without it.

  4. Keyless garage – talk to your locksmith about installing a wireless keypad allowing access into your garage or shed, and then stash a key there. Ensure that you have a backup battery system so that you can still use the entrance if there's a blackout.

  5. Electrical panels – place the key inside and use a combination padlock to lock the panel.

  6. Gas pipe – stash a key in a heavy-gauge contractor's box and tape into your gas pipe.

  7. Phone – some phone cases have a compartment to place a key; you'll almost never leave your phone behind when walking around.

Similarly, here are some places you should never stash a key; all burglars will probably check them first:

  1. Doormat – this is the first place anyone will look. Besides, doormats can be blown away or shifted accidentally to reveal the key.

  2. Potted plants – under potted plants is the next obvious hiding spot, especially if there's just one or two close to the entrance. What you can do is place a fake rock somewhere in the foliage of a large plant.

  3. Mailbox

  4. Gutter – taping a key to the gutter is a long-known strategy.

  5. Car's glove compartment

  6. Window ledges

  7. On the dog collar

Make sure to tell your family where to find the keys, and be careful when retrieving keys hidden outside your home.